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Field To Table: Backcountry Venison Stroganoff

Fuel For The Backcountry

Fall is officially here and many of you are heading into the backcountry for some epic overnight hunting trips. While you may prefer the lovely taste of Mountain House, Backpackers Pantry, or Peak Refuel to keep your hunger at bay - we thought we'd give you some tools to construct your own dehydrated meals using the wild game you may already have in your freezer.

In our opinion, the ultimate backcountry meal should be chalked full of wild game. But in today's market, that’s an impossible task unless you buckle down and make it yourself. This probably sounds like a huge job before getting ready to head out on a hunt, but it’s way easier than you might think. This backcountry venison stroganoff recipe is simple, easy, and will help you get your feet wet, so you can build and experiment with more meals in the future.

This recipe uses mostly dried ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store, but you can also find a ton of freeze dried ingredients on Amazon. Don’t be afraid to play around with different protein sources - dehydrate your own pulled grouse or use packets of cooked tuna - it’s all fair game.

The venison jerky used in this recipe can also double as a great on-the-go snack for the trail, but the flavor is very neutral, and the salt levels are fairly low. This is done purposely so it works best in the stroganoff. If you'd rather your jerky be a better trail snack, go nuts with your jerky flavoring but understand that some flavorings may overtake the meal.

Dehydrated vs. Freeze Dried

A quick side note about “dehydrated” vs “freeze dried” food. Dehydrated meals are cooked meals that have had all the moisture pulled out of them with heat, making it shelf stable for a couple of months. Freeze dried meals, on the other hand, involve pulling out the moisture when the product is frozen through a process called sublimation. The end result is that you can eat freeze dried food without cooking it (Mountain House Mac and Cheese is particularly good if you don't have the patience to boil water).


Makes 1 backpack meal with jerky to spare

Venison Jerky

  • 12 ounces venison meat, cleaned of all fat and silverskin. Hind leg muscles from any cervid will work
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1½ Tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Black pepper

Dry Ingredients

  • 2/3 Cup Orzo. You can substitute any short pasta shape, just be aware that other pastas may take longer to cook and use more of your backcountry fuel
  • 1 Cup Dried mushrooms, packed tightly
  • 4 Tbsp Freeze dried diced onion. Can be found here
  • 1 Tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 Tsp Ground parmesan cheese. This will be fine unrefrigerated for a couple days
  • 2 Tsp Dried Parlsey

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Venison Jerky

  1. Pull the cleaned muscle from the freezer and allow to defrost in the fridge for 1-2 hours. It should still be frozen but will give slightly under the pressure of your thumb.
  2. Slice the muscle 1/4” thick agains the grain. Consistent thickness is key to getting the jerky to cook evenly.
  3. Season the sliced venison with the remaining ingredients and use your hands to work it in to the meat.
  4. Cure the meat for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 175°F with low fan if it has it. If your oven doesn’t go this low, prop the door open slightly and place an oven safe thermometer in the oven to monitor the temperature.
  6. Lay the cured meat slices out on a wire roasting rack with a baking sheet underneath.
  7. Bake the jerky for 2½-3½ hours checking frequently. The jerky should turn a dark mahogany, feel dry, but still be pliable.
  8. Once cooked, pack the jerky into air tight containers. It will hold for 1-2 weeks.

Dry Ingredients

  1. Combine the parmesan and parsley in a small Ziplock bag or re-usable container.
  2. In a larger Ziplock bag or re-usable container, combine the remainder of the ingredients.
  3. Tuck the parmesan packet inside the dry ingredient packet, remove any excess air, and seal.

In the Field

  1. Bring 2½ cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and how ever much jerky you think looks good. Depending on the size of your jerky strips, its worth ripping them into bite sized chunks.
  3. Simmer and stir the mixture for 9 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
  4. Add more water as necessary if it get too thick.
  5. Pull the stroganoff off the heat and mix in the parmesan and parsley mixture.
  6. Enjoy.
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