Well, it’s hunting season again here in Missouri and this fall weather is just about perfect for sitting outside with an adult beverage watching the smoker. So I’m going to give venison a try on the old Brinkman Pitmaster in celebration.
I’ve been following POPS for a while and have recreated his curing a ham process a few times with excellent success so I thought it would be interesting to give deer haunch a try. Venison is a notoriously difficult meat to work with and its leanness and tendency toward gamey-ness make it a difficult meat for smoking. It can be hard to find resources for curing and smoking a deer ham on the web and frankly it seems as though it just is not done very frequently here in the US. Some of you may disagree and do this all the time. Any tips you’d like to through in are appreciated. I think I will document my attempt here and see how it goes. I am going to combine several processes gleaned from other members of this site and other sources on the web. I will attempt to source and give credit as I go. It will also make it easier for others to tailor the process to their own specific needs as I have done here.
I am starting with two hind haunches (fresh uncured bone in hams)of a white tail button buck (male yearling). I have decided not to remove the lymph nodes located in the hind legs because of the size of the deer and the level of invasiveness in removing them. If you live in an area affected by chronic wasting disease you will not only need to remove the lymph nodes but also fully de-bone the ham. Check your local/state department of conservation or natural resources to determine if you need to follow those steps. Here is a link for further reading http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/cwd.htm
For the curing process I have used POPS' post. This has worked well for me with hog hams and I’m hoping that it will turn out well for venison. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/89979/from-hog-leg-to-easter-ham Pops does an excellent job of detailing the pumping/injecting process necessary in keeping the ham from souring and I will not re-hash it. Below is Pops’ cure and injection recipe. Simple, quick, and effective.
1 gal. cold water
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. DQ Cure (or any #1 cure, but not Tenderquick with salt added)
Once injected, put into 5 gal. bucket and cover completely with brine (took 2 3/4 gallons to do so) until ham is floating, then hold down with a gallon ziploc bag half full of water.
I use a clear Rubbermaid container from Wally World. I just put it in the beer fridge in the garage where it won’t bother the wife.
Edited by BackyardKCQ - 10/20/12 at 6:11pm