The greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and Southern Africa. The greater kudu is considered by many to be the most handsome of the Tragelaphine antelopes. Kudu, or koodoo, is the Khoikhoi name for this antelope. Kudu are browsers and eat leaves and shoots from a variety of plants. As they can make spectacular leaps of up to 6 feet, it takes a high fence to keep them out!
The beauty of living and functioning as a chef in the heart of the Karoo, is of course the unbeatable freshness of locally available produce. From the best olive oil I have ever used, to raw, full fat dairy and cheese. With local organic wine on my doorstep and fresh Venison on my chopping board, I am truly happy. I source my Kudu and Springbok meat locally from farmers in the surrounding area, keeping ethical killing of game in mind at all times, just like I would when buying fish for instance. Is it sustainable? Is it endangered? I know the farmer and I know where my meat comes from. It’s hormone free, lean and healthy!
One of our favourite recipes at the school is smoked Kudu sliced thin and served with horseradish cream, pickled cucumber and fresh radish relish. I always use standard wood chips to smoke my Kudu fillets but I add a little local flavour like ‘Karoo bossie’ to my smoking material just to give it that special flavour.
How to cure the Kudu fillet: First cure your Kudu fillets. Rub a healthy amount of sea salt, black pepper, brown sugar and ground coriander on the meat. Using a food brush, ‘paint’ the meat with a mixture of 1 part Worcester sauce to 2 parts Soy sauce and add a little squeeze of honey just to balance out the saltiness of the soy sauce
You can use a standard baking tray but if you have something with a bit of depth, it would be better as some space between the meat and the smoking material is needed for proper smoking. Always line your container with foil first to disperse of the heat evenly and be sure to have a lid for your smoker.
Place your smoking material on the foil on the spots where the heat will be concentrated. I prefer gas burners as I have more control over the heat. Start off with a low flame just to get the smoking process started and regulate the heat as needed. Use an oven rack to rest on the smoker above the smoking material for you to place the cured meat on that needs to be smoked. When you see wisps of smoke rising, place the lid on the smoker and smoke for 10-15 minutes. Don’t over smoke as you will lose the natural flavour of the Kudu. Follow recipe below for final prep.
- Kudu or any venison you can find. Ostrich will do nicely too
- For the cure : Good quality sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, freshly ground coriander brown sugar, Worcester sauce, soy sauce and honey.
When the smoking is done, sear the meat off in a smoking hot pan for 15 seconds on each side and rest the meat on a plate for an hour. Roll the meat in cling film and refrigerate for 4 – 6 hours before using. Slice the meat as thin as you can and serve with horseradish cream, pickled cucumber and fresh radish. Fresh rocket and a rosemary infused balsamic reduction finishes off this dish nicely.
For the pickled cucumber, remove the seedy middle part of the cucumber and cut into slices. Submerge in a mixture of equal parts Fish sauce, white wine vinegar and brown sugar. Allow to pickle for at least two hours. Chef Jaco Fourie.