The neck has facia layered on top of sinew, on top of ligament and can be a daunting cut to cook. Even when de-boned properly it still looks pretty burly. If you are in an area free of CWD, cut the neck into bone in roasts. Either way, this tough cut is best cooked slow and low.
One of my go-to meals for hunting season is either a neck BBQ sandwich or neck burrito. I will slow cook a big piece, pull the meat from the bone and mix it with either BBQ sauce or salsa then vacuum seal. When I get home from a long day chasing elk, I'll drop one of these pre-mixed bags into boiling water. While it is heating up, I'll get some tortillas or Hawaiian sweet rolls out, chop some fresh onion and have a killer home-made late night meal with very little effort.
Neck Bone-in or De-boned.
- I deer, elk or antelope neck, on or off the bone.
- Oil for browning
- Wine, broth or water to cover
- 1 tbsp Cumin
- 1 tbsp Chile pepper
- 1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp Garlic Salt
- 1 bottle tomatillo salsa
- Lettuce, rice, cabbage, or whatever else you like in your burritos
- Hawaiian Sweet Rolls or Potato Rolls
- 1 Bottle BBQ Sauce
- 2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Peper to Taste
Brown the neck evenly in a skillet, dutch oven, hot grill or the broiler. Place the neck in a dutch oven or slow cooker and cover it with wine, water or broth. Add spices if desired. If using a dutch oven, cook the neck in the oven between 225 and 325 for 4-6 hours or however long it takes to become tender. Leave yourself enough time to check it for desired consistency. If using a slow cooker, use the low setting and allow the neck to simmer for the full cooking cycle.
Once tender, pull the neck meat into pieces that look right for sandwiches, burritos or pasta and then add the sauce of your choice. If you like the meat mix to have a more liquid consistency, add some of the braising broth to the pot. Let this sit for 10 minutes to allow the meat to soak up as much sauce as possible. Build your sandwich, burrito or serve over pasta. This recipe is super easy and way better than hitting the gas station heat lamp during the season.
Ryan Callaghan is the Director of Conservation and PR at FLHQ. You can follow his adventures here.