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Medieval Camping Food: Roast Venison and Veg

Good morning! I am home again after a jolly weekend of medieval camping with dear friends.

I have heaps of stories and recipes and pictures to share with you over the next week or so, but today I’ll start with my favorite meal of the weekend: fire-roasted venison.

Our friends Greg and Steff are hunters and gave us a beautiful deer for our medieval camping trip. Part of the rules for participating in these gatherings is that everything, from utensils and clothing to recipes and menus, must be authentic to the medieval time period we represent. Since our group is 12th century, that means spit-roasted meats, hearty stews, flat breads, and all sorts of dried fruits and nuts.

At past encampments we’ve roasted goat or pork, so venison was a real treat.

We started by slicing up heaps of garlic, chunks of salty pork fat, and fragrant bundles of fresh rosemary. We made incisions all over the venison and inserted these flavorful little nuggets. Since venison is a wild meat, it can get quite tough, so tucking in bits of pork fat adds much-needed moisture with the added bonus of even more great flavor.

Once Neil got the venison prepared and on the spit, Ann, Stacey, and I set to chopping root veggies for a thick veggie stew. Turnips, parsnips, tubers, carrots – they all went in to a big cast iron pot to simmer over the fire.

Then came the hard bit – turning the spit. The venison takes about four hours to cook through and must be turned continuously to prevent charring or raw bits. No one can crank the spit for four solid hours, so we take turns.

It’s pleasant sort of work, not riveting or difficult, and you fall into a kind of peaceful, dozy trance as you turn, turn, turn. I loved watching the public as their eyes fell on the spit. They were entranced! Especially the little boy below. I don’t know how long he stood there, mesmerized by the roasting deer and the crackling flames.

Needless to say, the slow roasting meat smells AMAZING!! We never can wait until it’s completely finished before we start sneaking over with our medieval knives to slice off a piece of meat.

Oh my.

The roast venison surpassed all our expectations. It was tender, moist, and absolutely bursting with flavor. It was especially good when you bit down into chunks of roasted garlic and crispy rosemary. Yum!!

After the public went home, we gathered round the fire with Aussie beers, shooting the breeze while we waited for the venison to be well and truly done.

Then we gathered around the long wooden table and ate bowl after bowl of savory veggies and tender, smoky venison, washed down with earthenware cups of homemade mead.

Soon darkness fell and the stars came out and one by one we ambled off to our tents to sink into the deep sleep that only comes when you’ve worked hard, eaten well, and are sleeping in the fresh air.

What is your favorite memory from your weekend?

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Nora Moore - That sounds like it would be a lot of fun. I’ve never done a spit roast before. I’ll bet it was really tasty. Rotisserie has always been one of my favorite ways to eat meat.

Nora Moore | http://www.victoriangoldenroast.com.au/menus/spit-roasts-catering

Beth Hill - Your pics are so lovely! And garments as well. I want to go to there. =-)

Krista - Aren’t those lanterns the best, @breannemosher:disqus ? I absolutely love them. 🙂

Krista - Oh that is brilliant, @7ad3d641c6a7c3692a01ef0360df2864:disqus 🙂 Bear and I are actually hoping to have a medieval wedding too. I would love it if you could be there. 🙂

Krista - Isn’t it crazy and nerdy and so fun, @71eb07213759ab4e5611e1dd9f1df8a7:disqus ? 🙂 I really do love it and am looking forward to our next adventure in July. 🙂

Krista - They are a lovely bunch, @TuulaR:disqus , such good friends and comrades. 🙂

Krista - It is beautiful close to the coast, @4051406338aaef5dd8bf9775f8ab662d:disqus , but quite cold inland. 🙂 Yeah, I wouldn’t want to live back then for anything, but it’s super fun to pretend for a few days. 🙂

Krista - Yes! Homemade mead. 🙂 I’ve made it before and it’s really not that difficult. But it sure is scrumptious! 🙂

Krista - No, dear @GlobalButterfly:disqus , I can NOT picture you camping. 🙂

Breanne Mosher - Oh my heavens!! That sounds amazing, and those pictures!!! Woah! I love the lanterns. And I can’t wait to hear more stories. We went camping last week as well but stayed in this century. ;-p

Fiona - One of my favourite weddings ever was a friend’s medieval camping wedding. They had the roast over the fire and both of the couple had created banners to represent their families. It was an amazing experience! It makes me smile to think of your weekend.

Jamie - This is wild! Medieval camping – who would have thought? But I love that you cooked the way they did in Medieval times, what an experience and a great learning experience. And the venison wow! I’ll bet it was great! You have such incredible adventures!

History Alive 2013, Part One - […] at camp Fang, Duke, Piper, and Yliana were organizing preparations for cooking a deer on the spit and chatting with passersby about anything related to our 12th Century trader […]

Viking Tea, Hungarian Beads, and A Medieval Breakfast » Rambling Tart - […] of my favorite parts of medieval camping is waking up before sunrise while nearly everyone else is still […]

TuulaR - Looks like tons of fun Krista, what a great group to hang out with… and love the idea of cooking au naturelle 🙂

Velva- Tomatoes on the Vine - Very cool! No doubt the weather is pleasant. I could not imagine living in the 12th century although fire roasted meats would be delicious.

mlleparadis - really? homemade mead? this looks like a scream. (except for the little boy who looks like he wanted to scream – a go home to his x-box!) thanks for sharing what looks like a great time. we are digging your 12th c. outfit too! xoxo


Andi Perullo - Not my kinda thing, but you sure make camping look a heck of a lot more glamorous!!!

Krista - Oh @disqus_2yjJojmJOE:disqus , that sounds absolutely magical! 🙂 What a fantastic way to spend an evening. 🙂

Krista - They are the best, @d58b26e263bfdbd99d844b965c5cbbfb:disqus 🙂 I love them dearly. 🙂

Krista - Ohhhh, I love your weekend project, @tanyalloyd:disqus ! How fun to dream and plan together. 🙂

Krista - It is so very fun, @kitchenmagpie:disqus 🙂 It makes me smile just thinking about it. 🙂

Krista - Thanks, @bc700f7a2dff994b6fd7a151d97f18ce:disqus 🙂 It was absolutely splendid. 🙂 Just what I needed.

Krista - Oh my word, @budgetjan:disqus 🙂 I’d have been scurrying up that embankment so fast!!! Seeing a croc in the wild is one Aussie adventure I am VERY willing to forgo. Yipes! 🙂 But, truth be told, it would be rather exciting too. 🙂 Love your adventurous spirit! 🙂

Krista - Thank you, @OrgasmicChef:disqus 🙂 It was absolutely delicious. 🙂

Krista - Would you believe the guys make their own chain mail, @ken_powell:disqus ? They’re clever chaps. 🙂

Krista - Thank you, @joanneeatswellwithothers:disqus 🙂 It was marvelous and inspiring and exhausting and fun. 🙂

Krista - That is my favorite Aussie meal too, @inspiringtravellers:disqus !! 🙂 We’ll be making it in a few weeks and I cannot wait. 🙂

Andrea and John - Mmmm – there is nothing like slow roasted meat…one of my fav Aussie meals is a roasted pig on a spit that John’s dad makes when we visit. Delicious!

Joanne (eats well with others) - I love how much fun you guys had!! Sounds like a blast.

Ken Powell - The little boy in the hoodie looks a bit doubtful. As for the chain mail – definitely belongs in Henry VIII’s England 🙂

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - Wow, I was expecting beautiful photographs but not this. What a weekend and that spit roasted venison must have tasted so good.

budgetjan - What a great week-end you had. We went exploring and fishing with a couple of friends. We both took our tinnies (small aluminium boats) and found a creek in our 4WD’s. We caught a few black bream, saw a croc and had to drag the boats up a steep muddy incline to get out. Normally we would have waited for the tide to come in and make the exit easier, but didn’t want to be sitting in the creek in the dark with the croc! Fun times.

Jackie - I just loved this post Krista, what a cracker of a weekend. 🙂

kitchenmagpie - This is just about the neatest thing I have ever read! What fun that must be!

Tanya Lloyd - Your post leaves me mesmerised and dreamy – I feel as though I am right there! My favourite memory from the weekend was creating a vision board with my other half for the next exciting chapter of our lives together – previewing the yet to unfold possibilities never looked so good. x

Margaret | DestinationHere&Now - Dancing Saturday night away under the sails of the Sydney Opera House, with the whole harbour exploding with colour for the second last night of the Vivid festival. A long way from the 12th century 🙂

bellini - It just sounds like such a fun group to belong to Krista. I will look forward to your stories.

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