A Wild Take on the Mississippi Roast

In case you haven't heard, there's a roast recipe making the rounds that's apparently the hottest thing on the World Wide Web since that video of cats freaking out about cucumbers. The recipe is for something called the Mississippi Roast, though it really doesn't have much to do with the state (or the river) other than it seems to have originated in the kitchen of Robin Chapman of Ripley, Miss. Since then, it's swept across the Internet fueled by mommy bloggers lauding both the recipe's ease and rich flavor.

The Mississippi Roast recipe hit critical mass last week when the great Sam Sifton of The New York Times featured it in the paper's Food section. The article not only gave a pretty interesting history of the recipe, but also an updated take on it. The original called for a packet each of ranch dressing mix and dry au jus gravy, along with a full stick of butter and a couple of pepperoncini. The Times recipe replaces the seasoning mixes with homemade ranch dressing, loses a couple tablespoons of butter and triples the pickled peppers.

I decided to try this unusual roast, though, of course, I had to go a bit wild with it. I started with a blade roast from the elk I shot in Utah last fall, though any large venison roast would do. Sifton’s homemade ranch recipe whisked a couple of teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into some mayonnaise for the ranch dressing, but I thought it made more sense to use the pickling liquid from the pepperoncini instead. I also included the full stick of butter, figuring such a lean cut would need all the fat it could get over the long cooking time. I went the Dutch oven route, but you could certainly do the Mississippi Roast in a slow cooker set on low for six hours or so.

So how did it taste? Admittedly, pretty damn good. And that’s coming from a guy who doesn’t really care for roasts, especially wild game roasts that typically dry out. I think the butter definitely helps keep things moist, and the ranch gives it an interesting tang. It doesn’t happen very often, but mommy bloggers and me agree: The Mississippi Roast is worth working into the weeknight rotation.

Mississippi Roast—Wild Style

Ingredients
3 to 4 lb. elk, or other, venison roast
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter
10-12 pepperoncini
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. pepperoncini brine (or vinegar)
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees

  2. Season the roast on all side with kosher salt and black pepper. Dust with flour.

  3. Make the ranch dressing by whisking the mayo, brine, dill, and paprika together in a small bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk and let chill for a few minutes to allow the flavors to incorporate.

  4. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil is just smoking, add the roast to the Dutch oven and brown well, about 5 minutes per side.

  5. Pour the ranch dressing over the roast. Cut the butter into eight slices and place the slices on and around the roast. Add the pepperoncini to the Dutch oven and cover.

  6. Transfer the Dutch oven to the preheated oven and cook for 5 to 6 hours. Turn the roast every hour or so, and if necessary, add a little bit of beef broth if it appears the roast is drying out.

  7. After six hours, test the roast for doneness. It should shred easily. Use two forks to pull the roast apart and incorporate the meat with the gravy in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Garnish with fresh pepperoncini and serve.