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Our buddy Ryan Callaghan, an unabashed Irishman and also a proud employee of First Lite, shared this photo of the corned elk that he prepared for Saint Patty’s Day. Reminds me of my own personal favorite, corned bighorn, which at least has a nice ring to it. Here is Ryan’s post-meal synopsis: “I think I overcooked this by maybe five or six minutes?  Meat was incredibly awesome anyway.  Turned out unbelievably tasty just slightly dry.  I saved the big brisket for another occasion. This one was probably 3 lbs.”

Corned elk cross cut_site

If I was more like Martha Stewart, I would have thought to give out this recipe for a wild game version of corned beef before St. Patrick’s Day. (And I’d also have a line of MeatEater shower curtains in J.C. Penney.) But late is better than never, and corned meat tastes good no matter when you cook it. This recipe is fail-safe and extremely easy.

  • •1 boneless roast of wild game (deer, elk, moose, antelope, etc.), ranging from 2-6 pounds
  • •2 quarts water
  • •2 cups Morton’s Tenderquick (made by Morton, the salt company)
  • •1 cup brown sugar
  • •2 tablespoon blended pickling spice (available in most grocery stores)

Combine the Tenderquick, brown sugar, pickling spice, and water in a large cooking pot. Bring to a boil in order to dissolve the Tenderquick and sugar. Let the brine cool, and then add the meat. Make sure that the meat is completely covered in brine. (If necessary, you can place the meat in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour the brine over it; this allows for a more custom fit and requires less brine to get full coverage.) Place the brine, meat and all, into a refrigerator for at least 4 days, or up to 7 days.

When you’re ready to prepare the meat, remove it from the brine. For the fastest results, place the meat in a pressure cooker and cover about half way up with water. Cook at 10 pounds of pressure for 45 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, put the meat into a Dutch oven or similar oven-safe container and cover to the top of the meat with water, then place in a 300 degree oven for approximately 4-5 hours. Meat is ready when it’s fork tender. Serve with a good mustard, alongside boiled potatoes.


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