saint patrick’s day, part 1: corned caribou

It’s been a bit of a sad day.  No, not because Saint Patrick’s day was already a week ago and I’m just gettin’ around to posting about it.  No, this sadness started last night, when my camera stopped working.  We were checking out the incredible ice sculptures at the World Ice Carving Championships Ice Park, and in the middle of our exploring, I realized that the LCD screen on my camera was showing just a black screen when I tried to playback the picture’s I’d just taken.  I could look at the previous pictures I’d taken, but any pictures I took from that point on were just black rectangles.

This morning I called Canon, to find out that my digital Rebel, the first model they made, is no longer in its service life, so they can’t repair it, and highly doubted anyone else could, since it would need parts that are no longer made.  So with a sad sigh, I agreed to recycling my much-loved rebel through their loyalty program and getting a reduced-cost refurbished camera.

I certainly wasn’t expecting to start this post with this sad story!  It feels like I’m saying good-bye to an old friend.  I’ve had a great seven years with that camera, and it’s survived a few falls and crashes that still impress me.  I suppose it is exciting to be getting a newer model, though; it just makes me extra thankful for my tax refund!

So, moving on.  Corned Beef!  Have you ever had it homemade?  A year or so ago, one of my mom’s friends shared a recipe with her to use for corning moose or caribou brisket.  (I’m sure it could be done with venison as well.)  When my mom first tried it, I instantly fell in love.  It was that wonderful.  Store-bought corned beef always frightened me a bit and sounded unappealing – maybe because I also connected it with overly-cooked-limp cabbage & overpowering saltiness- but this homemade version?  Amazing!

So when a friend shared a bit of caribou with Joe & I last fall, we canned much of it, but cut the brisket into two pieces, corned one right away, and froze the other piece for some special occasion.  Now I know reubens are not at all Irish, but hey, we figured they were close enough to work!

Our reuben base was a loaf of sourdough onion rye bread that Joe made, and from there were used stoneground mustard, homemade sauerkraut, homemade corned caribou, and a bit of Irish cheddar for me.  No, cheddar and mustard aren’t normal in a reuben, but I am totally okay with breaking the rules in favor of personal taste.  We enjoyed our reubens with homemade potato soup, and some dark beers, brewed by Joe himself (SO GOOD!).  We followed it all up with a special dessert to come in the next post.

It was one of those meals where you have to pause after every bite you take, because every flavor is so wonderful, and as each of them blends and mixes with the others it creates a totally unforgettable experience.  It felt so healthy, simple, homemade and affordable, yet entirely extravagant at the same time!  So, since I’ve written quite enough by this point, here’s a couple recipe options for corned caribou/beef/moose/venison.  One recipe (one I adapted) uses whey, and simple things you probably have on hand; the other (the original one my mom shared with me) requires a couple specific types of salt you may need to pick up.  Either one is wonderful!

Corned Caribou (using whey)

3 lb roast/brisket (caribou, moose, beef, venison – something that’s grass-fed!  This is great way to use tough meat)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup whey
1/4 cup sea salt
3 bay leaves, crumbled
3 Tbsp pickling spices
3 cloves chopped garlic

Combine the water and whey; set aside.  Mix together the salt, bay leaves, pickling spices and garlic, and rub all over the brisket.  Place the brisket in a ziploc bag, and pour the water-whey mixture over it.  Squeeze air from back and close.  Refrigerate 5-7 days, turning each day.  Remove brisket from liquid and prepare as you like!  (If you, like me, are okay with eating some raw meat here and there, the cured brisket can be eaten raw, as long as it came from a source that you trust, and was ideally frozen for at least 14 days prior to cooking!)

Corned Caribou (using more salt)

3 lb roast/brisket (caribou, moose, beef, venison – something that’s grass-fed!  This is great way to use tough meat)
3 cloves chopped garlic
3 Tbsp evaporated cane sugar
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp pickling spices
1/2 cup canning salt
1/2 cup Morten’s Tender Quick salt
2 quarts water

Combine all ingredients, except brisket, and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and cool.  Put in a gallon ziploc back with the brisket.  Squeeze air from bag and close.  Refrigerate 5-7 days, turning each day.  Remove brisket from liquid and prepare as you like!

This entry was posted in breads, dairy-free, entrees, gluten-free, Nourishing Principles, refined sugar-free and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to saint patrick’s day, part 1: corned caribou

  1. Shira says:

    The veggie head in me looks at that yummy bread, the cheese, and sees lentil loaf! It looks pretty good and I don’t even eat meat! Ouch – sorry to hear about your camera – boooo! That’s not good!

    • Thanks Shira! Lentil loaf sounds yummy! I’ve seen some reuben recipes that use tempeh, which I’m sure would be delicious. I do miss my camera; but I’m started to get a lil’ more excited about a newer one. It’s gonna be fun to have a new camera to get to know!

  2. I’m seriously jealous of your game. Sorry about the camera. They always go at the worst time!

  3. Glenn says:

    Finally! A recipe with some meat! 😉

    Love it. Looks delicious beyond delicious.

  4. Eileen says:

    Wow, caribou! My spouse’s family hunts, so we get occasional venison, but never caribou. (That probably has something to do with them living in Michigan instead of Alaska, shockingly enough.) I’m definitely jealous. 🙂

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