Pulled Venison with Blueberry BBQ Sauce
Blueberry season seems to have peaked around here, but I’m still enjoying all the berries I stocked up on those few glorious weeks. One day I found myself with about 5 pounds of blueberries and realization that even I couldn’t eat that many. So I thought I’d do something fun for the BBQ we were having: pulled venison sandwiches with blueberry BBQ sauce.
Venison always pairs nicely with berries, and a venison neck roast make for great barbeque. I thought it was potentially a great combination.
I was right.
The venison neck roast is one of three that we still had in the freezer. Now that it’s mid-July, I can stop hoarding all the venison and start cooking it up before hunting season starts again. But the blueberry BBQ sauce is the star of this dish. It’s neither too sweet nor too spicy. With a little jalapeno it has just enough kick to keep things lively, but you wouldn’t know it was there if you didn’t know it was there. This was a nice change of pace for die-hard barbeque lovers.
Recipe: Pulled Venison with Blueberry BBQ Sauce
Summary: Berries pair well with venison, and this is especially true for a summer BBQ sandwich.
- 1 3 to 5 lb venison neck roast
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup minced celery
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño chile, seeded
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons brown mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- For the venison neck roast: pull out your slow cooker and put the neck roast, liquid smoke, wine, salt and pepper, and enough water to cover the meat in it.
- Cook on the low setting for 9 to 12 hours, depending on how large your roast is. You want it to go beyond tough and back to tender again.
- Let the meat cool a little, the slice it thinly. After slicing, chop into smaller, bite size pieces. Put in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the celery and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the ketchup, vinegar, sugar, mustard and Tabasco and bring to a simmer. Add the blueberries and simmer over low heat, stirring until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Let cool for about 5 minutes. Puree the sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Pass through a strainer and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour about half of the BBQ sauce over the venison. You want enough to coat the meat, but you don’t want the meat swimming in it. Save the rest of the sauce for anyone who wants to add more.
- Reheat (I usually reheat it in my small slow cooker because I almost always make this for parties where people will be serving themselves). Serve on a hamburger bun.
You can make the blueberry BBQ sauce a day or two in advance. It will store in the fridge for a week or two. Serve it at room temperature.
Preparation time: 5 minutes (venison), 15 minutes (blueberry BBQ sauce)
Cooking time: 9-12 hours (venison), 20 minutes (blueberry BBQ sauce)
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)
Copyright © Susan Rose.