Roasted Elk loin with Sumac, Cocoa and Coffee Rub

I have been obsessed with Sumac as of late. This summer while on vacation in Northern Minnesota I tried a sumac lemonade for the first time and was instantly hooked. I had never really thought about using sumac in any way. I was pretty sure that it was poisonous. When I discovered that most sumac is edible and can be used in dozens of different ways. I have been playing with it ever since.

It should be noted that there is one type of sumac that is poisonous but from what I can tell it looks nothing like the other varieties of sumac and is easily identifiable. Most of the sumac we see has a cluster of red berries the poisonous variety is white or gray.

Sumac has a lemony citric quality and when and when you soak the red clusters in luke warm water for about 30 minutes and then filter and sweeten with honey or sugar it makes a brilliant summertime drink. It reminded me a lot of a raspberry lemonade, add a little bourbon and a spritz of pernod and it made a delicious cocktail.

Sumac is used a lot in middle eastern cuisine and is one of the main ingredients in a spice blend called Za'atar. Add Za'atar and a few other herbs to some ground venison and you end up with a perfect venison kebab. Processing the sumac berries into a spice powder is pretty easy to do for a complete tutorial click here.  Otherwise you can buy sumac in some specialty stores now. I found it at Penzey's and have been using it in just about everything I can. sprinkle it on salads or mix it with chili powder and some salt to make a nice dust for the rim or your Bloody Mary. I found a recipe for a spice rub that called for sumac and played with it a little bit until I came up with this rub that is perfect on red meat. this is an elk loin that was given to me by a friend of mine and it was amazing.


Roasted venison loin with Sumac, Cocoa and Coffee Rub

2 pound piece of venison loin
1 tsp dried sumac powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp coffee
½ tsp garlic powder
Combine the salt and the spices. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the loin and then dust the loin with the spice blend. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before grilling. Over a hot grill place the loin and grill for 5 minutes per side. Checking the internal temperature. Pull the loin off the grill when the internal temp hits 130 degrees. Let the loin rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  

Wild Rice and Beet Salad

2 cups cooked wild rice
1 can of beets cut into ½ inch dice
1 cup of roasted corn
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
For the Dressing

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 clove of minced garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste 

IN a mixing bowl Combine the vinegar, garlic, mustard and salt and pepper and drizzle in the oil while whisking to combine.  Mix all the other ingredients   then pour the dressing on and toss. Serve alongside any grilled venison dish.