Corn Your Own Wild Game or Beef for St. Paddy’s Day

February 27, 2019 greg wagner

Blogger’s Note: Since I am receiving requests for recipes and because Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the bend, I am bringing back my blog about corning beef and wild game. I hope you find it informative and have the time to try one of these delicious recipes. I raise my glass to you and exclaim: “Sláinte!” (slawn-cha), which is an Irish Gaelic term meaning “health.” Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! GW.

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the greatest food holidays of all time, in my opinion!

Think about it. Weighty plates of that savory, salty corned beef (all you can eat), scrumptiously moist cabbage, succulent potatoes, ice cold Irish beer, leprechauns, shamrocks and swooning to Irish tenors. What could be better?

A traditional Saint Patrick’s Day meal at the Wagner household — Cabbage, corned beef and potatoes. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The Feast of Saint Patrick comes around every year without fail and I love everything about it because of my deep roots in Irish-American heritage. However, most of us celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with the same old corned beef and cabbage recipe, don’t we?


I figure it is time to switch things up a bit, once again. I think a little twist on the traditional is in order.

Those of you who hunt most likely have some wild game in your freezer, right? Good. Well, I have used three fantastic recipes for corning wild game that you need to try.

You will also note that one of the recipes can be applied to curing your own corned beef at home with a simple, quick process.

Believe me; the luck of the Irish will be with you using these Saint Patrick’s Day recipes!

O’Wagsy’s Quick Corned Meat


3 to 4 lbs. Deer/Elk Shoulder or Round or Beef Brisket (Cut)

1/2 C. Morton’s Tender Quick

1/2 C. brown sugar

2 tbsp. pickling spices (available at most grocery stores)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. ground red pepper

1 tsp. black pepper


With a fork, pierce meat or thick meat slices thoroughly on both sides. Mix Tender Quick, brown sugar and all spices together. Rub mixture onto all sides of meat. Place meat in plastic bag or bowl, pour in remaining spices. You can be bold and add a little blended Irish whiskey or bourbon whiskey in there to give it some zip, too! Seal the bag or cover bowl and refrigerate for 48 hours (more time is even better), turning at least 3 or 4 times during the entire curing process. Use as you would corn beef. Excellent fare!

Greg Wagner of Omaha, NE

Ol’ Wagsy’s Quick Corned Meat Recipe using beef brisket after brining. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Pape’s Famous Corned Wild Game Recipe


4 to 6 lb. Venison Roast or Goose/Duck/Turkey/Pheasant Breasts

5tbl Morton Tender Quick

2tbl brown sugar 

1tbl black pepper 

1tsp paprika

1tsp laurel or (2 bay leaves added during cooking)

1tsp allspice

½tsp garlic powder

1 1/2tsp pickle spice


Mix spices together.  Place meat in Ziplock plastic bags to allow for a single layer of meat.  Add spice mixture to meat in bags and mix so all the meat is coated with spices.  Remove air from bags and seal.  Place in refrigerator for 5 to 7 days (a few days less for small ducks), occasionally turning and mixing contents.  Then remove to crock pot or slow cooker and partially cover with water.  Bring to simmer for 3-4 hours.  Eat sliced on your favorite bread with your favorite cheese, or grind into a salad spread. Relish every bite!

Larry Pape of Lincoln, NE

Pape’s Famous Corned Wild Game Recipe used with Canada goose meat and served in a sandwich. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Simpson’s Lost Island Corned Goose


5 Tbl Spn Mortons tender quick

3 Tbl Spn Brown sugar

1 Tbl Spn Cracked black pepper

1 Tbl Spn Montreal steak seasoning

1 Tsp Paprika 1 Tsp Bay leaves – crushed

1 Tsp Allspice

1 Tsp Garlic powder

1 Tsp Mustard seed 1/8 Tsp Cloves – crushed

1/4 Tsp Cayenne (or more to taste)

1/2 Tsp Coriander – ground


Mix Ingredients. Apply liberally to 4-6 pounds skinless wild goose. (3 breast fillets and 3 leg/thighs are usually about 5 lbs.). Place in Ziploc bag(s). Refrigerate 7-10 days, turning every couple of days. Cooking: Roast in oven like corned beef at 325 degrees for 3-4 hours until tender. Or place in Dutch oven, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours until tender. Add onions, potatoes, and carrots a couple hours before serving if you wish.

Quite good served with creamed cabbage or make Reuben goose sandwiches! Works equally well with other wild game. We enjoy whole, bone-in Venison shoulders. Positively delicious!

Kyle Simpson of Elkhorn, NE

Simpson’s Lost Island Corned Goose Sandwich Recipe with Canada goose meat. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Tips for Brining Meats

  • Use noncorrosive containers and weights such as plastic, glass, stainless, or pickling crocks.
  • Brine strength is expressed as a percentage of salt in proportion to the weight of the brine. Therefore, when you make brine, you measure the salt in relation to the amount of water in the recipe.
  • Estimate 1 quart of brine for every 4-6 pounds of meat (or 30%-50% brine weight per pound of meat; 1 quart of brine weighs 2 pounds).
  • To dissolve salt and sugar more readily, heat half of the quantity of water and dissolve the salt and the sugar completely before adding the remaining liquid.
  • Always chill brine thoroughly before adding the meat.
  • Prepare enough brine to cover meat completely.
  • Cure meat only in the refrigerator (<40°F).
  • Turn or flip over brining meat once or twice daily. Rotation helps meat to cure evenly.
  • Instead of a brine, you could use a dry rub of kosher salt plus many of the spices usually found in a pickling blend. With this method the meat is only given a long submerge in water when it’s cooked, which can produce a nice texture.
  • For wild duck and goose breasts, avid hunter and wild game cook, Janice Spicha, suggests to cut the Morton Tender Quick amount in any recipe by a tablespoon to reduce salt intake and avoid that super-salty taste.

Interesting Facts about Corned Meat

FACT: Corned meat is salt-cured, seasoned product. The term “corned” is an old English term that comes from the treatment or curing of the meat with large grained rock salt, also called “corns” of salt.

FACT: The area of Cork, Ireland was a great producer of corned beef in the 1600’s until 1825. It was their chief export and sent all over the world, mostly in cans. The British army sustained itself on cans of Cork’s corned beef during the Napoleonic wars.

FACT: Corned beef or corned beef brisket is not considered an Irish national dish, and the connection with Saint Patrick’s Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture and is often part of their celebrations in North America. Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish-American immigrants in the mid to late 19th century. In New York City, these immigrants learned from their Jewish butchers’ neighbors about corned beef, which was cheaper and easier to find.

FACT: Abraham Lincoln chose the menu for his first Inaugural Luncheon on March 4, 1861, which was corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.

FACT: Corned meat was popular in the U.S. during both World Wars, when fresh meat was rationed.

FACT: Created at Omaha’s Blackstone Hotel during a high-stakes poker game in the early 1900s, was the Reuben sandwich with steamy corned beef, fresh sauerkraut, bubbly Swiss cheese and creamy Russian (or Thousand Island) dressing.

FACT: The dish, corned beef and cabbage, is known by a variety of names around the world. In the United States around World War I, it was often called Red Mike and Violets, “Red Mike” referring to the time the expedition arrived to corned beef, and “Violets,” referring to cabbage and any other accompanying vegetables

FACT: Frontiersman Daniel Boone knew that without salt you could not cure or preserve meat and venison was tasteless without it. At the time, early in 1778, it took about 840 gallons of Blue Lick spring water in Kentucky to produce a bushel of salt, which was worth about a cow and a half. A fire was built under large kettles and then filled up with the salty spring water. When the water was boiled away, the salt would remain in the kettles to be collected.

FACT: The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition used corning to preserve the meat of deer, elk, bison and other animals it had obtained primarily through hunting. By the time, the expedition arrived at the Pacific Coast its supply of salt for preserving and flavoring was nearly exhausted. So, Lewis and Clark and their fellow explorers extracted salt from seawater by way of evaporation through boiling.

Look at this tender corned beef, mmmm … But, what do we serve with it? Corned beef dinner accompaniments generally include per person: One medium peeled potato, 1/4 head cabbage, 1 large peeled carrot and 1 slice of Irish soda bread. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The post Corn Your Own Wild Game or Beef for St. Paddy’s Day appeared first on Nebraskaland Magazine.

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