HICKORY SMOKED VENISON NECK PASTRAMI
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
People are always asking me for more ways to venison shanks. But rarely am I asked for new ways to cook the neck and I don't think its because they have ran out of ideas.
My guess is that somewhere in the range of 50% of hunters don’t even harvest the neck because they don’t know any better.
The neck is one of the most decadent pieces off of a hooved animal. Theres plenty of connective tissue in the neck which makes it great for slow cooking.
You can smoke the necks like in this recipe, but they desperately need two cooking methods to pull it off properly. A dry cooking method (smoked) and a wet cooking method (braised). The smoke adds the flavor and the braise keeps everything moist while helping break down those tissues the correct way.
Master this recipe and you’ll save all of venison necks from now on. You’ll also be able to get your buddies to try the odd cut for the first time. “Venison neck pastrami” sounds a lot more appetizing to a first timer than “venison neck stew”.
COOKS NOTES: *This can be made and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.
*And for all of you hardcore pastrami lovers out there, I know cumin isn’t traditional, but I like the depth of flavor that it adds, so feel free to leave it out if you like. * If you live in an area with CWD, I recommend deboning the neck before cooking to be on the safe side.
(For the Brine)
• 1 - venison neck
• 1 gallon - water
• 2 tbsp - pickling spice
• 3 - juniper berries
• 3/4 cup - kosher salt
• 1/2 cup - sugar
• 2 tbsp - honey
• 6 cloves of garlic (smashed)
(For the Rub)
• 1 tbsp - black peppercorns (toasted and ground)
• 1 tbsp - coriander (toasted and ground)
• 1 tbsp - cumin (toasted and ground)
* only use enough of the rub mixture to cost the meat. The rest can be saved.
1. In large pot, combine the 1 gallon of water, salt, sugar, honey, garlic, juniper and pickling spice. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
2. Place the neck in the chilled brine, weighted with a plate to submerge. Cover and refrigerate for two days.
3. Remove the venison neck from brine and rinse well. Dry off the meat with paper towels and refrigerate it for another day uncovered (this helps develop a pellicle on the meat so the smoke adheres better).
4. Remove the venison neck from brine and rinse well. Dry off the meat with paper towels and refrigerate it for another day uncovered (this helps develop a pellicle on the meat so the smoke adheres better).
5. Combine the pepper, cumin and coriander. Coat the neck with enough to cover it.
6. Smoke at 250 degrees for two hours. Then place in an oven proof vessel, pour in enough fresh water to cover a little less than half the meat. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 330 degrees for 3 hours or until the meat is tender or to your liking.