Screaming Into The Abyss

Venison Is Like Goat, Right?
By Ben Zvan
On November 09, 2011 at 09:29

Venison MocettaThis weekend was a surprisingly successful deer hunting trip to the great brown north of Minnesota. After sitting for the morning on opening day, I was not expecting to see any deer all weekend. I was pleasantly proven wrong when two fawns walked into sight and hung out long enough to be gutted and dragged out of the woods.

In years past, we've spend the week after deer opener processing meat and freezing it for long-term storage. This has always included removing all the fat and as much of the silver skin as possible prior to freezing. This year, we decided to try timeshifting some of that processing by freezing large pieces of less-processed meat that we'll finish processing when we thaw it out to cook. We're hoping that what this lacks in convenience later will be made up with a lack of frustration now.

I also decided to try another project. I heard about Mocetta last winter from JCC at You Have To Cook It Right. He used the recipe from Hank Shaw at Hunter Angler Gardner Cook after he roasted a whole goat for Frustrated Farmer Rick's fall farm festival at Caerwyn Farm and Spirits. The original Mocetta is a Northern Italian, cured, spiced, air-dried goat leg. Now...I don't have any goats, but I figured that venison leg would be a reasonable substitution.

After cutting up two of the hind legs for roasts and the front legs for burger and sausage (I'm going to try another of Hank's Recipes there) I set aside two of the legs, hopped on my motorcycles and headed over to Penzey's Spices to get some juniper berries. Making the rub was simple enough; Hank's recipe made exactly 1 pound, so splitting it up into two parts was simple. After half an hour of preparation, the hams are sitting in a plastic tub in the refrigerator and I'm waiting not very patiently for the first two weeks to pass and the second application of rub.

I still have some kinks to work out as far as where to hang it when the time comes, but this is an old meat product and I'm sure it, like beer, has been prepared under a wider variety of conditions than I can imagine. Only 6 months to go...

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