Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Nothing says Christmas like a rich mahogany colored venison loin. I've been preparing this for the past few holidays and its always a hit with friends and family. I've decided to update the recipe this year by smoking the salt and sugar to add a little extra flavor. But the recipe is great with just regular old kosher salt and white sugar.
It's very easy to make and extremely versatile to create fast and easy recipes on the fly with. If you've never cured of cured venison loin, think of a cured duck breast ham. It ends up shrinking to about the same size and the texture isn't too far off. It's to be eaten without cooking and you usually need nothing more than some good mustard and your favorite crackers.
See notes below about smoking your own salt and sugar, or buy here.
In the recipe I have smoked salt and sugar listed. You don't need to use these. Regular kosher salt and white sugar work just fine. Maple sugar is another great option if you're looking to play around with flavor profiles.
If you're interested in making your own smoked salt and sugar, it is very simple. On separate cooking trays, spread out the desired amount of salt and sugar in a thin even lay, no more than 3/4 inches thick. Place in a smoker between 160-250 degrees. Mix them around every hour for even smoking. There's no real set time on how long to smoke, it really just depends on the depth of flavor you're after. I would smoke them anywhere from 4-8 hours. Let them cool completely and store in an airtight container. The longer you let them sit, the more the smoky flavor will develop.
1 - Trimmed Venison Filet (10-14 ounces)
1 1/2 Cups- Smoked Coarse Kosher Salt (regular kosher salt works as well)
3 Cups - Smoked Sugar (regular white sugar works as well)
12 sprigs - Fresh Rosemary
8-10 Juniper Berries (crushed with back of knife)
Black pepper as needed
Mix the salt and sugar together.
In a non-reactive dish (such as Pyrex) lay half of the rosemary and juniper berries on the bottom, followed by half of the salt and sugar mixture.
Lay the venison filet on top of the mixture.
lay the remaining rosemary and juniper berries on top of the venison, followed by the rest of the salt and sugar.
The venison should be fully covered. If not simply mix some more of the salt and sugar mixture together, using a 40 percent salt and 60 percent sugar ratio.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for three days.
Remove the venison from the mixture and rise under cold water and dry very well.
Sprinkle the venison with ground black pepper on both sides, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until needed. It will last up to a week in the refrigerator.