Venison Ham

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When I shot my first whitetail doe this year, I knew what cuts exactly I wanted. Having plans for your upcoming harvests can help you move swiftly through the butchering process as well. Doing this allowed me to have direction when butchering to keep everything flowing smoothly. One of the first cuts I finished was a cut for a ham.

For this I choose to debone the hind quarter and use the whole round to make this ham. The round is made up of several muscle groups which are better known as inside round, bottom round, and eye of round. These all have great muscle structure and make for great hams.

In order to make a ham, I needed to let it brine for a while before smoking it as well. My brine incorporated water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, mustard seed, coriander seed, juniper berries, bay leaves, and cure salt. There’s a lot of controversy around curing salts in the health world, since it is a nitrite. This ham wasn’t all that big, and I will be freezing most of it to pull out when I want, so I’m fine with using cure salt in this instance.

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After brining my venison for about 3.5 days, it was ready to go on the smoker. If you’re doing a larger one, you’ll need to let it brine longer. Most brine times are at least a week or more, depending on the size. I got a ham net from the butcher shop to put this thing into to keep it all together as well. They’re cheap, easy to use, and will fit most hams. You’ll need to stuff it in there as tight as possible and then tie it off to keep it tight. Optionally you could tie it all together as well, but the ham net works better in my opinion.

Making your own venison ham opens up tons of possibilities for homemade dishes as well. I kept mine simple at first and made two sandwiches. First was a French sandwich that consists of a baguette, butter, ham, and salt. That’s it. Its an elegant sandwich that only gets better with better quality ingredients. The second was a Cuban sandwich too. I used some smoked backstrap using the Harvesting Nature Big Game Rub in this sandwich, along with the venison ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickle, and Tacticalories Rowdie Townie Beer Mustard here too. I’ll bet you’ve never had a Cuban sandwich like this!

Venison Ham

Recipe by Gunnar EmbergCourse: Wild Recipes
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2-3lb venison hind quarter roast

  • 1 gallon water

  • 1.5 cup kosher salt

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2.5 tbsp pink curing salt

  • 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns

  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds

  • 1tbsp juniper berries

  • 3 bay leaves

Preparation

  • Mix all ingredients except venison in a food safe container and stir until dissolved. Add venison and make sure it is submerged completely, adding weight if necessary.
  • Let brine for 3-4 days, or longer if you have time. The longer the better, up to a week for smaller hams. Longer for larger hams
  • After brine, remove, pat dry, and remove and stuck on spices. Roll back into its natural shape and place in ham net as tightly as possible, tie off the end to keep it tight.
  • Smoke at 225F for roughly 3-4 hours or until internal temp reaches 150F.
  • Let rest for 20 minutes and enjoy! Or, chill in a fridge and slice thinly for sandwiches!

Gunnar Emberg

Gunnar has devoted his life to his passion for hunting and wild game cooking. This has led him to create his own archery company, Orskot Archery. Orskot Archery focuses on ethical hunting using modern equipment, as well as scratch-made wild game food. Gunnar’s connection to nature is deeply rooted in him and drives his passion for the outdoors. When he’s not hunting, Gunnar can be found in the kitchen working on recipes for his upcoming cookbook.

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