Venison Nachos with Chocolate Stout Mole

We made a special chocolate stout mole sauce for our smoked pulled venison, covered that with a roasted salsa verde, and laid it all on a bed on homemade dehydrator corn chips. Yes. It is as good as it sounds.

- Ingredients -

Dehydrator Corn Tortilla Chips
6 ears of fresh sweet corn, kernels removed from the cob with a mandoline
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 lb venison (you can use a lesser cut)

Chocolate Stout Mole Sauce
12 oz chocolate stout (We used Brooklyn Black Chocolate, but there are plenty of good options)
8 oz dark chocolate
2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon beef stock
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Roasted Salsa Verde
6 tomatillos, shells and stems removed
6 small serrano peppers
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 small red onion
Chihuahua cheese
sour cream (option)

- Tools -
Food Processor
Weston Dehydrator
Weston Smoker
Weston Manual Kitchen Kit

Dehydrator Corn Tortilla Chips

Use a food processor to blend together the corn and oil to a thin paste.

Place a piece of parchment paper over a dehydrator tray. Spread the paste 1 inch thick on the parchment paper. There should be enough paste for two trays. Sprinkle with the salt and paprika.

Dehydrate at 140°F for 8 hours, or until dry and crispy.

Chocolate Stout Mole

Bring all ingredients, except the chocolate and stock, to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the chocolate and beef stock. Remove from heat.


Preheat your smoker to 180-200°F. Fill the water bowl and soak your wood chips.

Place the venison into a foil pan, and brush with one quarter of the mole sauce. Fill the bottom of the pan with an inch of water. 

Fill the wood chip box of your smoker and smoke the venison for 4 hours. Reduce the smoker temp to 150
°F and smoke another 2-4 hours, until the venison falls apart. Be sure to add water to the bottom of the foil pan if it goes dry.

Roasted Salsa Verde

Roast the tomatillos, serranos, and garlic on a baking sheet with your oven turned to broil at 550°F. Roast 10 minutes or until the tomatillos have blackened tops.

Place all ingredients into your Kitchen Kit to chop until well blended.


Bring your oven back down to 350°F.

Chop the red onion in the Kitchen Kit, then set aside. 

Shred the chihuahua cheese, if needed, with the mandoline attachment to your Kitchen Kit. 

Break the sheets of dehydrated corn into triangles. Assemble the nachos by creating a bed of corn chips over an oven safe dish. Use two forks to shred the venison. Layer the pulled venison, mole, and chihuahua cheese. Place into the oven 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Ladle the salsa verde over the nachos, and sprinkle the red onions on top.


Carrot Fries with Dill Yogurt Sauce

These guys are a refreshing take on French fries. With just the right amount of natural sweetness, carrots make for a sweet potato-type flavor that's still uniquely their own. Combine that with the savory blend of yogurt, olive oil, pepper, dill, and cumin, and you have your new favorite side dish or appetizer.

Serves 2-4

- Ingredients -

Carrot Fries
3 large carrots
1 cup coconut oil

12 oz plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh dill
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
1 dill sprig for garnish

- Tools -
Weston French Fry Cutter 

Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat.

Peel the skin from your carrots and cut them in half. Use a French Fry Cutter (we use a 3/8" cutting blade) to slice the carrots into fries.

Weston French Fry Cutter & Vegetable Dicer

Fry carrot fries in coconut oil for 15 minutes, or until browned and crisp.

Mix together the yogurt, dill, and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the top, then sprinkle with cumin and a dash of pepper. Finish with a sprig of dill.

Once the fries are ready, use tongs to remove from the oil and place onto napkins or paper towels draped over a bowl. Toss to remove excess oil. Serve the fries while they're hot, with the yogurt sauce.

Cleveland Remakes: Venison Bánh Mì (Jack Flaps)

Weston is located in foodie heaven - aka Cleveland, OH. C-town may have a less than sparkling reputation: terrible winters, unlucky history in sports, a burning river - we're sure you've already watched our tourism video, so no need to go on. All of that is more than made up for by our rockin' food scene: home to a ton of ethnic diversity, well-known chefs, and excellent restaurants.

So we decided to take advantage of  this by paying tribute to some of our favorite dishes in the land of Cleve. This recipe is modeled after a phenomenal Breakfast Bánh Mì that can be found at Jack Flaps in Ohio City. If you're ever visiting Cleveland, be sure to stop in and partake in the real thing. 

Ours is different, of course, because we made the Vietnamese Sausage from venison. We also topped ours with some peppers we had marinating in tequila for the past couple of months. And the kimchi is our own version. Otherwise, this is a pretty good doppelganger for the Jack Flaps Breakfast Bánh Mì.

Makes 12 sliders

- Ingredients -

Vietnamese Sausage
1 ½ lbs venison, cubed
4 star anise, crushed*
1 teaspoon whole cloves*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
2 teaspoons fennel seeds*
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper*
*you could instead substitute 3 tablespoons of Chinese Five Spice - we like to make our own
small handful fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon pink salt
3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 head napa cabbage
1 daikon radish
ginger root - slice off 10 coins with the mandoline
6 sprigs green onions
1 ½ tablespoons sambal oelek
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Tequila Marinated Peppers
Get the recipe here
(you can also substitute store bought pickled jalapeños)

12 eggs
baguette or ciabatta
whipped cream cheese
fresh cilantro

- Tools -
Weston Mandoline
Weston Vacuum Canister + Sealer
Weston Meat Grinder
Weston Slider Press

Prepare the kimchi

Use a mandoline to shred the cabbage (discard the root) and slice the radish & ginger thinly.

Chop the ginger and scallions. Place the cabbage shreds into a large non-reactive bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt. With a wooden spoon, toss the cabbage to distribute the salt evenly, then mash the cabbage with the spoon for about five minutes. The cabbage will leak, which is what you want. Toss with remaining kimchi ingredients, then transfer to a vacuum sealer canister. Use a vacuum sealer to seal the canister. Refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

Vacuum Sealer Canister filled with kimchi, attached to our new Pro 1100 Vacuum Sealer

Quick kimchi - traditionally, kimchi is fermented over a longer period of time, however our vacuum canisters help the process along, so you can enjoy it in hours. 

Prepare the sausage

Grind the venison through the coarse plate of your meat grinder. Hand mix the ground venison with all of the sausage ingredients, except the fish sauce. Grind the meat through the medium plate, then grind half of that through the fine plate. Mix together all of the meat and pour in the fish sauce. Mix well.

Use a Slider Press to press the sausage blend into patties.

In a skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until it's lightly browned on both sides.

Bánh Mì

While the sausage cooks, fry the eggs (careful not to break the yolks - unless you're no fun and like over hard eggs).

Lay out the bread, spread cream cheese over the top half, put a couple of sprigs on cilantro over  that, then some of the pickled peppers. On the bottom half, place a couple scoops of kimchi.

Tequila-marinated peppers

Once the sausage is ready, place the patties on the bottom halves of the bread, cover each patty with a fried egg, then place the top bun over that.


Christmas Ale Meatball Sliders

These meatballs taste like Christmas — no joke. That's why they make a perfect Christmastime appetizer... that you'll want to indulge in all year thereafter.

Makes 6 sliders

- Ingredients -

1 lb tomatoes (we recommend grape or Campari® tomatoes)
6 oz Christmas Ale (we use Great Lakes in these parts)
½ cup double concentrated tomato paste
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 lb venison, cubed
(also works with other wild game and/or your usual meatball mix, i.e. pork, veal...)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon toasted fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon sage
¼ teaspoon oregano

Ciabatta sandwich rolls, sliced open
basil leaves (optional)

- Tools -
Weston Meat Grinder
Weston Tomato Strainer

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Use a Tomato Strainer to puree your tomatoes (and remove the skins). Pour the puree into a medium saucepan with the remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then turn down to low to simmer, covered.

Grind the venison through the coarse plate of your Meat Grinder. Hand mix with the remaining meatball ingredients, then run through the medium plate.

Form the ground meat into balls and simmer on medium in a covered saucepan filled with 2 oz of Christmas Ale. Turn the meatballs every few minutes until they're browned on all sides - about 10 minutes.

Place the ciabatta rolls into the oven and place a slice of havarti on one side of each roll. Once the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes, cut your meatballs in half and place two halves onto each roll. Smother in Christmas Ale and close the sliders. Serve hot.

Tip Tuesday: 5 Handmade Gifts for the Holidays

Surprisingly easy to make and the gift recipient will be seriously impressed. Use a pasta machine to make your noodles, lay them out to dry, wrap 'em up, and gift them. 

Our recipe recommendation: Red & Green Holiday Pasta

Jerky makes a great gift for meat lovers, especially since you can make it in hours. Slice it, season it, throw it in a dehydrator. Wrap it up, tie it with twine, and hand it over. They'll think it's a really big effort and you don't have to tell them otherwise.

Our recipe recommendation: Cardamom Clove Jerky 

Dry Cured Sausages
So this one is a little more time consuming, and you'll need 2-4 weeks, so if you're not seeing them until after the holidays, this is a good one. But get to work now. You'll need a sausage stuffer and a basement. 

Our recipe recommendation: Dry Cured Salami

Jam is something everyone likes, and bonus! It's not hard to make. You can make it in 10 minutes, let it set for a few more, put a lid on the jar, and gift it. If you want to can it for longer term use, that will be an extra half hour, and you'll need a canning kit.

Our recipe recommendation: Clementine Marmalade

Wine or Cider
Another more time-consuming, huge payoff project. Different wines and ciders take different amounts of time. We especially recommend making a cider because in our experience, it only took a couple weeks until it was ready to bottle (but make sure it's ready - you don't want your gift to explode). In particular, a nice Pear Cider is perfect for the holidays. If you don't have a wine press, you could easily use our tomato strainer for smaller batches. 

Our recipe recommendation: Hard Pear Cider

Butternut Squash Cannelloni with a Weston Pasta Machine

This cannelloni is equal parts savory and sweet. Between the squash, cranberries, caramelized onions, sage, Parmesan, and walnuts, it makes for a really well-balanced dish. Give it a try!

Makes six to eight 6-inch cannelloni

- Ingredients -

2 cups flour
3 eggs
fresh sage leaves

1 butternut squash (with the seeds & skin)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
dash black pepper
sprinkle kosher salt

1 small yellow onion, sliced with a Mandoline
1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/8 cup sugar

chopped caramelized walnuts

1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Parmesan for sprinkling

- Tools -
Weston Pasta Machine
Weston Cone Strainer

Pasta Dough
Make a mound of flour in a large mixing bowl. Dig a well into the center. Break the eggs into the center. Use a fork to mash the flour into the well until you have a uniform ball of dough. Let rest 30 minutes, covered in plastic wrap.

Butternut Squash
In a large saucepan, melt the tablespoon of butter over high heat, then pour in the butternut squash. Sprinkle with sugar, salt & pepper. Turn the squash a few times, until browned on the outside. Transfer the squash into a medium pot (leave any liquid in the saucepan), pour in about 1/4 cup of water, and simmer over medium heat, covered for 30 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure there is still liquid at the bottom.

Pasta Sheets
While the squash simmers, prepare the pasta. Use a Pasta Machine to roll the pasta dough out to the medium setting. On the same setting, roll the dough into the machine just a centimeter. Dab a little water or egg wash onto a spot on the dough and place a sage leaf there. Turn the handle to press the sage into the pasta. Continue until the sheet of dough is covered in sage leaves. Run the dough through one last time on the next thinnest setting. Cut the dough sheet into about 6" x 6" pieces. Allow to dry flat.

Caramelized Onions
In the same saucepan you used to brown the squash, pour in the ingredients for the caramelized onions. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Set aside.

In the same saucepan, pour in about 2 oz of water with your cranberries and sugar. Heat over medium heat until the cranberries pop and become soft. Stir occasionally. Set aside.

Caramelized Walnuts
You can purchase caramelized walnuts at some markets, or make your own. To make your own, dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 1/4 cup water over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once the liquid becomes thick and syrupy, remove from heat. Pour over chopped walnuts in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly.  Lay out over a lined baking sheet to dry, or toast in the oven for quicker drying.

Butternut Squash
When the squash is soft enough to easily mash, use a Cone Strainer & Pestle Set to  mash the squash and separate it from its skin and seeds (the squash will be in the bowl below it, the skin and seeds will stay in the cone strainer).

Once the pasta sheets have dried, bring a pot of water to a boil, and drop in the pasta. Allow to boil 3-6 minutes, until the sheets are soft and flexible.

Brown Butter Sauce
While the pasta boils, heat the 1/2 cup of butter in your saucepan over high heat. Once browned, remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When the noodles are ready, coat a glass baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Place a pasta sheet into it, fill it with the squash, cranberries, caramelized onions, and walnuts, then roll it up.

Repeat with remaining cannelloni. Smother in brown butter sauce (reserve half of it), sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake at 375°F for 15-30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

Keep the remaining butter sauce warm on the stove. Once the cannelloni is ready, cover with the remaining sauce, sprinkle with more parm and caramelized walnuts, and serve.

Venison Italian Sausage Fatty with a Weston Smoker

- Ingredients -

2 lbs venison (good recipe to use up your trim)
8 tablespoons Weston Mild Italian Sausage Tonic

Fresh Tomato Sauce
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 oz double concentrated tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup ricotta cheese
shredded Locatelli Romano
sandwich pepperoni
fresh mozzerella
fresh basil leaves

- Tools -
Weston Meat Grinder
Weston Fruit & Tomato Press
Weston Smoker + woodchips that have been soaked at least 30 minutes

Prepare the sauce ahead of time. Use your Tomato Press to press the grape tomatoes. Pour the puree into a small sauce pot with the rest of the sauce ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer on low until thick.

Use your Meat Grinder to grind the venison. Grind it through the coarse plate, then mix it with the Italian Sausage Seasoning. Grind half of it through the medium plate, then half of that through the fine plate (so that you have 1/3 of each grind). Hand mix,

Spread the meat out over a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper, plastic wrap, or butcher paper of the meat and use a rolling pin to roll the ground meat out to 1/4 inch.

Spread ricotta cheese over the center third of the ground meat. Spread the tomato sauce on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle with Romano. Fold the pepperoni in half and cover the center third with it, then top with slices of fresh mozzarella. Top with lots of fresh basil leaves. Roll the meat and close off the roll at the ends.

Smoke the sausage fatty in your preheated Smoker at 150 degrees for two hours, or until the meat reaches 160.

Serve hot.

Concord Grape Wine with a Weston Tomato Strainer

Makes 1 gallon

- Ingredients -

4 lbs concord grapes
sugar (the amount will depend on your inital reading)
red wine yeast
yeast nutrient
sodium metabisulfite or campden tablets
pectic enzyme

- Tools -
Weston Tomato Strainer with Grape Spiral
Sanitized 1 gallon or larger bucket
Hydrometer w/ Test Tube
Sanitized 1 Gallon Carboy

Use your Tomato Strainer with the grape spiral & standard screen to juice the concord grapes. It's a good idea to run them through the strainer a few times to extract as much of the juice as possible.

Pour the juice into a bucket, then pour some of the juice into the hydrometer test tube (until the hydrometer floats).

Measure the potential alcohol content of your juice (note that temperature of the must is important). Add .125 lbs of sugar per each brix you wish to raise your wine. Ours was 1.060 (7.8%, 15° brix) and we wanted to raise the content to 11.8% (1.090, 22° brix). That's .875 lbs of sugar/gallon to be added. After fully dissolving the sugar, measure the gravity again and record. For help with using a hydrometer, we recommend

Add metabisulfite or campden tablets to your concord grape juice according to the directions on the package. Cover with cheesecloth and allow to sit 24 hours.

Add yeast nutrient & pectic enzyme after the juice has sat 24 hours. Follow the directions on the yeast packet to pitch your yeast. Let the fermentation begin with the cheesecloth over the bucket in a warm area (65-75°F) for 3 days.

After 3 days, siphon the wine into your carboy. If the concord grape juice doesn't make it to the top of the jug (with 1" headspace) top off with some red wine or distilled water. Close off the carboy with a stopper and airlock.

Allow to ferment until the airlock stops bubbling, at least a month. After aging for a month or longer in the carboy, rack the wine into bottles and allow to age for another month up to a year before drinking.

Smoky Venison Stew with Herbed Pasta

This venison stew recipe is packed with flavor. From the broth, to the venison, to the pasta - every element is needed to perfect this ultra savory dish.

- Ingredients -

Venison bones (about a pound)
2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
1 carrot
1 large shallot
2 garlic cloves, smashed
¼ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup red wine
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dry crushed rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sage

1 lb venison
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

3 red potatoes
1 carrot
1 large shallot
1 handful kale

- Tools -
Weston Cone Strainer
Weston Pasta Machine with Lasagnette Cutter
Weston Smoker
Weston French Fry Cutter & Dicer


Roast the venison bones in the oven at 400°F until browned.

Transfer the bones into a stock pot and pour in the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 6-8 hours.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 2 hours. Use a Cone Strainer to separate the bones & veggies from the broth. Keep the broth simmering.


While the broth simmers, prepare your pasta (you can do this a day before).

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, then form them into a mound. Dig a well into the center with your fingers, then break the egg into the center. Use a fork to mash the dry ingredients into the egg until the pasta dough forms.

Use a Pasta Machine to roll the dough into sheets, then use a Pasta Cutting Attachment to form your noodles. We used our Lasagnette Attachment, then twisted the noodles to make spirals. Let the noodles air dry.


Preheat your Smoker to 200°F, fill the water bowl, and soak your wood chips for at least 30 minutes.

Coat the outside of your piece of venison completely with a mixture of the pepper and garlic. Sear in a hot skillet for a minute on each side (until browned).

Smoke the venison for 2 hours.

Once smoked, allow the venison to rest.


Use a Weston French Fry Cutter & Vegetable Dicer with the ½" blade to chop the carrot, potatoes, and shallot. Place the veggies into the simmering broth.

Finish it off

Cook the pasta in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, until al dente, then add it to the stew.

Cube the venison and drop it in. Finally, rip the kale into smaller pieces, mix into the stew, then serve.