[Lindsey Bartosh]

One of my favorite ways to prepare meat is in a spice-filled pickling cure, and one of the most popular spice mixtures for curing is used for corned beef. 

Corned beef, a very popular dish on St. Patrick’s Day in the United States, is a beef brisket cured for several days in a mixture of salt, cloves, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, mustard seed, and all-spice. Its signature red color comes from the pink curing salt added to the brine. 

After five to seven days of curing, the brisket is then simmered on low heat for four or five hours. The result is tangy, spicy, tender meat perfect for serving next to potatoes or with sauerkraut. 

I usually decide to make corned beef the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, and then remember I have missed my opportunity because of how long it takes. So I’m often a bit disappointed on St. Patrick’s Day, or I was until I decided to create a twist on traditional corned beef with a little wild game meat and some corned beef-themed spices. 

This hand pie is filled with ground deer or elk meat that has been cooked with all the aromatic spices found in traditional corned beef. The cabbage and potatoes that are usually served as sides are added to the mixture and everything is baked in a flaky pastry. Enjoy!  

Elk Guinness Hand Pies 


  • 1 pound elk or deer meat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • 1 bottle of Irish stout beer, such as Guinness
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound parboiled potatoes, diced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 package pastry dough


  1. Grind elk or deer meat coarsely.
  2. Preheat a large skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and sauté for three minutes.
  3. Add cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook for five to seven minutes. Cook until cabbage and onions are soft.
  4. Remove cabbage and onions from the skillet.
  5. Add ground elk and cook until just brown, about five minutes.
  6. Season ground elk with cloves, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, dill, and mustard seed. Season with salt. Cook additional two to three minutes.
  7. Deglaze the pan with beer.
  8. Add potatoes and cabbage back to pan.
  9. Add Worcestershire sauce.
  10. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about five minutes.
  11. Turn heat off meat mixture and allow to cool.
  12. Cut pastry dough into circles using an extra large biscuit cutter.
  13. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  14. Place half of the circles on an ungreased baking sheet. Pile each circle with a couple of spoonsful of the meat and cabbage mixture. Top each circle with the second pastry and pinch the edges with a fork.
  15. Brush each pastry with egg wash. Cut small vent holes in the top of each pastry circle.
  16. Bake in the oven for ten to twelve minutes, until the tops of pastries are golden brown.
  17. Enjoy!!!!

Lindsey Bartosh, an eighth-generation Moab girl, loves hiking, hunting, fishing, cooking, writing, photography and working on her website www.huntingandcooking.com.