BBQ Bonanza 2011 - Tataki of Cervena, Chef Peter Pahk

We're kicking into August grilling with some fun new prizes (see below) and a great lineup of guest posters. I've been delighted to have had heritage pork and sustainable seafood both on the menu in July. It's fitting isn't it?

Given our theme of Sustainability at the Grill, we should be looking at things beside hot dogs (the new "cancer sticks"?) and hamburgers to grill or barbecue. Don't get me wrong, I love both hot dogs and hamburgers but really, there are plenty of alternatives that are tastier, better for us, and better for the planet. Among people who ate one daily serving of red meat, a new meta analysis shows that substituting one serving of whole grains per day reduced the risk of diabetes by 23 percent. (May I remind certain people that my excellent grain dishes are not meant as penance but offered in love?) The data look different for pasture-raised, grass-fed meats of course but that is easy to forget when it's so often left out of news reports and articles. And we need to diversify our diets for our satisfaction, our health and for the environment.

I'm here to put the sense back into sustainability. Sensual, sensible sustainability. Delicious, healthy and guilt-free - seems a tall order sometimes with relentless news about health risks, food safety failures, endangered or threatened species.

  • Take one look at our July Wrap Up and you'll find links to four posts that fit the bill.

Kingsmill Resort Executive Chef Peter Pahk

I'm delighted to have our next guest post from Chef Peter Pahk. He's now Senior Executive Chef at the Kingsmill Resort coming back East from the Silverado Resort in Napa Valley. There, he was recognized for his leadership, and for pioneering their many green, sustainable practices. He looks forward to bringing the same environmental focus to this resort. He has already begun by introducing the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) Program to all menus, choosing natural proteins, Seafood Watch awareness and local when possible.

I first met Chef Pahk at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions event the year I was invited by the Seafood Watch folks. I got to sample his abalone dish and he has since shared his beautiful recipes in TM2F, including:

Following his success at the Silverado resort, I've noted his attention to environmental issues. I'm impressed at how seriously he's been taking this business of sensual, sensible sustainability, for years. He was doing things in Napa Valley before it was cool to be green.

I got to catch up with Peter recently at the Chefs Collaborative Summit and learned about Cervena - pastured venison from New Zealand. Yes, New Zealand. Before you get all up in my grill (sorry couldn't resist) about the carbon footprint let's hear what Peter has to say. Others are noticing too, Kingsmill Chef Promotes Green Cuisine.


Tataki of Cervena - Guest Post, Chef Peter Pahk

There is no doubt, I’m picky when it comes to choosing ingredients. The products I use must be interesting and flavorful. But I also want them grown in the most natural way possible, minimally processed, and transported and sold in an environmentally responsible way.

Yep, I’m interested on the whole story. That’s why Cervena venison is one of my top choices for grilling.

To start with, banish any preconceptions you may have about venison. Cervena venison farmers have spent the last 30 years perfecting the art of raising venison with a very mild and delicious flavor, that is so tender you can almost cut it with a fork. Quite simply It’s the best venison in the world because it is young, raised naturally on lush pasture, and it’s free of hormones and steroids.

A plus for me is that grass feeding has lower environmental impact than grain feeding because all grass requires to grow is rain, sunshine (New Zealand has an abundance of both) and occasionally nutrients. Also, there are none off the waste disposal issues commonly associated with animals raised in feed lots because farmed deer roam on extensive ranches ranging in size from 200 to 10,000 acres.

And even though Cervena venison is imported from New Zealand, it's transported by sea freight which contributes less than 5% of the total emissions from the production, distribution and consumption of the meat. To put that in perspective, the carbon emissions per pound to transport meat from New Zealand to New York by sea is less than trucking it from Texas to New York – 44gms/pound verses 61gms/pound.

When it comes to grilling Cervena venison is hands down the fastest meat to cook – a 3 oz medallion of Cervena will take less that 4 minutes to cook.

The other interesting fact about Cervena venison is it is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than skinless chicken breast, with more protein than salmon, beef and lamb. So, for those of you who love grilling but want a flavorful, tender and healthy alternative, Cervena venison is a great choice.

Recipe: Tataki of Cervena Venison Salad, Thai Style

Serves 8 as an Appetizer



  • 1 each Whole  Cervena Venison Ribeye, about  24oz.
  • ½ cup Sliced  Bermuda Onions
  • 1 each Seedless Cucumber, sliced into rounds
  • 3 each Early Girl Tomato, cut into 6 wedges each
  • 3 cups Mung Bean Sprouts
  • 3 heads Butter Lettuce, Use about 24 Leaves
  • ½ bunch Cilantro, Plucked into 2” sprigs
  • ½ cup Scallions, Chiffonade Cut
  • ½ cup Roasted, Salted Peanuts, Crushed
  • ½ cup Edible Flower “Confetti” or some whole Pansies, Snapdragons, Nastursiums, Mustard Flowers




  • 1/2 cup Mild Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Thai Fish Sauce
  • 1 cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 2 oz.  Sliced Garlic, on Mandoline, thin as possible
  • 2 oz.  Sliced Shallots, on Mandoline, thin as possible
  • 1each Sliced Small Green Chile, on Mandoline, thin as possible, no seeds if milder flavor is desired, seeds if you want it hotter.


Dressing Preparation:


  1. Mix all Dressing Ingredients in a mixing bowl and Chill


Cervena Preparation:


  1. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and sear Cervena Venison Ribeye on Hibachi Grill, very hot coals to char outside, about 1 minute per four sides.
  2. Roast in oven @350 degrees to rare/ med rare ..120 degrees internal, about 5 minutes, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice into 30 medallions. Toss Cervena Venison Medallions with rest of ingredients, except cilantro, scallions, peanuts and edible flowers with dressing.
  4. In a Salad Bowl, use the tossed Butter Lettuce as a base and build with rest of ingredients…place medallions on top of salad.
  5. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, peanuts and flowers.


To find Cervena in the US, check your local Whole Foods Market, or order through D'Artagnan.


Great News from Our Sponsors giving away another set of their terrific barbecue sauces; each winner will receive:


  • one bottle of Carolina sauce (for dressing pulled pork);
  • one bottle of pomegranate chili sauce (versatile sweet/sour/spicy);
  • and one bottle of jerk marinade (meat brine or stew base or ceviche base).



Comment on BBQ Bonanza August posts also enter you to win Fire it Up: 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything. (Even includes recipes for goat! Donuts, I kid you not, and scallops with grapefruit mojo. Really there ARE recipes for grilling everything!)



The good people at OXO have graciously added this Four Piece Grilling Set to our August Contest!


How to win one of these THREE prizes:

  1. Enter a comment in any August BBQ Bonanza post.
  2. Write your own post on the theme of Sustainability at the Grill and link back here. You'll get a second entry!
  3. Hit the Silk Road! Find the phony location of a Silk Road yurt, post the true and the false locations in your comment here, and gain another chance to win.