Vanilla Bourbon Venison

Pheasant Fest 2020 Minneapolis

Tender venison with vanilla bourbon glaze

Have a “Wild” Valentine’s Day

This year I will be cooking up something very different for Valentine’s Day—pheasant. In fact, I will be cooking wild game all weekend. 

I was invited back to the Wild Game Cooking Stage at the National Pheasants Forever Pheasant Fest. I’m honored to be one of four chefs from across the U.S specializing in cooking wild game. This year, the event is in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I have a new recipe line-up that’s new and “jazzy” but still super easy.

Cooking on stage is not easy. I’ve had my share of disasters. I’ve melted a pan on stage (literally had molten metal dripping down the front of the table onto the stage) and one time while cooking live on TV, my assistant spilled half-a-cup of melted butter which was the main ingredient for a recipe. I can look back now, and laugh, but at the time, I was horrified. I try to keep my recipes easy to begin with, but even more so when I’m cooking on stage.

Melt in your mouth venison

I love this recipe, because it’s slightly unusual, but is still in the realm of comfort food. It’s perfect for a romantic evening for two or 30,000 (the number of people who usually attend Pheasant Fest). 

Treat someone you love to a fun filled weekend at Pheasant Fest or make this recipe at home and surprise them with something different and new—it will make you look like at pro! If you don’t have any venison, you can always substitute with beef. Be sure and stop by and say hello—I’d love to me you!

For more information visit

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To make Dry Rub:

1 tsp. coarse salt

1/2 fine ground fresh pepper

1/2 vanilla bean

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Cut vanilla bean in half. Reserve the other half for the plum sauce. With a sharp knife, carefully cut vanilla bean lengthwise without cutting through the bottom layer of the bean pod. Peel back the pod, and with the back of a spoon, scrape the seeds into a small bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. 

To make Venison:

2-3-pound venison roast (if roast is small, use 2)

1/2 cup bourbon

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

12 ounces of Wisconsin Spotted Cow Beer or Minnesota Grainbelt Nordeast Beer

1/3 cup vanilla dry rub

Preheat oven to 275-300℉.

Pat venison roasts dry with paper towels. Coat roast with dry rub seasoning and place in a Dutch oven. Slowly pour beer down alongside of the pan being careful to not pour over venison. Top the venison with any remaining dry rub. Cover with tinfoil and tightly seal with Dutch oven cover. Bake for 4-5 hours until tender. 

On a large cutting board, using two forks, gently pull meat apart. Return to Dutch oven and toss in remaining juices. Keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with vanilla plum sauce and Colby corn cakes.

Vanilla Plum Sauce:

1/2 cup plum preserves or any other mild flavored jam like blackberry

1/3 cup bourbon

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 vanilla bean

In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes until sauce is thickened; about 10 minutes. 

To make Colby Corn Cakes:

1-1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup corn meal

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 -1/2 cups Colby cheese, shredded

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup butter

1 cup corn

1 can cream corn

1/2 to 2/3 cup milk

3/4 tsp. salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

In a large bowl, combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the cheese and toss; set aside. 

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and add the onion and green pepper. Cook until tender; about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool for 5 minutes. 

Add the cream corn, corn, milk, salt, and the 3 eggs to the dry ingredients and cheese. Add the cooked onion, green pepper and butter. Stir to combine. 

Preheat griddle to 375℉. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop batter onto buttered griddle. Cook until bubbling and golden brown. Flip and cook other side. Repeat until batter is gone. Serve with sour cream and chives. 

Colby corn cakes

2 thoughts on “Vanilla Bourbon Venison

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