By: Heath Wood
Over the years, I would frown at anyone who ate venison any other way than deep-fried. From the harvesting of my first deer as a young teenager until a few years ago, I have always cooked deer in a cast iron pot, deep-frying it in a bath of vegetable oil. Although it is delicious, I never realized what I was missing out on by forgoing other recipes and methods of cooking one of my favorite meats.
As I think back on my past of preparing venison, I am a bit confused with myself as to why I had such a one-track mind on this matter. Especially since one of my wife and I’s favorite things is trying different types of food wherever our travels take us. Even with an open mind and a curiosity to try different foods, I still refused to try any other method of cooking venison, that is until I had a good friend introduce me to smoked venison. His take on preparing it was slicing the meat into small steaks, adding a square piece of red onion, then wrapping it in bacon, sprinkled with seasoned salt, and smoking it for a couple of hours on his pellet smoker. The taste of these bite-sized snacks has changed my way of thinking.
After being introduced to smoked venison a few years ago, I experimented with several different recipes that include this delectable meat. I was in search of something that would create a flavor explosion after taking a bite when I came across a flavor profile combining an Italian style meatball with wild game that is exquisite.
One of my favorite ways to cook is on my Camp Chef Pellet Smoker. The ease of cooking at home in the backyard, at deer camp in the fall, or while camping during the summer has instilled in me an obsession with the wood-fired smoke taste that pellet smokers deliver. With that being said, it was not hard to determine that the venison meatball recipe that I concocted would best be cooked on my Camp Chef Pellet Smoker.
What you will need:
- 4 Pounds Of Ground Venison
- 2 Eggs
- 3 tbsp Fresh Parsley
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Dried Basil
- ½ Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 8 oz Cream Cheese
- 3-4 Diced Jalapeños
- 1 Package Of Bacon
- Seasoned salt or your favorite type of seasoning
Combine venison, eggs, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, dried basil, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper and mix until well incorporated.
Mix cream cheese and diced jalapeños in a separate bowl.
Roll meat into a ball slightly less than the size of a tennis ball.
Create a hole in the middle of the meatball and stuff it with a tablespoon of the cream cheese and jalapeño mixture, cover the hole back up with meat.
Wrap a slice of bacon around the meatball and hold it together by inserting a toothpick.
Once all meatballs are assembled, sprinkle seasoned salt or favorite seasoning over them.
Makes approximately 28 to 30 meatballs the size of a baseball once they have been stuffed and wrapped.
How To Cook:
Pre Heat your Traeger Pellet Smoker to 375 degrees, I use the Traeger Homestead 520 square inch, wood-fired smoker. For this recipe, I use the Traeger Oak wood pellets; they seem to have the perfect flavor for this specific cook. After the smoker has reached the desired temperature, place meatballs directly on grill grates, spreading them out evenly. Smoke approximately 35 to 40 minutes or until meatballs are well done, leaving no pink color to the meat. After pulling meatballs off the smoker, let them rest for five minutes then enjoy.