Recipe: Braided Venison Taco Calzone

posted on January 2, 2024
Ful Meal Lede

Tacos are a staple for many families and hunting camps. They are easy to make and offer ways to customize spice levels and toppings. Pizza is also a staple, starting with the crust and working up. Pizza dough is also used to make calzones, like a pizza folded in half to produce a crust top and bottom.

Calzone dough

Combining the two foods is an easy and creative way to enjoy two favorites, with a braided dough stuffed with taco meat, cheese and fresh salsa. Slices can still be topped for individual preferences. The braided venison taco calzone is a great recipe for hunting camp, where the taco meat and salsa can be prepared in advance. A can of Pillsbury Classic Pizza Crust is packed to make the meal on short notice.

Calzone being stuffed


  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 prepared pizza dough
  • 1 ½ pounds of ground venison
  • ½ cup of onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 package of taco seasoning (or make your own—recipe below)
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded (1/4 cup reserved)
  • Salsa closeup


  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large Roma tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, diced (can substitute green or red peppers)

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoons of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons of oregano
  • 1 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons of onion powder
  • ½ teaspoons of cayenne pepper

Calzone with topping


  1. Add the oil to a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes and add the ground venison. Stir often to brown.
  2. Add the taco seasoning and water to the meat mixture and stir to blend. Simmer the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Mix the onion, tomato, cilantro and jalapeño peppers in a medium bowl; stir to blend. Set aside.
  4. Open the pizza dough and spread it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to measure 10 x 15 inches. Slice strips three inches long every 1 ½ inches apart down the long sides of the dough.
  5. Pour the meat mixture onto the center of the dough and spread evenly to the edges of the cut strips and both ends. Add ¾-cup shredded cheese over the meat and top with the salsa.
  6. Fold the end of the dough over the meat and pull the two adjacent slices together to seal the ends. Continue to fold all slices over the meat mixture to create a braid of dough over the length of the calzone.
  7. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  8. Bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes. The crust will be golden brown when done.

Slice the calzone and top with salsa, green chili, tomato, sour cream, hot peppers, guacamole or other favorite taco fixings.

Full meal lede


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