Every summer solstice weekend, a group of co-workers of mine get together out at a fishing lodge and have a big party to bring in the summer. I have not previously gone being that I am not really into fishing. I get why people like to fish, I am just not one of them. I do like to cook fresh fish though 🙂
That said, this past year we lost our good friend and co-worker Steve… and he was the cook for this main event. Since everyone knows I’m a BBQ nerd a couple of the guys asked me if I would come this year to help them cook. And they even promised I did not have to go fishing 🙂
I have been told it is more of a brick oven BBQ and I look forward to trying it out, cooking directly over open flame. However, they also had a deer hind quarter kicking around in the freezer and seeing as how I have never seen this grill before, I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to cook it.
My suggestion was to get the deer to me and I’ll come up with something on the Big Green Egg, pre-cook it and then we can reheat it on the grill out there.
So last night I picked up the deer
And then made a brine for it:
1L of Apple Juice
3L of water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
a couple tablespoons of Cluck & Squeal Beef Specific
I have pepper in the picture but decided in the end not to use it.
Because this thing was so big, I had to brine it in my cooler
I ended up 2 and halfing the brine recipe in order to cover it completely in the cooler. I also added some ice cubes and left it overnight.
At 5am I drearily got out of bed, lit the Big Green Egg and got it warmed up to 225F.
While the Egg was warming up I sliced up a head of garlic and made some slits into the meat and stuffed them in.
I then slathered it with mustard and hit it with Cluck & Squeal Beef Specific and put it on the Egg with a bunch of whiskey oak chips.
By 6am it was smoking away!!!
I went to work with my DigiQ II set to 160F for the meat and 225F for the grill. When I got home around 12:30 the meat was riding around 155F. I was shooting for 160ish.
So I quickly threw together a mop of beef stock, apple cider vinegar, C&S Beef and maple syrup and mopped the meat.
I left it for about another 90 minutes and went to Costco. When I got back everything was between 160F and 162F so I pulled it off.
I let it cool, foiled it and into the fridge.
The next morning I woke up at 6am and started to get everything packed up to head out to Bird Lake for the big Summer Solstice party in Steve’s honour. It was a nice drive up to Bird Lake. I have never been up there before and for most of it, it was quite scenic actually, until I hit the gravel roads and then it was just riding through some dirt and trees.
I made it up there around 9:30am and got everything unloaded. The mosquitoes had all just come out too, so it was going to be a bug spray day!!! It was warm and sunny though, so that was good!
I also discovered the stone BBQ I would be cooking on. It was an old brick that unfortunately had no door to it. That would have helped keep the heat in! A Big Green Egg it was NOT!
So I brought my charcoal chimney and a bag of lump as well as some old Kingsford I have had sitting my garage for 2 years (since I got the Eggs) and I lit this thing up.
I also brought my grill and Plate Setter and thought that I should try cooking indirectly so I don’t burn things.
My friend Jody and I were doing most of the cooking and used the stone fire pit to cook a bunch of Scotch Eggs, some Ham Rings and some Jalapeno Poppers.
The Scotch Eggs were supposed to be brunch but ended up being about a 2pm snack. They took WAY longer to cook because that stone oven would not hold any heat. We tried to cover up the opening with an old kitchen table… until the heat from the fire almost lit it up!!!
While the Eggs were taking their sweet ass time cooking, Jody and I got the Jalepeno Poppers prepped as well as she went to work on the most awesome BBQ sauce for the deer. It was a labour of love there… bacon, bourbon, onions, herbs and spices, dried apricots and a whole bunch of stuff went into it. It was amazing!
Finally later in the afternoon (5ish) we got the Jalepeno poppers on the grill, about the same time that started to reheat the venison. I did some of the poppers on the charcoal as seen here (along with some Veggie ones)
In the end, we decided that the stone oven was WAY too inefficient to reheat the deer and we were running low on charcoal too, so we ended up reheating the deer on the gas grill. I didn’t get a picture, but I had it in the foil tray I brought it up in and added beef stock and beer to the bottom, sealed it up with some more foil and let it slowly braise up to 150F. Glad I brought my collection of meat thermometers and timers 🙂
It took about 90 minutes to 2 hours for the venison to warm up and it came out perfect and was SUPER moist and juicy!!!
Overall it was a fun day of cooking and hanging out with friends and remembering a good friend we all lost. The best compliment I got was that Steve would have LOVED the venison and that I did him proud.