White Tail Deer With Cree Saskatoon Pudding

Deer oh deer, what a beautiful meal.


The Meat:

• 6 strips of venison heart

• ½ rack venison short ribs or some other grilling strips

• Lard or oil for frying

• 1 handful fresh thyme

• Salt & pepper to taste

The BBQ Sauce:

• ¼ cup finely minced onion

• ¼ cup ketchup

• 2 T. tomato paste

• 1 large clove garlic crushed & minced

• ¼ tsp. smoked paprika

• ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

• 1 T. honey (this can be replaced with chokecherry jam or syrup for a unique flavour).

• 1 T. olive oil

Saskatoon Pudding:

• 1.5 cups fresh or frozen saskatoons (substitute black huckleberries or blueberries)

• 3 T. maple sugar or maple syrup

• 1 cup + ¼ cup water

• 1 T. white flour


The Meat:

Note: the heart strips are for frying in a skillet while the ribs are designed to be glazed with the sauce then grilled on a BBQ or open fire.

  1. If the ribs are tender, you can simply slow BBQ them on the grill, glazing with the sauce when they are almost cooked to prevent burning the sauce. If the ribs are dry with no marbling as venison ribs can be, you must steam or boil them until half cooked before adding them to the grill.  Even once in the grill, you may want to add a dish of water or stock in the covered grill to prevent further drying. Grill with sauce on high heat for last 5 minutes to obtain a nice colour. A regular oven works nicely if you don’t have a BBQ grill or a firepit.
  2. For the heart strips fry over medium heat turning them to ensure nice browning on all sides. I like frying in animal lard such as bacon grease or pork lard. Add onions if you wish.

The BBQ Sauce:

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in some of the oil until onions are translucent then add all remaining ingredients including any extra oil to ensure some oil gets into any ribs that are lean.
  2. Stir mixture over medium heat until bubbling then turn heat to low and boil stirring occasionally until it begins to thicken, and all solids have softened.
  3. Brush over your desired cuts of meat towards the end of their cooking times.

Saskatoon Pudding:

  1. Bring berries, water and sweetener to a boil then continue to boil over medium/low heat until saskatoons start to split (15-20 minutes). Cooking time is less for other berries but saskatoons have leathery skins.
  2. Mix the flour with the remaining ¼ cup of cold water and stir briskly with a fork to ensure there are no lumps.
  3. Add four paste to berry mix while stirring the hot mixture. This is important or you run the risk of flour lumps in your pudding.
  4. Continue to stir until pudding thickens (approx. 3 mins). If it gets too thick add more water. If it’s too thin boil a bit longer.

Note: This saskatoon dish comes from an ancient Cree recipe. Wild turnip root flour was used as the thickener and often, no sweetener was added. When flour was introduced, it replaced the wild turnip.

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