Last season, as we try to do every year, editors and staff at Game & Fish magazines went on a deer-hunting trip to spend time together and chronicle our experiences. In this article, Terry Jacobs shares his deer camp dinner recipe for venison Dutch oven spaghetti.
One of the best aspects of our hunt was the chance for all of us to camp together. For the most part, deer hunting itself is a solitary pursuit.
But the camping -- and cooking -- at the end of the day involved good food and a great chance to compare notes over the course of the three-day hunt.
Cooking and eating together was a high point of the evenings. Luckily for us, one of our crew, Terry Jacobs, loves to cook and is pretty good at it. (See his complete dinner recipe for venison Dutch oven spaghetti below.)
Most of the rest of us would never consider making a pasta dish for a deer camp meal, but a solid contingent of Terry's family are Italian Americans, so pasta took its turn with more traditional grilled meals.
Turns out, good pasta is great.
At the end of the day, talking around the camp table and the fire gave us time to plan the next day's hunt. Because we had spread out over a wide area, we could exchange information about conditions (unusually warm, and dry, with many area streams little more than isolated pools of water) and habitat (very little soft mast, but enormous quantities of hard mast in the form of acorns everywhere).
Venison Dutch Oven Spaghetti Dinner Recipe
Recipe by: Terry Jacobs
Make this venison Dutch oven spaghetti recipe for a great cap to a day of deer hunting with friends and family at camp.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
- 1 pound ground venison (can substitute beef or Italian sausage)
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 pack of white mushrooms
- 1 bell pepper (any color)
- 1 (20-ounce) jar of pasta sauce
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pound of your favorite pasta
- Olive oil
- 1 loaf of any bread
- 1 stick of butter
- Garlic powder
- Place your Dutch oven over hot even coals. A Dutch oven is preferred to make the sauce because you will be cooking over an open fire.
- Add ground venison and cook until browned. If using beef or Italian sausage, you should drain the grease. Venison is so lean there will be no need to drain.
- Once meat is cooked, add vegetables and cook until tender.
- Add pasta sauce and spices to taste.
- Stir everything together and then place the Dutch oven lid on top and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Next, make the pasta (the easy part). Just boil water in a separate pot and add a little salt for taste.
- Add pasta and cook to desired tenderness. After draining, toss with butter or olive oil.
- Lastly, make the garlic bread. Spread butter over one side of bread, then sprinkle the buttered side with garlic powder. Gently wrap bread in foil and place on indirect coals. Check periodically until cooked to a golden brown. Cooking time may vary depending on the heat from your fire.
- After the sauce is complete, serve over pasta. Dip garlic bread in sauce and enjoy a home-cooked dinner that's different from grilling or frying while deer hunting.