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Corn Your Own Wild Game or Beef for St. Paddy’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the greatest food holidays of all time!

All of the savory, salty corned beef you can eat, scrumptiously moist cabbage, hearty Irish soda bread, ice cold Irish beer, leprechauns and shamrocks. What could be better?

The Feast of Saint Patrick comes around every year without fail. I love everything about it because I am of Irish-American heritage, but most of us celebrate with the same old corned beef and cabbage recipe, don’t we?

This year I figure it’s time to switch things up a bit. I think a little twist on the traditional is in order.

Those of you who hunt most likely have some wild game in your freezer, right? Good. Well, I have used three fantastic recipes for corning wild game that you need to try.

You will also note that one of the recipes can be applied to curing your own corned beef at home with a simple, quick process (compared to customary corning, which takes days or weeks in the refrigerator).

Believe me; the luck of the Irish will be with you using these Saint Patrick’s Day recipes!

O’Wagsy’s Quick Corned Meat

Ingredients:

3 to 4 lbs. Deer/Elk Shoulder or Round or Beef Brisket (Cut)

1/2 C. Morton’s Tender Quick

1/2 C. brown sugar

2 tbsp. pickling spices

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. ground red pepper

1 tsp. black pepper

Instructions:

With a fork, pierce meat or thick meat slices thoroughly on both sides. Mix Tender Quick, brown sugar and all spices together. Rub mixture onto all sides of meat. Place meat in plastic bag or bowl, pour in remaining spices. Seal bag or cover bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours (more time is even better), turning 2 or 3 times during curing process. Use as you would corned beef. Good stuff!

Greg Wagner of Omaha, NE

cornedgamebeef
Ol’ Wagsy’s Quick Corned Meat Recipe using beef brisket after brining. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Pape’s Famous Corned Wild Game Recipe

Ingredients:  

4 to 6 lb. Venison Roast or Goose/Duck/Turkey/Pheasant Breasts

5tbl Morton Tender Quick

2tbl brown sugar 

1tbl black pepper 

1tsp paprika

1tsp laurel or (2 bay leaves added during cooking)

1tsp allspice

½tsp garlic powder

1 1/2tsp pickle spice

Instructions: 

Mix spices together.  Place meat in ziplock plastic bags to allow for a single layer of meat.  Add spice mixture to meat in bags and mix so all the meat is coated with spices.  Remove air from bags and seal.  Place in refrigerator for 5 to 7 days (a few days less for small ducks), occasionally turning and mixing contents.  Then remove to crock pot or slow cooker and partially cover with water.  Bring to simmer for 3-4 hours.  Eat sliced on your favorite bread with your favorite cheese, or grind into a salad spread. Relish every bite!

Larry Pape of Lincoln, NE

cornedgoosesandwich
Pape’s Famous Corned Wild Game Recipe used with Canada goose meat and served in a sandwich. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Simpson’s Lost Island Corned Goose

Ingredients:

5 Tbl Spn Mortons tender quick

3 Tbl Spn Brown sugar

1 Tbl Spn Cracked black pepper

1 Tbl Spn Montreal steak seasoning

1 Tsp Paprika 1 Tsp Bay leaves – crushed

1 Tsp Allspice

1 Tsp Garlic powder

1 Tsp Mustard seed 1/8 Tsp Cloves – crushed

1/4 Tsp Cayenne (or more to taste)

1/2 Tsp Coriander – ground

Instructions:

Mix Ingredients. Apply liberally to 4-6 pounds skinless wild goose. (3 breast fillets and 3 leg/thighs are usually about 5 lbs.). Place in Ziploc bag(s). Refrigerate 7-10 days, turning every couple of days. Cooking: Roast in oven like corned beef at 325 degrees for 3-4 hours until tender. Or place in Dutch oven, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours until tender. Add onions, potatoes, and carrots a couple hours before serving if you wish.

Excellent served with creamed cabbage, or make Reuben goose sandwiches! Works equally well with other wild game. We enjoy whole, bone-in Venison shoulders. Positively delicious!

Kyle Simpson of Elkhorn, NE

cornedwildgamesandwich
Simpson’s Lost Island Corned Goose Sandwich Recipe with Canada goose meat. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Tips for Brining Meats

  • Use noncorrosive containers and weights such as plastic, glass, stainless, or pickling crocks.
  • Prepare enough brine to cover meat completely.
  • Estimate 1 quart of brine for every 4-6 pounds of meat (or 30%-50% brine weight per pound of meat; 1 quart of brine weighs 2 pounds).
  • To dissolve salt and sugar more readily, heat half of the quantity of water and dissolve the salt and the sugar completely before adding the remaining liquid.
  • Always chill brine thoroughly before adding the meat.
  • Always cure meat in the refrigerator (<40°F).
  • Turn or flip over brining meat once or twice daily. Rotation helps meat to cure evenly.

Interesting Facts about Corned Meat

FACT: Corned meat is salt-cured, seasoned product. The term “corned” is an old English term that comes from the treatment or curing of the meat with large grained rock salt, also called “corns” of salt.

FACT: The area of Cork, Ireland was a great producer of corned beef in the 1600’s until 1825. It was their chief export and sent all over the world, mostly in cans. The British army sustained on cans of Cork’s corned beef during the Napoleonic wars.

FACT: Corned beef or corned beef brisket is not considered an Irish national dish, and the connection with Saint Patrick’s Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture, and is often part of their celebrations in North America. Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish-American immigrants in the mid to late 19th century. In New York City, these immigrants learned from their Jewish butchers neighbors about corned beef, which was cheaper and easier to find.

FACT: Abraham Lincoln chose the menu for his first Inaugural Luncheon on March 4, 1861, which was corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.

FACT: Corned meat was popular in the U.S. during both World Wars, when fresh meat was rationed.

FACT: The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition used corning as a way to preserve the meat of deer, elk, bison and other animals that it had obtained primarily through hunting. By the time the expedition arrived at the Pacific Coast its supply of salt for preserving and flavoring food was nearly exhausted. So, Lewis, Clark and their fellow explorers extracted salt from seawater by way of evaporation through boiling.

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About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media sites, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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