Venison Hot Pot Recipe: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Looking for a super simple way to enjoy a communal meal of venison around a camp stove? Hot pot can be as simple or extravagant as you want, but it's a sure-fire recipe for warming up.

Venison Hot Pot Recipe: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Paper plates and disposable chop sticks are cheap and easy to pack. Plus, the wooden chop sticks don’t heat up as much as metal utensils would when held in simmering soup. Photo: Mike Schoblaska

Inspired by an episode of MeatEater where Steve Rinella is hunting with a couple buddies during the Fortymile caribou migration, I recently tried a new recipe while on an overnight trip ice fishing for whitefish in Green Bay, Wisconsin. If you’re the least bit skeptical of your cooking skills, fear not. This barely qualifies as a recipe and, if you can boil water and count to 10, you can enjoy hot-pot cooking.

Step 1

The main ingredient in this concoction is the soup base. In the average hot pot restaurant, you may have five to 10 different flavors of soup to choose from. I only know that from watching YouTube videos of others enjoying various hot pot restaurants. Even in the Green Bay metropolitan area with a population of around 300,000 people, I’d never even heard of hot pot, let alone been to a local hot pot restaurant.

The Camp Chef Explorer two burner propane stove was the perfect height for cooking and dipping, and with two burners you could easily cook two different soups for a bit of variety. Photo: Mike Schoblaska
The Camp Chef Explorer two burner propane stove was the perfect height for cooking and dipping, and with two burners you could easily cook two different soups for a bit of variety. Photo: Mike Schoblaska

You can probably find a recipe for the soup base online, but that defies the simplicity of the meal. If you live somewhere with an Asian market, you can call and ask if they have hot pot soup base, or you can order it online. I suggest calling ahead because I had to visit three Asian markets until I found one that had the prepackaged soup base. Depending on where you find it, your flavor options may be limited to spicy hot or plain. I got spicy hot, and boy was it!

It really is as simple as putting the hot pot soup base in a pot big enough to accommodate the soup and your ingredients, along with either water or stock. You can follow the directions on the bag, or you can do like I did and just add a couple large water bottles. With the soup base and water added to the pot, we fired up my buddy's Camp Chef Explorer two burner propane grill and it was boiling in no time. In a hot pot restaurant, there's typically a burner or induction cooker in the middle of the table, sometimes with a pot that’s separated into two or three or even nine sections for different broths. We opted for the Camp Chef because of its convenient height for dipping and stability. You’ll be dipping ingredients and digging things out to eat, so you want a setup that won’t tip over.

Step 2

Gather your ingredients. The main attraction of our hot-pot experience was venison. I sliced up a roast I was saving for jerky as thin as I could. Slicing before it was completely thawed helped, although I still ended up with some inconsistency in meat thickness. If you have a meat slicer, or even a jerky board, you're golden. The thinly sliced meat cut across the grain will cook quickly in the simmering soup and stay tender. You can use other types of red meat, although I would caution against bear or wild hog, simply because of the increased risk of contracting trichinosis. On that episode of MeatEater they used fresh caribou, but I imagine it would work just as well with elk, antelope and moose.

The other ingredients are up to you. I decided on the smallest Yukon gold potatoes I could find, cut in half so they would cook quickly, pre-made shrimp dumplings from the same Asian market where I found the hot pot soup base for authenticity, fresh mushrooms and egg noodles. While you can treat this recipe like a stew and dump in ingredients that need to cook longer than you care to hold your hand over the pot, the real fun is quickly dipping foods and eating them right from the pot. Other common ingredients for hot pot include whole eggs which can be poached in a ladle or hard/soft boiled in the shell, fresh greens and tofu.

Step 3

Once your soup is simmering, give it a good mix and you’re ready to cook. The potatoes, mushrooms and dumplings got a good soaking, but the venison only took a quick 10-second dip before it was cooked through. 

Mushrooms, dumplings, potatoes and noodles get to soak in the soup while ingredients like meat and tofu cook quickly and only require a short dip. Photo: Mike Schoblaska
Mushrooms, dumplings, potatoes and noodles get to soak in the soup while ingredients like meat and tofu cook quickly and only require a short dip. Photo: Mike Schoblaska

Your cooking time may vary depending on how thinly your meat is sliced and your preferred doneness. Make sure you’ve got a good grasp of your meat before you dip, or you’ll be trying to fish it out before it’s overcooked, which doesn’t take long.

I found it was easiest to use a plate so I had a place to set my food down after pulling it from the pot, giving it had a chance to cool before scarfing it down. You can choose to dip your ingredients in a dipping sauce. I chose Sriracha chili sauce and plain soy sauce. The beauty of hot pot is that you can customize everything — the soup base, the ingredients, and the dipping sauce — to your personal taste. 

Prefer your meat marinated? Go for it. Like it extra hot? Add some dried chili peppers to your soup base before dipping and dunking. The sky’s the limit when it comes to hot pot cooking. If you can dream it, you can eat it.

Hot Pot Pro Tip

If you decide to go with the spicy hot soup base, it may be a good idea to start and end your meal with a bit of dairy to help cool your stomach. We had some small yogurt smoothies and, after the meal was over and my lips were numb from the spiciness, I was glad I had something soothing to drink.

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