Monday, December 30, 2013

DIY... (venison) Pot Roast?

So, maybe not DIY in the standard "build something out of scrap" sense, but given the deer came from our back yard, pretty close to DIY "free range" goodness.  However, in the spirit of resourcefulness, I made my own recipes up and it seemed to be well received on Google+ so I thought it worth posting them here (so as to not forget what I did to make this taste so good!)

The loins I used came out to about 8 chops which were all packaged together by the butcher.  The meet, btw, has been in my deep freezer  for over 2 years.  Yes.  And it was still free from freezer burn and delicious.

Venison Pot Roast

1 lb venison loin cut about 1/2 thick
4 potatoes
4 large carrots
4 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1/2 cup beer
1 cup water
salt and pepper
Cube venison, onion and potatoes (red skin or whatever - I usually scrub them and leave the skins on), peel and slice carrots, peel and mince garlic.
Layer in crock pot or slow cooker:  onions, venison, carrots potatoes, salt & pepper to taste (about a 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper is a good starting point). Edit (almost forgot) sprinkle garlic over top.
Pour in 1/4 of your favorite beer and 1 cup of water and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
Makes 10-12 servings

Bonus Recipe - Venison chili 

I made this one for the Christmas Potluck last year with, you guessed it, meat from the same deer.

1 lb Ground Venison
1/2 stick butter
2 cans of your preferred chili beans - we like Northern or Navy but kidney or black would do, too, depending on the flavor you like
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce (I use Hunts in both cases)
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery sticks, sliced
6 cups of water
1 Tbsp habanero sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp Cumin
Salt and Pepper to Taste

** secret ingredients **

1/2 cup dark molasses
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Prepare beans according to directions if starting with dried beans.

Brown venison in a large skillet with butter and onions.

Combine everything except spices in stock pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook till celery is clear.  Stir in molasses and other seasonings.

Makes about 8-10 servings.  Great with corn bread.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Emergency Candles

You can find loads of videos on youtube telling you how to light your sardine oil on fire.  I decided to try bacon grease today.  Perhaps no surprise, it works great.  Here's how I made my emergency porcine luminary.

1. Fry up some bacon.

2. Important step: eat the bacon.

3. Pour off the drippings into a fire-safe container.  I used a glass desert dish.

4. Unroll a cotton ball, take about 1/4 of it and roll it into a thick wick.  Mine wound up being about 5-6mm thick and about 2 inches long.  I soaked it in the drippings so it would sink instead of float, then put it all the way down with about 1/4 inch exposed.  I used a plastic fork to keep the wick from sinking out of sight as it wanted to do.  A tooth-pick would work as well.

5. Pop the whole thing it into the freezer to expedite setting but you could probably let it set out at room temperature for the same effect, or set it in the snow.

6. After hardening, it took about three matches to get it going.  One might have done it if I'd been smart and held my bacon candle at an angle to begin with.  A thinner wick or more exposure might have made this easier.

7. (Optional) I cut the bottom out of a water jug to make a diffuser / hurricane lantern enclosure and set it out on the picnic table.  And there it glows.

Bacon + Fire = Perfection
I'll update this post with the total burn time for six strips of bacon later on.

Update as promised: The bacon candle provided reliable light and modest heat (perhaps enough to keep a tarp shelter warm) for 5.5 hours and then began to flicker as the fuel ran short.  Depending on conditions, I would estimate it has another 15-20 minutes of flicker left in it.

Post action summary: I lit this thing at 6:25 PM and had to finally blow it out at 1:00 AM.  It had consumed almost all the grease and most of the wick remained intact.  The inside of the jug is covered in a thin but quite distinct layer of soot.  Definitely not something I recommend for use in your home.  As with all open flames, use caution.  I blew this out because I wanted to go to sleep and not hear the wife complain of the picnic table / deck / house being on fire - as unlikely as it may be.