Corned Elk Hash
Courtesy of Chef John McGannon, wildeats.com
The practice of “corning” meat has nothing to do with corn. It is simply another creative way Middle Ages' types came up with for preserving meat. The meat was dry-cured with coarse pellets of salt, some the size of corn kernels. Corned beef is a popular Sunday brunch item, and of course enjoyed every St. Patrick’s Day. How impressed will your friends be when you invite them over for corned-elk hash with green chilies? Here’s how to corn it, then I’ll tell you how to make the hash.
John McGannon is a RMEF life member, host of wild game cooking seminars at Elk Camp and owner of WildEats Enterprises.
Cure for Corning (Prep five days prior to dinner.)
You need roughly 10 pounds of meat (brisket, bottom or eye rounds work best), but you can use just about any cut of meat, especially if you are going to eventually chop or dice it for hash.
2 quarts cold water
1⁄3 cup salt
1 oz. Insta Cure #1 or curing salt
1.5 oz. honey
2 oz. pickling spice
2 bay leaves
Mix all ingredients to make the brine and submerge the meat in it completely. Cover and refrigerate for five days.
Bouillon for cooking the corned elk
4 quarts water
1 onion, sliced
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 pickling spice
3 tbsp. fresh or 1 tbsp dried garlic
Bring bouillon to a boil. Add the meat and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the meat is fork-tender (approx. 2 hours). Once cooked, remove meat and place on a sheet pan to cool. Take another sheet pan and place it on top of the meat; put something on the pan to weigh it down.
Save the bouillon for cooking the potatoes later in this recipe. After the meat has cooled, you can wrap it tightly and store it in the refrigerator for a week or the freezer for six months. If you’d like to make hash, keep reading.
Corned Elk Hash (yields eight 4-inch patties)
1½-2 lbs, half-inch diced corned elk
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large russet potato, peeled, diced into quarter-inch cubes and slowly cooked in some of the bouillon until just tender. Drain and cool.
2 Anaheim chilies, fire charred, peeled, seeds removed and chopped into small pieces
1⁄3 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. butter/olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients and form into patties the size of hockey pucks, about 1¼-inches thick and 4 inches in diameter. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat; add the butter and olive oil. When the butter foams, add the patties, but don’t move them right away. Allow the outer edges to become golden brown, and then carefully flip with a spatula. Continue until golden brown. If you’re not ready to serve immediately, hold in a warm oven.
Serve this dish with a couple of fried eggs, nice greens or tomato salad and a splash of your favorite barbecue sauce.
Corned elk can also be used for stuffing vegetables (such as cabbage), adding to a sauce for pasta, used as fill for “Irish” tacos or burritos, mixed with mayo or cream cheese and some vegetables for an appetizer spread, or sliced thinly and served on rye bread.
John McGannon is chef/founder of Wildeats Enterprises, a life member of the RMEF, host of popular wild game cooking seminars at the foundation’s Elk Camp and a passionate hunter.