Deer that Swim Rivers + Stuffed Backstrap

Chive & Onion Stuffed Venison Back strap

Serves 2

  • 1 Venison back strap
  • 4 oz. Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
  • 2 slices thick bacon
  • Deer seasoning- I use Hi Mountain Seasonings
  • Meat mallet or hammer wrapped in foil

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. On a cutting board, butterfly and tenderize meat with a mallet (or hammer wrapped in aluminum foil works too) so it flattens thin. Place in baking dish.

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2. Season with Deer SeasoningHi Mountain Seasonings is based out of Riverton, Wyoming, our nearest neighboring town, and has some great products for jerky & sausage making.

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3. Spread 1/2 the container (4 oz.) of cream cheese down center line of steak.

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4. Roll steak up & tightly wrap one piece of bacon around each end of steak to secure. 20151015_175629

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes–check at 30 minutes. It took mine 35 minutes to get to medium rare. 20151015_185052

Last year after harvesting a bull elk I decided that the next season I would focus on deer hunting. This turned out to be a good decision, seeing as how little did I know, I would be unable to hike or ride a horse by the time hunting season came around this year due to a bad herniated disc.

Keeping in mind areas that required little walking, Joe and I set out in the truck in search of a whitetail one evening after work, to a spot where he had seen one earlier in the week. After a short five minute walk, which at this point I could handle because it was right after my third steroid injection, we came up to the top of the small hill where we planned to sit out of sight and watch the area below. Except, when we got to the top of the hill, standing below 130 yards away on the other side of the Wind River was a heavy mule deer buck.

So much for sitting and waiting. Joe & I crawled over the rocky ground about 20 yards through sage brush and cactus, me holding my gun in one hand and my coat sleeve over the other. I got to a rock where I could lay down and get a good rest, with the deer still unaware of our presence above him. I took my time and squeezed off a shot before he moved any further behind a willow bush. He took a few steps forward, and I still had a shot, which I took just in case.

I couldn’t have been happier at how it all turned out. However, really the fun part had just begun. Now we had to get this guy across the river, which is knee/thigh high on a man, swift, and about 25 yards across. The outfitter that Joe guides for lives nearby and brought his 4-wheeler, however the willows were so dense in the marshy area along the riverbed there was no getting to the river with it. Now, with daylight waning, Joe donned chest waders and made his way across the water with rope and his knives while I waited. After gutting the deer, he proceeded to cut it in half and swim each half across the river in the dark using rope tied off to a thick stick which he hung on to. It was  both comical and a little nerve-wracking to watch! Seeing the amount of force generated by the current pushing the dead weight of the animal downstream was intense. Success!

20151007_193709_LLSA few days later I cooked up the back strap, and the combination of tender venison and chive and onion cream cheese held in place by bacon was quite tasty.

 

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Crockpot BBQ Elk Round Steak with Veggies

I came up with this recipe a few weeks ago after not having had time to marinade the elk steaks I pulled from the freezer, or plan a meal for dinner that night. During my lunch break I threw this together using what I had in the fridge and left the crockpot to do its job during the afternoon. I picked up a brown gravy packet on the way home from work to finish off the meal. Cooking the round steaks LOW and SLOW with the BBQ sauce and steak seasoning made the meat tender and gave it a nice spicy flavor. No gamey taste at all.

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Crockpot BBQ Elk Round Steak with Veggies 

Serves 2

  • 3/4 lb. elk (or venison) round steak
  • ~14 baby carrots
  • 1/4 c yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 head (about 1.5 cups) broccoli
  • 1 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Worchestshire
  • 1 package brown gravy mix (I used low-sodium)
  • 2 Tbsp. BBQ Sauce
  • Steak seasoning- I used this from Hi Mountain Seasonings
  • Garlic salt
  • Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • Season Salt
  • Black pepper

Clean and chop vegetables. Feel free to use more onion, I didn’t have time during my lunch break to peel and cut another one, so I just used up what I had.

Melt margarine in frying pan and saute vegetables until carrots, onion, and broccoli are tender, about 10-15 minutes. I had to had a small amount of water to the pan two or three times to keep the veggies from buring. Potatoes should be softer but not yet fully cooked. Season vegetables with montreal chicken seasoning, garlic salt, and black pepper.
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Place steaks in a bowl and season liberally with steak seasoning. Pour on BBQ sauce and swirl steaks around in the bowl so that the meat is coated completely.

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Place cream of mushroom, beef broth, worchestshire, and partially cooked vegetables into the bottom of the crockpot.

Lay steaks on top. Sprinkle everything lightly with a pinch of season salt.

Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Liquid will form in the crockpot while cooking–this is good– you will want to save and use this! Pour off and measure one cup of the liquid that forms in the crockpot to use to make the gravy.

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When ready to serve, prepare the gravy: In a small saucepan, add the 1 cup of liquid reserved from the crockpot to the brown gravy mix and whisk on medium heat for 2 minutes until gravy thickens.

Serve steak and vegetables with brown gravy.

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Interesting Reads:

Viewing Wyoming’s bighorn sheep herds

Primal eating plan

Crockpot Mushroom and Onion Venison Steaks

This crockpot recipe results in tender steaks and creates its own gravy.

Crockpot Mushroom and Onion Venison Steaks

Serves 4

  • 1 lb vension steaks
  • 1/2 c diced yellow onion
  • 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup/Dip
  • 1 c. 7-Up or Sprite
  • Season salt
  • Garlic pepper

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1. Place steaks in crockpot and season.

2. Add in soups, and then pour on 1/2 can or 1 c. of 7-Up.

3.  Cook on low 4-6 hours. I usually serve with potatoes and a vegetable, but it could also be served over pasta or rice.

Elk Chili

This has been home for the past 4 days for me while we have been elk hunting with friends. I had to return to work on Wedneday, but everyone else stayed in for a full week. It has been a snowy, fun-filled trip, ending with two nice bulls harvested, many more we were privileged to see, and a week full of great memories. This was the final trip for the horses this year, who are now officially on “vacation” for the winter, and Jade was a good camp dog, even joining me INSIDE my sleeping bag for the first night.

Last week before going out of town on a conference, I made one of my staple cold-weather recipes, chili, knowing there would be a few days of leftovers. Ground elk, venison, or beef all work great in this.

Elk Chili

Serves 6-8

  • 1 lb ground elk
  • 14 oz. can red beans (around here they are called “chili-ettes”)
  • 4 oz can diced green chilis, drained
  • ~ 8 oz. fresh tomatoes, diced (I used our garden tomatoes that had ripened up) OR 3/4 can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • taco seasoning– I use Kittencal’s taco seasoning recipe from food.com
  • 1/4 c medium salsa
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/8 tsp.pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. Worcestshire
  • cheddar cheese & green onion–optional

1. Brown ground elk and season with taco seasoning. While meat is cooking, chop vegetables.

2. Dump meat into crockpot and add in remaining ingredients.

3. Cook in crockpot on LOW 4-6 hours. (My crockpot gets very hot on low, so adjust accordingly). Garnish with cheddar cheese and green onions.

4. Refrigerate leftovers once cool. We like using leftovers in scrambled eggs, in tortillas w/ cheese and salsa, or on hot dogs.

Crockpot Lasagna with Ground Elk

I have recently begun working an extra two hours per day tutoring, and four days per week I now find myself not getting home until 6 pm. By this time, we are hungry, and if dinner can’t be ready in about 10 minutes, I either want to eat leftovers or have something waiting for me when I walk through the door. My crockpot, a $3 yard sale steal, has made a quick re-entry into my life after lying dormant most of the summer, and I am currently making at least one crockpot meal per week. While I enjoy cooking and find it relaxing, when I am short on time, nothing is better than dumping your ingredients in the crockpot and knowing you will have dinner ready when you walk in the door.

I found a straight-forward recipe  from food.com and decided it was time to try lasagna in the crockpot. We waste no food in our house, and I am very conscious of using or freezing leftovers if not eaten within a day or two. I found myself with a leftover cooked elk burger, a mason jar of tomato puree I had frozen earlier, and a bunch of brown-paper-bag-ripened tomatoes from our garden ready to be used.

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Crockpot Lasagna with Ground Elk

Serves 2-3

16 oz. spaghetti sauce– I make my sauce and use “My Mama Iuliucci’s ‘Don’t Skip a Step Spaghetti Sauce’ “  as the basis of my sauce but I do skip a few steps…lol

4 oz. or more ground elk, crumbled (beef or venison would be fine, too)

~ 1.5 c Italian blend cheese

~ 1/2 c Parmesan cheese

~1.5 c 2% Cottage Cheese

Italian seasoning

3-6 No-cook lasagna noodles, depending on size of crockpot

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1. If using homemade, make spaghetti sauce, add in ground elk, and simmer in crockkpot for 3 hours on low. No need to dirty another pan! My sauce was made of what I had on hand and based off the above recipe: 16 oz. tomato puree, diced cherry tomatoes, onion, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, garlic pepper, sugar, salt, Italian seasoning, and parsley. I did not measure exactly.

2. Next, I scooped out 2/3 of the sauce, and left a layer on the bottom of the crockpot.

3. Next, I ran home during my 15 minute break between jobs, and layered non-cooked lasagna noodles (broken to fit the circular crockpot), spread them with cottage cheese, then sprinkled shredded Italian blend cheese and parmesan on top. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

4. Repeat this process two more times–sauce, noodles, cheeses, Italian seasoning– and add a little extra cheese on the top and final layer.

5. Make sure your noodles are totally covered with sauce/cottage cheese so they cook and are not hard.

6. I only cooked my lasagna for 2.5 hours on HIGH in the crockpot and it was juuuust done. If I had had more time, I would cook it on LOW as recommended for 4-6 hours.

7. Serve with salad, and enjoy!