Venison Runzas Recipe

Runzas are as Nebraskan as Cornhusker football. Also called bierocks, these delicious dough pockets are a regional favorite. They have both German and Russian roots and are typically filled with seasoned meat, cabbage or sauerkraut, and onions. I added cheese and took a few liberties on the spices. It’s essentially an enclosed, portable cheeseburger that’s easy to make ahead and reheat.

Serving size


Time to make

1.5 hours


1 ½ lbs. venison roast, frozen
2 loaves of Rhodes White Frozen Bread Dough
2 slices of bacon, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. neutral oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups shredded cabbage
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup stock or water
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten

Also works with

Any red meat

Special equipment

Large pan


  1. Thaw Rhodes bread dough loaves and allow to rise according to package directions. Time will vary. (Read the directions the night before to decide what you want to do. Although easy, this recipe cannot be done last minute.)

  2. Allow venison to partially thaw on the counter for 1-2 hours or until it’s soft enough to cut into but still icy. Remove silver skin and cut venison into cubes. Grind meat with chopped bacon while the venison is still partially frozen. Set aside ground meat to thaw completely.

  3. In a wide pan or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown ground venison, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Then add the diced onion and sweat for 5-7 minutes, or until translucent, stirring frequently. Next, add garlic, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, Hungarian paprika, tomato paste, shredded cabbage, and red pepper flakes. Stir until cabbage wilts, about 5 minutes. Add stock or water and simmer until absorbed. Take off heat and when cool, stir in shredded cheddar cheese. Season to taste.

  4. On a lightly floured surface, cut one bread dough loaf into fourths. With your hands, gently stretch one piece of dough into an 8- to 9-inch circle. Fill it with an eighth of the venison-cabbage mixture. Bring the edges together and twist and pinch to seal.

  5. Lay the seam side down onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches between each runza. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap while you repeat with the second bread dough loaf for a total of 8 runzas. Allow to rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

  6. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly brush the tops of the runzas with egg wash. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until dough is cooked through and the tops become golden. If the tops brown too fast, loosely place a sheet of foil on top.

  7. Serve warm. To reheat, wrap in foil and bake in a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.