Growing up in Wisconsin, we did not get a day off of school for Kazimir Pulaski Day or Columbus Day, but we did get opening day of deer hunting season off. However, my hunting career never materialized. I never had the patience for it. You had to wake up early, it was cold, and I was never sure that I could pull the trigger. My dad is polar opposite. Those are things that he loves about hunting.
Once I stopped the hunting experiment, I stayed on for the best part. Deer deconstruction. In our semi-urban garage, we hung the deer, skinned it, and broke it down. Neither of us were any good at it though and we just had bags of random piece labeled with the general region of the deer. Since then, the process became more scientific and is done at the hunting camp. After taking a hog butchering class, I may request to have a deer brought home to do it myself.
I still get venison from my dad’s take and looking in the freezer, I pulled the last package — a loin no less. I had not made much charcuterie with venison, only some sausages, but the qualities of venison almost suit it better for being cured and dried than being cooked.
Unlike most whole cuts of meat, this venison loin is a quick cure and takes about a week to dry. The biggest struggle with this whole process is cutting the damned bresaola. I refuse to get a meat slicer, but this venison would be so much better sliced paper thin. Even clumsily sliced, the venison is delicious. The rosemary and juniper berries work very well with the gamey flavor of the venison.
- 10 ounces Venison Loin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon black pepperm, ground
- 10 juniper berries, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon pink salt
Step one: Combine all ingredients in a zip top or vacuum bag and seal for a week. Turning daily.
Step two: Rinse the now cured loin and dry completely. Wrap in cheesecloth and hang to dry. When the bresaola weighs 70% of its hanging weight. It is ready. It took a little over 2 weeks for this version.