Venison with Bourbon Peppercorn Smoked Mussel Cream Sauce
“This wild recipe takes “surf and turf” to a whole new level.
I have a good friend that spends a fair amount of time in the Lowcountry of South Carolina hunting, fishing and foraging. I’m wildly jealous of his short highway drive that connects his inland home to the abundant East Coast waterways he so frequently visits.
Every time I’m lucky enough that this good friend visits, I can (hopefully) expect to be spoiled with generous gifts of fresh caught blue crab, oysters, black drum, speckled trout and mussels. On my friend’s recent visit to my Tenneesee home, he opened the cooler to the usual goodies, but he had a special bag with him. His recent trip had given him more mussels than he knew what to do with, so he had experimented by cooking the mussels and then finishing them on a smoker over applewood.
The results were out of this world delicious – Imagine a piece of bacon mixed with an oyster. Sounds crazy right? However, the smokiness and sweetness of the apple wood mixed with the saltiness and brine of the ocean were a beautiful marriage of sweet and salty.
I might even go as far as dropping the infamous 5th basic food taste, umami. You could taste the lowcountry in every bite. We had to stop eating them right out of the bag or we wouldn’t have had any left for the dinner we were about to make.
I had a Tennessee doe backstrap I was planning to cook that night for the both of us, and after a few glasses of wine, we had the wild idea to find a way to pair the two together.
We wanted to amplify the smokiness with bourbon and whole peppercorn and have a smooth and creamy finish.
We grabbed a bottle of Kentucky bourbon, set my East Tennessee Lodge cast iron on high heat, and we went to work creating what is possibly, in my opinion, one of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten and especially one I’ve ever cooked.
NOTE: If you don’t have a cast iron that’s ok. Any oven safe pan will work. If you don’t have an oven safe pan, then transfer the venison to a cookie sheet to finish in the oven.”
Recipe and full article can be found here.
Photo Credit: Original Author