- Associated Press - Sunday, December 27, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - People kept telling Carville Holmes that his recipe for corned venison was delicious.

In fact, so many people praised the venison he shared with them that he decided to market a mix so folks could make it for themselves.

“I’ve been told I’m a pretty good cook,” said Holmes, a stonemason from the little Roane County town of Looneyville. “I’d been making this for several years. People who tried it said they’d seen venison fixed a lot of ways, but they’d never thought about corning it.”

Holmes’ recipe for corning deer meat was born of necessity. Like many avid deer hunters, Holmes enjoyed cooking the venison he brought home from the field. He had no trouble preparing “backstraps” and other tender cuts, but struggled to figure out what to do with some of the tougher cuts.

As he pondered what to do with those cuts, he thought about corned beef and realized the same process could be applied to deer meat. He started experimenting, and soon came up with a brine mixture that tenderized the meat and gave it the proper flavor.

“I wanted to stick with something like your grandfather might have done when he prepared ham,” Holmes said. “The recipe I came up with was good and it didn’t have any chemicals in it.”

Holmes’ recipe is a mixture of salt, sugar, pickling spice, bay leaves, black peppercorns, garlic, and soybean oil. Tasty Blend Foods of Fraziers Bottom blends and packages it for him.

“They’re the folks who make the Teays Valley Biscuit Mix and several other mixes,” he said. “They had the expertise and the equipment, so I went with them.”

The procedure for using the mix is pretty straightforward:

Stir the contents of each one-pound bag into two quarts of water and bring it to a boil. Let the mix cool. Cover 10 to 12 pounds of flat-cut meat - no thicker than 2 inches - with the brine mix in a non-metal container. Refrigerate for seven days, stirring daily. At the end of seven days, rinse the spices off the venison. Simmer the meat in fresh water for 2?1/2 to 3?1/2 hours until it is cooked thoroughly.

“Once the meat is treated, you can cook it, can it or freeze it - whatever you’d like to do,” Holmes said. “It’s a good thing. We have a pretty good recipe here.”

The mix, marketed as Carville’s Corned Venison Mix became available to the public in November. Holmes said a few Kroger’s stores are carrying the product as well as “a few places in Spencer, one in Williamstown and one in Clay County.”

Perhaps the highest-profile store to offer the mix is the West Virginia Marketplace in Charleston’s Capitol Market. The one-pound packets retail for $5.95.

“If people can’t find it in stores, they can always order it from my website, www.carvillescornedvenison.com,” Holmes said.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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