The Lowcountry’s Got Game

Written by Holly Hamilton

When we say we have game, we mean Venison (and boar and turkey and more).  Let’s talk about what it means to have game in the Lowcountry.  Deer season runs from August 15 through January 1, so there is still a chance to get your fill.   You can’t buy venison so if you don’t hunt, maybe you will be lucky enough to know someone who does.


Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Sher

I interviewed Charles Waring, editor in chief of the The Charleston Mercury.  Charles has been hunting at the Middleton Hunting Club for 45 years, outfitted in the traditional garb of traditional field coat, brush pants and tie.   Since 1908, these hunts at Middleton Hunt club have begun with a blast on the horn and the unleashing of the hounds, and gentlemen enjoy the ritual of the hunt. It’s truly a movie inspired by the Mercury and Garden and Gun scene. Speaking of film, Charles gave me the heads up on “Traditional Wild America,” a national outdoor TV show set to air early spring. Stay tuned, and you will really see how the Lowcountry has game.

Being an experienced hunter and one who likes to cook for others, Charles was happy to share his favorite recipes for venison.  After all, part of hunting is about enjoying the wild meat taken during the chase.

There are three steps to great Venison:

Clean

After the hunt, immediately protect the meat and keep it clean and put on ice.

Age

Once home, soak in Kosher salt under water for ten minutes.

Dry with paper towels, and refrigerate for 3 days covered. Place on ceramic or glass; never on metal.

Drain, pull it out and keep refrigerated for 3 more days.

Freeze with great care.

Note: Dr. Michael Hull of the Middleton Hunt Clubs notes that If there is any hint of contamination in the meat, soak in a weak vinegar solution overnight

Cook

Stuffed Haunch Roast (preheat oven to 450)

Defrost the venison for three days in the fridge.

Make L shaped slits into the roast and stuff with Jimmy Dean Sausage or you may wrap with bacon.

Salt and pepper to taste (sage, Busters Rub are also good) and add a cup of red wine to the roasting pan.

Cook for 10 minutes at 450 degrees

Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue cooking for 2.5 hours, basting every thirty minutes (you can cover with foil the last half hour). Do not overcook and be prepared to take it out early. Rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Make gravy from the aus jus.  This roast makes a great party platter for small sandwiches(feeds 50 if you have other options; 25 if alone) or a sit down dinner of roast venison with gravy, lingonberries and local rice; try white, brown or Carolina Gold Rice from Plumfield Plantation.

Venison Steaks

Marinate 4” steaks 3 hours

  • 1/3 of a cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 of a cup Red wine
  • 1/3 of a cup Walnut oil (or hazelnut)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Emulsify ingredients
  • Remove from marinade and rub with Buster’s BBQ Rub
  • In a cast iron skillet, heat 2TB of cooking oil until smoking (about 2-3 minutes)
  • Sear 1.5 minutes per side with lid on.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and remove the lid to let steam escape (about 1 minute)
  • Cover again and rest on cool burner t for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with rice, gravy and vegetables.

For more tips on how to cook venison, have a look at Jimmy Hagood’s Soulful methods of preparing wild game.