Words and Images from Ed Felker

Game Night 2014

“There’s nothing like a nice piece of Hickory.”

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Last year some friends gathered for an evening of food, drink and fun, with everyone bringing a dish made from wild game acquired over the course of the year. That night was such a success we’ve decided to make it an annual tradition! This year we gathered at my friend Jason’s house, and his smoker added a great new dimension to many of the dishes. Here’s a little tour of the feast!

This marinated venison backstrap was on the smoker for about three hours, cooked to perfection and so incredibly tender it was hard to believe. Fantastic. Don’t ask Jason for the marinade recipe, he won’t give it to you.

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My friend Carolyn told me about this dish and I had to try it. Baked beans mixed with browned ground venison, peppers and onion, baked, then topped with crumbled bacon, drizzled with honey and put in the smoker for 45 minutes.

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Full smoker! Marinated dove breasts, jalapeno poppers filled with shrimp and seasoned cream cheese, then wrapped in bacon, mushrooms stuffed with ground elk meat and cream cheese, and the tenderloin.

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Cheese stuffed beer bread? YES PLEASE! Thank you Anna!

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These are the finished smoked bacon wrapped cheesy shrimp jalapeno poppers. The cream cheese, I’m told, counters the heat in the peppers. Um, no.

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Anna made this incredible mac and cheese. It was delicious and popular, and good to have a dish on the table that wasn’t meat colored.

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I don’t really get tired of marinated bacon wrapped venison tenderloin morsels of awesomeness.

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The finished mushrooms stuffed with elk meat, cream cheese, mushroom and seasonings.

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I actually forgot to try this! Wild turkey breast stuffed with goat cheese and peppers.

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Another view of the perfectly cooked venison tenderloin, marinated and then smoked with hickory. Like butter.

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I took the smoked, marinated dove breasts, wrapped them in puff pastry and baked them for ten minutes or so.

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Anna made this wonderful lemon meringue pie from scratch, in addition to the pie and the amazing beer bread.

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It was a real treat to sample amazing donuts from Front Royal’s Naughty Girls Donut Shop. The story of the shop and the amazing young woman who started it is a great one, and I encourage you to read about it here.

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And in addition to all of the above, we of course had a variety of excellent seasonal beers to enjoy.

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It’s never too early to start planning for next year’s Game Night, either — I’m thinking venison meatball and cheese sliders will be on the menu!

4 Responses

  1. JB

    …Sorry I missed it but thankful for the plate Katie hid for me- – – loaded up with a little bit of every piece of meat. Those morsels of awesomeness I think will be my FOREVER FAVORITE! The tenderloin was certainly cooked to perfection and so tender. Those beans…while I was unsure at first glance, were pretty tasty! Brad’s Elk stuffed mushrooms… mmm a little tooo smokey, but that’s just my opinion, though the seasonings a good mix. haha! As for those jalapeno poppers, after reading your post, I am glad I left them for Brad to eat! Can’t wait for next year’s feast! Bummed I missed the pie- – maybe next year.

    December 14, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    • Dispatches from the Potomac

      I think in hindsight, the soft, porous nature of mushrooms probably made them absorb the smokey flavor a lot more efficiently than, say, a cut of meat. So maybe they would be a candidate for smoking the caps for a short time, then stuffing them, then baking them?

      December 14, 2014 at 9:09 pm

  2. John Shtogren

    Ed:
    The meal and pix look so good–I hate you.
    “Envy” is such an ugly word but so fitting.
    See you in January at VOWA Board. I’ll let you know how the wild game Christmas cassoulet turns.
    John

    December 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm

  3. Carolyn

    Looks like a fabulous feast!. And a ton of fun. Wish I live closer, I’d be in on this feast! Did the baked beans come out good using the smoker?

    December 23, 2014 at 12:41 am

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