The Summer Series (Vol. 3) Michigan

Venison Jerky

Venison Backstrap Steak, Autumn Crumb and Vegetables

Venison Burger

Venison with Brussels Sprouts Mayo, with a squeeze of Lemon, and below; Venison Neck and Wild Mushroom Stroganoff

What some of my favorite people saw, ate, and photographed, this past Summer…

The Third Volume
From Christina Holmes & Craig Lieckfelt


Christina Holmes was born and raised in Michigan in a small town called Eaton Rapids. Think population 5,000, rolling hills, farmland. Growing up, there was always a sense of eating off the land, growing your own fruit and veggies, sourcing your own meat, and also being responsible for how you treated the land and soil.

This past Summer, to pay homage to the state she was raised, Christina teamed up with chef/food stylist Craig Lieckfelt, (also a Michigan native), to create a menu that puts a contemporary spin on foods they love and grew up with.

From Christina: “Venison is a staple game meat in Michigan. The hunting season starts in late September (for restricted hunting) …and goes right through to the first of January. My father hunted for deer most of Autumn, and I remember in Winter spending hours watching him carefully clean out his rifles in our barn. My mother played a huge role in deciding how to prep the venison, coming up with different dishes, and then suddenly, (depending on the size of the freezer, and what we had caught) we would only be eating venison, no other meat.”

From Craig: “I’m a fourth generation hunter, and my family has land in Northern Michigan strictly reserved for hunting. The cabin is free of electricity and running water. In fact I helped my father built the current cabin we are using. It is a right of passage for the men of my family (and women, if they choose). I could write a book on memories of deer hunting. I saw my first deer field butchered when I was 6.”

Venison Jerky
Venison Backstrap Steak, Autumn Crumb and Vegetables
Venison Burger
Venison with Brussels Sprouts Mayo, with a squeeze of Lemon
Venison Neck and Wild Mushroom Stroganoff

1 pound of Venison
Half a pound of Beef Shortrib (boneless)
4 oz of Pork Fat
1 tablespoon of Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon of Black Pepper

Method: Grind all together through the course setting, mix thoroughly but gently. Then portion the meat mixture into 5 and a half oz portions, lay on a sheet tray in one even layer and chill for one hour. Season each patty with Kosher Salt and freshly ground Pepper. Heat 2 oz of Grapeseed Oil in a cast iron pan until it starts to smoke, cook until a nice crust forms. Around 3 minutes, flip and top with slices of cheese. Cook for 3 minutes longer. Serve Medium for optimum juiciness. Serve with a slice of ripe tomato, watercress, pickled red onion, brussels sprout mayo, and a toasted potato bun for gastronomic ectsasy.

4 pounds of top Sirloin, Rump or Eye round
Half a cup of Soy Sauce
Quarter cup of Honey
Quarter cup of Brown Sugar
Quarter cup of Maple Syrup
Quarter cup of Worcestershire Sauce
Quarter cup of Hoisin Sauce
1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tablespoons of minced Garlic (minced to a paste)
3 tablespoons of Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon of Red Pepper Flakes
1 tablespoon of Black Pepper
2 teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper

Method: Trim the meat of all fat and connective tissue and then slice the venison thinly against the grain. Gently pound the meat to achieve quarter inch thickness. Combine rest of ingredients in pot, until sugar and salts dissolve. Cool completely. Add sliced meat to marinade and refridgerate for up to 24 hours. Place in a smoker, be careful not to overlap at any point and smoke at 175-200 degrees for 12 to 16 hours. Before eating, feel free to dust with some honey and pink peppercorns. 


Photographs by Christina Holmes
Food Recipes & Styling courtesy of Craig Lieckfelt
Check out their story (also on Michigan) in the new Fall Issue of Sweet Paul here. 
Craig is also involved with a Detroit Michigan Pop up called Guns and Butter, check it out here. 


CHRISTINA HOLMES: is a New York based photographer with deep roots in Michigan. When it comes to her favorite foods, her list is long! She will eat anything from Il Buco restaurant, she covets the Mushroom & Egg pizza from ABC Kitchen, loves the pork belly at the Breslin, the olive oil gelato at Otto, the olive oil cake from Abraco, the chocolate chip cookies from City Bakery, and any dessert from Lady M! Her favorite memory this past Summer was showing her parents around NY, getting to eat great food, and watching a live Brooklyn old school jazz band at dusk on the Hudson River. Her clients include Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Whole Living, The Cooking Channel, Sweet Paul, Chop’t. Check out her work here. 

CRAIG LIECKFELT: is a chef and food stylist that has professionally cooked in Gotham Bar and Grill, and Jean Georges at the Trump International Hotel in New York. In the food world he is inspired by creativity, boldness and individualism. He sites Blanca, (the Roberta compound in Bushwick, Brooklyn) as being the perfect example of this. Craig’s standard breakfast is a Banana Cupcake with Maple Pecan frosting and coffee, and he would walk over hot coals for a Detroit Coney Dog. He is currently launching a pop up restaurant in Detroit, called Guns and Butter. Check out his work here. 


Stay tuned for more installments from the Summer Series!
To see previous Vol. 1 Colorado, click here.
and Vol. 2. California, click here

4 thoughts on “The Summer Series (Vol. 3) Michigan

  1. On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday – and I love the venison burger! Now that’s a burger! I’m featuring the burger as part of today’s roundup (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and thanks so much for inspiring me…

  2. Pingback: CH Feature – Three To One; Food Blog

  3. Pingback: Juicy Guilty Pleasure: Americana Burger « CHIC GLITTERATI

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