Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dutch Oven Slow Elk Roast

A friend of mine was in a quandry.  His son had left their garage freezer door opened, and much of the meat stored there had thawed.  He facebooked me and asked if I wanted some elk roasts.  While I felt sorry for his loss, it was about to be my gain!

I picked it up and did some web searching to try and find some good recipe ideas.  Fortunately, there were plenty!

Dutch Oven Slow Elk Roast

12” deep Dutch Oven

20+ coals below

10-12 coals below
12-14 coals above

4-6 lbs elk roast (boneless)
4-6 cloves of fresh garlic, halved
Olive oil to brown the roast
Herbs (sage, rosemary, parsley)

1 cup cranberry juice
2 cups beef stock

1 large onion, quartered
3-6 stalks celery
3-4 carrots
4-6 roma tomatoes
3-4 potatoes, in larger cubes, or a dozen small “baby” potatoes

I started by preparing the meat.  I used a paring knife to cut some deep gashes in the meat, on both sides, and I stuffed the halved garlic cloves in the holes.  Then, I salted and peppered each side, and rubbed on the dried herbs.  I set that aside so the meat could absorb the flavors.

While that was happening, I set some coals on to burn, and when they were white, I put them under the Dutch oven, with a little olive oil in the bottom.

When the Dutch oven and the oil were heated, I laid in the elk roast pieces (there were two), and let them sear on each side. Then, I reset the coals to have some on top and some underneath, as the numbers up above represent.  I added some fresh coals into the chimney, too, to begin heating.  I added in the cranberry juice and the beef stock.  My intent was to keep the internal temperature of the Dutch oven to between 250 and 300, and to roast it and braise it for a long time.  That would tender it up, and the harsh acidity of the cranberry juice would lessen any of the “gamey” flavor.

After about an hour, I chopped up and added the vegetables.  Really, it was pretty simple.  I just kept refreshing the coals.  It was very relaxing.  I cooked it for over three hours.  In between all that, I made an apple pie (which I will post soon).

Every once in a while, I would take a couple of forks and pry at the meat. When it came apart easily, it was done, and I brought it in.  I let it rest with the lid on for a while (with no coals, of course).  While that was resting, I used a basting syringe to pull out the juices, and I got that boiling in my 8” Dutch oven.  I whisked together about 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup water in a bowl and gradually stirred that into the boiling juices, to make a gravy.

It was delicious!  The meat was nice and not gamey at all.

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Utah Book Month Share!

Young Chefs: Cooking Skills and Recipes for Kids
By Christina Dymock

As a part of the Utah Book Month, I get to Spotlight another Utah author and her book, and I’m very excited about it. The author is Christina Dymock and the book is called, “Young Chefs: Cooking Skills and Recipes for Kids”.  As I was perusing her site and the sample pages of her book, it really took me back to helping my own kids learn how to cook.

Those of you who’ve been following the Black Pot here for any length of time know that I haven’t been cooking very long.  Only about 7-8 years.  Which means that when I started, Brendon, my oldest, was only about 9.

Right from the beginning, he was wanting to help me, and he and I cooked together a lot.  My other son, Jacob, has Cerebral Palsy, and so he is often there with me as I cook, but his direct, hands-on involvement isn’t so much as Brendon’s.

Unfortunately, Brendon’s culinary education has been pretty haphazard, as has been my own.  We didn’t really have a well-outlined “curriculum” to help us learn.  This book would have really come in handy that way.  Brendon turned to the world of “Chopped” and “Iron Chef” to learn his techniques.  He and his friends would randomly pull “secret ingredients” from the pantry, give them to each other and challenge them to see who could make the tastiest dish from them.  I was, sadly, often the judge.

But then, there were other hits, like his Dutch oven Creme Brulee, complete with the torch, and the time I came home from a hard day of work to a fully scratch-made apple pie.

I guess, in the kitchen, as in life, there will always be hits and misses.  I just think that with a well-ordered book like this one, with chapters nicely spelled out for main dishes, sides, desserts, breakfasts, and others, with many ideas and pages that teach real skills, there would probably be a lot more hits than misses.

My son loved to experiment with smoothies.  His banana grape mint smoothie is legendary at our house.  Here’s one of Christina’s:

Sunshine Juice
Serves 6


1 Cup milk
1 Cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Cup ice

What You Do:

1 - Put the milk, water, vanilla, orange juice concentrate, sugar and ice in the blender.
2 - Put the lid on tight.
3 - Blend on Low for 1 minute or until the ice is chopped up.
4 - Pour into cups and serve.

Now, seriously, what kid wouldn’t love drinking this and saying, “I made it!”

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.


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