Smoked Venison Stroganoff

Smoked Venison Stroganoff
Serves 6-8

Everybody loves beef stroganoff, a quintessential comfort dish. The smoked venison in this recipe adds an interesting twist to a classic dish.

What you need:
2 pounds venison roast, or quarter, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Venison Rub (recipe to follow), divided
½ cup apple juice, in a spray bottle, for the grill
¼ cup canola oil
8 cups crimini mushrooms, quartered
2 cups yellow onion, peeled and finely-diced
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
4 tablespoons thinly-sliced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup cognac
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 pound dried egg noodles, cooked according to package directions

What to do:
1. Prepare the Venison Rub.

2. Cover a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

3. Arrange the cubed venison on the sheet pan in one layer with all of the cubes touching. Dust the meat with ½ tablespoon Venison Rub, then use your hands to flip the venison cubes over, and dust again with another ½ tablespoon Venison rub. Transfer the seasoned cubes to a wire rack.

4. When you are ready to cook, heat the smoker to 300 degrees F pit temperature. Alternatively, heat a grill to 300 degrees F, using the 2-Zone setup.

5. Place the wire rack of venison in the smoker, or on the cool side of the 2-Zone grill. Close the grill lid and cook 30 to 40 minutes, spraying the meat with apple juice every 15 minutes to moisten. The venison is done when a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part reads an internal temperature of 135 degrees F. Remove the venison from the smoker or grill and set aside to cool to room temperature. Slice the cooled cubes into thirds, and set aside.

6. Heat the canola oil in a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until golden. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, and continue to cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Add the butter, garlic, salt, and pepper and sauté for 1 minute, then remove the pot from heat and deglaze with the Cognac, using a wooden spoon to scrape up and incorporate any browned bits. Return the pot to medium heat and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, or until the Cognac is reduced to 1/3 cup.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the egg noodles according to the package directions.

8. When the Cognac has reduced, add the chicken stock, mustard, remaining 1 teaspoon Venison Rub, and the smoked paprika to the saucepan, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and fold in the sliced venison, sour cream, lemon juice, and parsley.

To Serve: Toss with the egg noodles and serve immediately

Venison Rub
Yields a generous 1/3 cup

What you need:
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon freshly ground pink peppercorns
2 teaspoons freshly ground coriander
2 teaspoons freshly ground juniper berries
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon granulated onion

What to do:
1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

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