By Josh Boyd
With cool air sweeping across much of the American landscape, and the rut nearing its tipping point, a wealth of whitetail hunters will begin their annual pilgrimage to deer camp. Once there, laughs will be had, stories from years past will be recounted, and many new memories will be made. However, few aspects of such a trip are quite as beloved as that of deer camp cooking.
If you were to ask, most hunters would enthusiastically choose deer camp cooking over any cuisine found at a 5-star restaurant. Many such dishes are simple to prepare, yet robust in taste, and have been passed down from one generation of die-hard whitetail hunters to the next. In most camps, a conglomeration of family recipes are compiled to produce the week’s dinner itinerary, with each hunter being expected to offer up their own savory camp house creation.
If you are looking for the perfect recipe to impress those at deer camp, in the weeks to come, look no further than Venison Cowboy Beans. This is a dish that is just as aptly prepared over a campfire as it is on a stovetop, and is sure to leave every hunter with a full stomach and a grin on their face.
Gather Your Supplies
Before actual cooking can begin, you will need to gather all supplies that are needed. Outside of basic kitchen utensils, much of what must be prepared will center around procuring all of your ingredients.
* 1 pound ground venison
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 1 tsp minced garlic
* 1 pound bacon
* 1- 28 oz can Bush’s Baked Beans
* 1- 15 oz can pinto beans
* ½ cup BBQ sauce
* 1 ¼ cup ketchup
* ½ cup brown sugar
* 1 tsp dry mustard
* Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing the Meat
Begin by selecting an appropriately sized skillet for the browning of your venison. This skillet will be placed on a stovetop burner, set to medium heat. Place your ground venison, chopped onion, and minced garlic into the skillet, carefully breaking apart any notable clumps of venison as cooking commences.
Continue cooking until the venison is adequately browned, and all onion begins to take on a golden appearance. After cooking is complete, drain any remaining grease from the meat, and set it aside.
You will also need to fry your bacon. It is best to cook this bacon until it is slightly crispy in texture, as it will be broken into small pieces for later use.
Assembling Your Dish
With your meat prepared, it is now time to introduce the remainder of your ingredients. Begin by placing a sizable soup pot onto the stove. Place your venison/onion mix and bacon into this pot, while stirring to ensure that all is evenly mixed.
You will now add the baked beans and pinto beans to this meat mixture, again stirring thoroughly. Do not drain either can of beans before introducing them into the pot.
Next, add the ketchup and BBQ sauce into your pot. You will now flavor this dish with brown sugar. However, if you choose to use a sweeter style of BBQ sauce, it might be necessary to reduce the overall amount of brown sugar that is to be added. In this case, add only as required.
Finally, add ground mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir all of these ingredients together and let your mixture simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, allowing all the flavors to blend together.
In absence of a conventional stove, this dish can be simmered over a campfire to achieve the same desirable results.
A Deer Camp Favorite
Whether there are five hunters in camp, or twenty, Venison Cowboy Beans can be scaled to feed any size crowd. Regardless, it is always an excellent idea to prepare Venison Cowboy Beans in a more sizable proportion than what you might expect, as this dish has a way of disappearing at a rapid pace.
This season, do not overlook Venison Cowboy Beans as a must-have dish for deer camp. You will likely find yourself being promoted to camp house chef, after all those in attendance dive into this savory stew.