Tired of turkey legs, turkey breast, turkey thighs, turkey giblets, turkey hash and anything associated with turkey?
By Alan Clemons, Southern Managing Editor
In 1621 when the Pilgrims chowed down with the Wampanoag for that first autumn feast at Plymouth Colony, turkey no doubt was on the menu. That much is known, according to the surviving accounts, probably because the Wampanoag didn’t have firearms to dispatch the birds more easily and any acorn-stuffed gobble bird definitely was appreciated.
But along with the turkey, dishes made from corn, probably some fish and shellfish, fruits and nuts, the assembled also feasted upon venison. I suspect the Wampanoag were pretty darn good at dropping a fat doe or buck (and probably didn’t have antler restrictions), and we know they used antlers, hooves, hair, hide, bones and meat for many things. Practical folks, those Wampanoag.
Venison most likely was roasted, dried into jerky, or possibly boiled if some of the Pilgrim women got a’hold of a roast. I suspect they whipped up a good fire and employed a spit or some kind of roasting technique. I’ll bet it was pretty good.
If you’re interested in a couple of great cookbooks for venison recipes – perhaps for Christmas dinner? – give these a try. From all of us at Deer & Deer Hunting and our FW Media Outdoors family, we hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving and have a fine weekend.
Happy Healthy Family– Stacy Harris and her family relish the deer hunting seasons in Alabama, partly because they enjoy hunting with homemade muzzleloaders and also for the fresh venison. They have a big garden, so there’s always fresh vegetables for their venison, too. Harris has a fantastic book, “Happy Healthy Family,” with easy, delicious recipes you can make at home or at deer camp. They’re outstanding, as is the book. BUY IT HERE
The Sporting Chef’s Better Venison Cookbook – As I related in this story, I’ve known Scott Leysath for almost 15 years. Great guy, great chef, great hunter and angler. Loves to cook, but doesn’t love doing things that take a lot of time … which is why his recipes in “The Sporting Chef’s Better Venison Cookbook” are outstanding. They’re easy, taste great and are based on knowledge and experience. BUY IT HERE
Gut It Cut It Cook It – This line in the ShopDeerHunting description says it all: “from pulling the trigger to washing the dishes.” Authors and veteran hunters Al Cambronne and Eric Fromm give you tips on processing, preparation, cuts, storage, cooking and more. BUY IT HERE
Try This Recipe?
Well, maybe not. It reportedly is from “The English Housewife” by Gervase Markham, published in 1615. I’m unsure how tasty a near-400-year old recipe might be, but it’s fun to see what they thought about cooking venison during the Pilgrim times:
“[A]fter you have washed it, and cleansed all the blood from it, you shall stick it with cloves all over on the outside; and if it be lean you shall lard it either with mutton lard, or pork lard, but mutton is the best: then spit it [put it on a spit that can be hand-rotated over the fire] and roast it by a soaking fire [a slow-roasting fire], then take vinegar, bread crumbs, and some of the gravy which comes from the venison, and boil them well in a dish; then season it with sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt, and serve the venison forth upon the sauce when it is roasted enough.”
Hmmm … maybe Eye-talian dressin’ drenched over bacon, sliced jalapenos and a bite of venison ain’t half bad?