These venison bierocks are made with pillows soft bread dough and finely chopped cabbage and onions. They are hearty, protein-packed and surprisingly easy to make!
why this recipe works
Venison bierocks are super easy to make and require minimal hands on time! Since I am using a ‘quick’ dough recipe, they only have to rise for an hour!
This is a three step cooking process, involving sautéing the vegetables and meat and then making the dough and stuffing the rolls. This recipe generously yields eighteen large rolls or 36 mini rolls!
Don’t feel confident making bierock dough from scratch? This recipe can also be ‘hacked’ by using frozen Rhodes rolls instead of making homemade dough. In a hurry? Try purchasing shredded coleslaw from the produce section at the grocery store. I’ll show these easy variations at the end of the recipe!
- BREAD FLOUR I use bread flour to make the dough lighter and fluffier. You can easily substitute regular flour, just add an extra 2-3 tablespoons if the dough feels too sticky.
- MILK Whole milk helps to add flavor and richness to the dough. You could absolutely substitute skim milk, but I personally have never tried making this recipe with a milk substitute.
- BUTTER I firmly believe that everything is better with real, grass-fed butter. Use margarine if you want, but nothing beats real butter in baking recipes. I said what I said…
- WATER To get maximum yeast activity and the best rising dough, use filtered water. Chlorine and other additives are specially designed to INHIBIT growth. Not ideal for starting an active yeast culture.
- SUGAR Quick doughs need sugar to help quickly activate the yeast and cut down on the rising times.
- SALT Himalayan sea salt, finely ground, is my go-to.
- GROUND VENISON Today I am cooking with ground elk. It is my favorite venison to cook with when I am wanting the texture and deliciousness of beef. Seriously, it’s shockingly delicious. Make this with any meat you have. Beef, pork, ground chicken, deer, turkey… seriously, any ground meat will work!
- CABBAGE I like cut my cabbage into large pieces and then shred it into a fine crumble in my high speed blender. Chop it with a knife, use a food processor, or purchase it pre-shredded from the store!
- ONION Yellow onions, finely chopped, are a really good mild onion for this recipe. They sauté into translucent, tiny pieces that even kids don’t notice.
making the dough
For all of my dough recipes, I always measure the ingredients carefully. Flour is scooped, but not packed. Salt is measured, not pinched. Totally not my normal free-spirited cooking style, but it’s important here!
Using a large glass measuring bowl, add the milk, water, and cubed butter. Heat it in the microwave until warm, but not boiling. Most of the butter will melt, but there should be some solid butter pieces floating. The temperature needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast, but not so hot that it kills it. About 110° works well.
In a stand mixer, add all of the dry ingredients EXCEPT one cup of the flour. This will be added in as needed. If the dough is already clinging to the dough hook, it has enough flour. If it is wet and sticky, I gradually add the last cup a little at a time. Pour the warm, wet mixture into the dry ingredients and knead at a low speed until well combined. Gradually add any extra flour that is needed (I almost always add the entire last cup) and knead for two minutes more.
While the dough is kneading, bring a cup of water to a boil in the microwave or oven and leave the door shut. This will create a proofing box with extra humidity for a fluffier dough. Quickly put the dough in, covered with a tea towel, and close the door. Let it rise for thirty minutes.
making the meat and cabbage filling
Drizzle olive oil or bacon grease in a skillet and sautéed the onion and cabbage until it cooked. Season generously with salt and pepper. Remove it from the pan and repeat the process with the ground meat. Venison is a lean meat, so adding the olive oil or bacon grease helps it to brown without sticking to the skillet. It is also helpful to cook the cabbage first, because cast iron skillets are naturally non-stick once hot. Add the meat to the veggies and let them cool while the dough is rising.
Forming the venison bierocks
Now for the fun part! The dough should have risen well past the top of the mixing bowl and have a fluffy texture. For a normal sized bierocks, pinch off about two inches of dough. Form it into a ball, then flatten it out into a circle. Using an inch and a half dough scoop, place a mound of the filling onto the flattened dough. Bring the edges of the dough to the center and pinch and press them shut. This is the bottom of the bierock.
Place the bierock on a parchment lined baking sheet, pinched side down. Cover the bierocks with a tea towel. Place the somewhere warm and draft free to rise for 15-30 minutes. Watch this reel to see a video about the process.
Bake the bierocks at 400° for about 10-15 minutes, depending on size. The image below shows different levels of done-ness. The tops should look plenty brown, but not too dark. The bierock on the left is well done, but still not overdone. The bierock on the right is as light as I would go. Anything lighter and the bierock could be doughy and undercooked (which is NEVER a pleasant surprise to bite into).
Mix it up! Instead of using cabbage and meat, try experimenting with different fillings! Pepperonis, sausage, mozzarella and a tiny bit of pizza sauce make delicious pizza pockets. Love hot pockets? Make a filling of finely chopped ham and American cheese. Swiss, sautéed green peppers, and slivered peppered steak are a flavor-packed option, too!
This sweet dough as a secret… it also makes great cinnamon rolls! Sometimes I make half a batch of bierocks and half a batch of cinnamon rolls for the next morning! Add a generous amount of brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Roll as normal and bake in a pie pan for about fifteen minutes at 400°. Drizzle with a cream cheese icing.
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want a more delicious, scratch-made recipes you can grab my free E-BOOK and follow along on Instagram!
- 2 C Whole milk
- 1 C Water
- ½ C Butter
- 8 C Bread Flour divided
- 6 Tbsp. Sugar
- 2 Tsp. Salt
- 9 Tsp. Yeast
- 1 ½ Lbs. Ground meat elk, deer, beef, sausage
- 1 Head Cabbage Small and finely chopped
- 1 Yellow onion finely chopped
- olive oil, salt and pepper
- In a glass mixing bowl, combine milk, water, and butter. Warm it in the microwave for about a minute and a half, the butter does not need to melt completely. The ideal temperature is about 110°.In a stand mixer bowl, combine 7 cups of flour, sugar, salt and yeast for about fifteen seconds with a dough hook. Gradually add the warm liquids to the dry ingredients. Knead on a slow speed for about thirty seconds, then gradually add the remaining cup of flour if needed, a little bit at a time until the dough clings to the dough hook. Knead two minutes more.After the dough has kneaded, place it in a greased bowl to rise in a warm area for thirty minutes, until doubled in size.
- Place the chopped onions and cabbage in a skillet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat until done, then place them in a mixing bowl to cool. Using the same skillet, begin browing the ground meat with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the cooked meat to the bowl of vegetables and stir to combine.
Making the bierock
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pinch off a two-inch piece of dough and form it into a ball. Flatten the ball into a thin circle and place a spoonful of filling in the middle. Bring the edges to the middle and pinch them closed to form a tight seal. Place the bierock pinched-side down on the parchment paper.Once the bierocks are formed, cover them loosely with a tea towel and let them rise another 15-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the tops are evenly light brown. Bierocks can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to four months.