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What are the best ways to cook venison?

 
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What are your favorite ways to cook venison?

Do you have any recipes or cooking tips to share?

I've been reading that a leg of venison is a bit too lean to roast on its own, and it's often covered with bacon or pork fat to make up for this. We don't have much bacon at the moment so I'm wondering if it would still be delicious as a roast if I started it off with a coating of rendered tallow and basted it every so often?

Or would these roasts be better if cut into steaks or used as slow cooking stew meat?

Venison pie sounds great. Venison burgers and sausages are delicious but I would need extra fat for those - would beef fat be good for this?
 
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For ground venison either beef fat or pork fat us recommended. The venison fat has a strong taste and goes rancid very easily.
Somewhere else in these forum we've posted venison recipes.



 
Jd Gonzalez
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https://permies.com/t/29627/kitchen/Seeking-Recipes-deer-meat
 
Kate Downham
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Hi Kate;
I have been eating deer and elk all my life.
After tying both repeatedly, Pork fat just seems to be tastier!
This is a good thing... as we raise piggys not cattle!
With deer being so small they become steaks / stew meat or turned into smokies!
Elk being much larger becomes, steak, roasts ,stew meat and generally around #100 of hamburger.

Favorite way to cook Venison steaks is.   Pound then marinade (overnight if possible) in Italian salad dressing.  Cook on grill with hardwood  or charcoal.   Hmmm good!  
 
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The last time we got a deer I cubed the meat in 1 or 2 pound packages. I would put it through my meat grinder frozen. One favorite was Venison Enchiladas. Now that I've got Muscovy ducks who live to reproduce, I've not much motivation to try and get and process a deer, but I use a similar approach.  Once it's ground I feel I can substitute it for anything where ground meat is used - chili, spaghetti sauce and by adding a little bacon and cheese, burgers.

Part of it is the audience. It was hard to get a roast "just right" and the cheep seats weren't keen on the stew, but once I just used it as extra, extra lean ground, the complaints disappeared.

I can post specific recipes for "Maui'i Duck", "Venison Enchiladas" and "Duck Burgers" if you want to try any of those.
 
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I usually cut as many  steaks as I can out of the deer and the rest becomes either jerky or stew meat.  I pound the steaks to make them more tender, then I dip them in egg and then flour and fry it up.  Pretty simple and delicious
 
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The family tradition in our house:

Marinate the venison steak in a bit of red wine, garlic, salt, pepper, soy sauce and ginger.  

Grill over a hot fire on a cedar plank for 8 minutes or so, turning once.

Set the steak aside and let it rest, and then when it's cool enough, throw it on the ground for the dog.

Eat the cedar plank.


I'm sure it's just me, but I find venison so gamey, I can't hardly eat it.  If it's turned into sausage, I'll eat that.
 
Kate Downham
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Marco Banks wrote:The family tradition in our house:

Marinate the venison steak in a bit of red wine, garlic, salt, pepper, soy sauce and ginger.  

Grill over a hot fire on a cedar plank for 8 minutes or so, turning once.

Set the steak aside and let it rest, and then when it's cool enough, throw it on the ground for the dog.

Eat the cedar plank.


Wow, that is almost exactly the same as how I prepare tofu!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I guess I'll look at the legs as slow-cooking meat rather than fast roasting. Making burgers and sausages with some extra fat added sounds good too.

Would the legs be good thinly sliced and served as schnitzel?

We ate some venison bone-in loin chops today quickly cooked the same way that I cook lamb chops on the cast iron cooking plate of our woodstove and they were so delicious and tender! I also roasted some blue potatoes from our garden and they were really nice to soak the venison juices up with.
 
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I haven't had any in a while but I usually separate the muscles in the back legs and sliced then crumbed like schnitzel they are excellent!

I use the individual muscles for that, steaks, casseroles, curing and air drying.

Shoulders I normally mince.
They usually have a hole through them so I just cut off the good meat.

Backsteaks cooked quickly and still rare are amazing!

Searing the chunks to seal before casseroling helps keep the meat moist too.

Must get out in the woods next weekend...
 
Kate Downham
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Jay Angler wrote:The last time we got a deer I cubed the meat in 1 or 2 pound packages. I would put it through my meat grinder frozen. One favorite was Venison Enchiladas. Now that I've got Muscovy ducks who live to reproduce, I've not much motivation to try and get and process a deer, but I use a similar approach.  Once it's ground I feel I can substitute it for anything where ground meat is used - chili, spaghetti sauce and by adding a little bacon and cheese, burgers.

Part of it is the audience. It was hard to get a roast "just right" and the cheep seats weren't keen on the stew, but once I just used it as extra, extra lean ground, the complaints disappeared.

I can post specific recipes for "Maui'i Duck", "Venison Enchiladas" and "Duck Burgers" if you want to try any of those.



Please post recipes : )

The enchiladas especially sound delicious
 
Jay Angler
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Marco Banks wrote:

I'm sure it's just me, but I find venison so gamey, I can't hardly eat it.


I've got two responses to that:
1) I've had strange looks from my neighbor when he was admiring the "beautiful 3 point buck he'd like in his freezer instead of eating his garden" and I replied, "no thanks, I'd like a young one - about a year old - it will taste better. There's a reason North American industrial meat chickens are harvested at 5-8 weeks old.
2) Deer have glands in their "elbow" equivalents. If they aren't harvested *very* carefully, the scent is transferred to the meat and it then tastes "gamey". Now some of this is genetics - I just don't like cilantro because I've got the taste buds that make it taste like soap - but I would try some "young deer" "carefully processed" (read not while the hunters are pickled with beer) and possibly with some of the recipes I'm going to post below, and then make your decision.
 
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I cube a lot of venison up into 1/2 inch or so pieces and make a lot of stir fries with it, I'm not much for venison steaks as they always are tough for me. Stir fry, sausage, ground meat, and roasts are how I package a deer.
 
Jay Angler
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Venison Enchiladas

Ingredients:
2 pound ground venison (I freeze it in cubes and grind just before cooking for safety)
Finely chopped onion  - preferably Egyption walking onion greens
Enchilada sauce - recipe below or use 2-4 10 ounce cans
16 ounces sharp cheeses like Monteray Jack or a commercial "Mexican" blend
16 ounces cheddar cheese
12 (10-12 inch) flour tortillas

Directions:
Heat oven to 375F. Brown the venison and onion. Thicken the drippings by evaporation.
Stir in ~1 cup enchilada sauce and 2 cups of cheese.
Spoon meat mixture onto tortillas, roll-up and place seam-side down in lightly greased baking dish.
Pour more sauce over the top. Cover with remaining cheese.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese melts.
Some like it served with sour cream, salsa or refried beans. I just like a side salad.
Notes - takes some of those measurements with a grain of salt. The sauce recipe doesn't line up quantity-wise with the "cans" and some people like things spicier, and some don't tolerate as much cheese. I've never tried this with corn tortillas if you're looking for gluten free.

Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, finely grated
2 tablespoons fat of choice (usually duck in my house)
2 tablespoons flour (I'd try 1 tbsp of potato flour for gluten free)
1/4 cup chili powder
2 cups thick, homemade broth (chicken/duck/beef)
15 ounces tomato sauce (I use 398 ml can of sauce)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or cumin if you prefer)

Directions:
In a large saucepan melt the fat and saute the garlic and flour stirring constantly
Stir in chili powder, then the other spices.
Gradually stir in broth and tomato sauce - start slow so there aren't lumps.
Simmer for 15 minutes - a little extra time on low doesn't hurt.
 
Jay Angler
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My family loves this with the duck legs (which tend to be tough) and I would use it with venison if I had some. Be generous with the time in the slow cooker - more is better!

Maui Muscovy Duck Legs

Ingredients
Approx. 500g duck legs (bone in) use cubed venison instead
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup cane sugar (I use 2 Tbsp of local honey)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup broth (usually duck or chicken, but could be beef)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (I prefer tapioca starch - *not* the little balls, the flour version available at our Asian market)

Directions
Combine soy sauce, sugar (or honey), garlic, ginger and sesame oil in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved and then stir in the pineapple juice and broth.
Place the meat neatly in layers on the bottom of the slow cooker or appropriately sized pot.
Pour the liquid over top and set the slow cooker on high for ~2 hours then medium/low for 4 more hours, or if using a pot, bring to a boil and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cook for 4 hours (I haven't tried this - may need more).
Check to make sure that the liquid is completely covering the ribs throughout the cooking process. Add a little more broth if necessary.
Once cooked, gently remove the meat from the slow cooker or pot and then bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat in a small pot.
Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and stir until dissolved. While stirring the boiling liquid with a whisk or wooden spoon, slowly pour the dissolved cornstarch into the liquid until desired consistency is achieved. Do not add too much at once as cornstarch takes a minute to take effect.
Serve with some cooked whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa or even lentils and some fresh or canned pineapple.

As with my earlier disclaimers on this site - I'm not good at following recipes so I only use recipes that allow for a certain degree of "that looks right" or "this sounds better" and then I note my changes in brackets. Pineapple juice is a natural tenderizer.
 
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To make game more tender, the trick is not to boil or use too high heat, somewhere between 75-95 C and simmering for a long time makes stewed meat more tender. Stewing in wine, beer or cider for instance add nice flavours. Any kind of mushrooms could be added on top of the other veg.
 
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My family has always processed our own, and my dad has always said that it makes a difference. A lot of factors come into play on why venison may taste "Gamey", and one is diet. I'll be honest, I cringe whenever someone explains this elaborate marinade or cooking process that I can't help but think just ruins the natural flavors of venison. Then I remind myself that they most likely don't have venison raised on the same diet and may not have had any control over the harvest and preparation of the venison. That makes a big difference in taste.

This year I had a large doe gifted to me. The harvest and field dressing were not optimal, but they did a fair job. It did have an effect on the flavor. I also butchered this one completely by myself this year. A first.
I cut the neck into two pieces and those make wonderful soup stock. Slow cook them till the meat falls of the bones and the tendons and bones can be easily sorted out and discarded after cooking. The shredded meat makes for great shredded taco meat or back in the stock for soup base.
Shoulders/front legs were separated at the joints and are roasts. Salt and pepper, celery, carrots, onions, and some bay leaf. Add potatoes towards the end. I left them bone-in this year to maximize efficiency. In years past we have boned them out and used it for burger or rolled roasts.

Hind quarters were separated out by muscle and slide into steaks. This can also be ground to burger, or used as roasts.
Backstraps are sliced a thumb thick and fried in clarified butter with salt and pepper. Once cooked Med-rare, gravy is made along with mashed potatoes. Steamed broccoli or asparagus round out this dish. Oh and if morels are in season, making morel gravy puts it over the top.

The tenderloins are typically soaked in mild salt water to loosen anything dried on and then trimmed. I like to leave them whole, salt(coarse kosher) and pepper them and then fry it whole in clarified butter with a sprig of crushed thyme and/or rosemary. Rest for a few minutes then slice on a slight diagonal.

That's how I like to do it. An in-law of mine puts everything into ground meat because that is how they get the most out of the meat.
 
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I started cooking venison before there were "Venison Recipes" so I just use my regular recipes. Still do.  

One of my first dinner parties feature a venison roast.  No one knew they were eating venison.

Later, I heard people saying they didn't like venison as it was strong flavored or that it had to be soaked in milk.  

Now days, we eat mostly deer and I still just use my regular recipes.

I never add extra fat as it has never seemed to be needed.  Our daughter adds bacon to her link sausages or patties.  
 
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Kate, reading between the lines, does this mean you are having feral deer problems? We are too!
 
Kate Downham
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I don't see feral deer as a problem, I see them as a solution for wanting something tasty to eat!

I'd like to keep this thread restricted to tasty recipes and cooking tips, but if you'd like to start a thread elsewhere about feral deer I am happy to talk about them there.
 
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Your ‘recipe’ had me laughing Marco! I tend to agree, I’ve never had deer or caribou that wasn’t dry and gamey. I HAVE had a delicious elk steak. I know with bear meat you can eliminate the gaminess by dropping the chop or steak in salted boiling water for 30 seconds before cooking it. Might work with venison but that doesn’t compensate for the lack of fat. I like it for jerky or meat sticks but much prefer moose for steak, stew and burgers.
I could just be prejudiced because I grew up in whitetail deer country and we ate it a fair bit. It was essentially free, and hunting was always a nice excuse to be in the woods. But I always looked forward to April and a new diet of speckled trout fried in butter with fiddleheads.
 
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I have never thought of deer meat as "gamey" though I know some people do.  A trick I use is if using ground meat, mix it 50/50 with a meat that is agreeable.  We use beef though ground chicken, turkey or pork will taste tasty too.  When used to the flavor, then mix 75/25 and soon it will be that the other meat can be eliminated altogether.

 
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Marco Banks wrote:The family tradition in our house:

Marinate the venison steak in a bit of red wine, garlic, salt, pepper, soy sauce and ginger.  

Grill over a hot fire on a cedar plank for 8 minutes or so, turning once.

Set the steak aside and let it rest, and then when it's cool enough, throw it on the ground for the dog.

Eat the cedar plank.


I'm sure it's just me, but I find venison so gamey, I can't hardly eat it.  If it's turned into sausage, I'll eat that.




I believe that the way the animal is harvested and cleaned will make a big difference on the "gamey" taste. That being said, a big 'ol buck can be really gamey during the rut.  That's why I have always been into younger animals.
One of my son's harvested a big 'ol bull elk this past fall and we ended up making burger out of 95 % of it.  It was gamey, really gamey.

Several of my son's have been all about "trophy" animals, but seemed to grow out of that after awhile.

Venison and elk are a staple of my families diet, and has been for several Generations.  Personally hunting for over 50 years.

When my first two sons were small, ie, in diapers, our meat was all venison and elk.  The local game warden would bring by confiscated deer and hang them in my garage for us. (We were not poor, but had no cash flow).  

I do remember once I had a doe hanging in there that was a "bit" out of hunting season and the game warden put his business card on it with a :( .  But he kept on helping us with the meat.

Oh ya, this thread was about cooking.. lol

I like to marinade steaks, put them in the seal a meal bag and freeze them.  The marinade really gets into the meat then, but does not overpower it, (depending on your marinade).  I do like the flavor of good venison and elk.

My wife does a lot of roasts and stews in the instapot thing-a-ma-jig.  I think she is a great cook!!  

Family tradition here is bbq'ing the back strap.  Just a bit of salt and pepper is all for seasoning.

Dang, now I have to go to the freezer and find some steaks or a roast to set out for dinner..... you all have gotten me hungry!!
 
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I grew up on game, and love most of it. Any way I've cooked beef, I've also done with venison, and I have to fully agree with Thomas - pork fat. We don't bother marinating venison, and never have, because we like the flavor of the meat. It's doesn't get pounded, either. If it's too tough to eat as a steak or roast, it gets cut into stewing meat, and frozen. If we want burgers, meatloaf, tacos, etc, we grind it, just before cooking, so it's available in chunks for stewing or kabobs, if that's what we'd rather have.

Some of the best venison steaks I've personally made were on a tripod grill, over a smokey fire, just close enough to allow only the highest flames to lightly lick the meat, occasionally. It took some time to cook them, this way, though. I'd let them smoke for as long as I could take the waiting, then drop the grill down, to get a nice sear. If you are very careful with the smoking part, you can still get a beautiful medium rare, or even rare steak, this way.
 
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If venison is processed at home and not aged, it will be tough.  I like to cook in the pressure cooker and then freeze or can it.  Then I just use like regular roasts for pot roast or with rice, etc.  Otherwise grind it.  My favorite is with rice, tomatoes, wild foraged greens like creasy greens, elephant garlic, or kale, other greens from garden, plenty of garlic and onions.
 
Kate Downham
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I was inspired by Jay's duck recipe above that used pineapple juice and soy sauce, but I also wanted to roast a whole leg (haunch?) at a time and use some of it in a borscht the next day too.

I put the leg in a roasting tin with around 3 large onions chopped up and sautéd and a cup of beef broth. I started it off hot to caramelise the crust a bit, and then put the sautéd onions on top of the leg to try and stop it from drying out and cooked it at a low temperature for around 4 or 5 hours, until it could all be shredded easily and was deliciously tender.

I took the meat out of the pan, added the juice of two oranges and plenty of coconut aminos (soy-free soy sauce alternative), and I might have put some flour in too to thicken it, and just adjusted the taste of the sauce until it was delicious, and added some of the shredded meat back in. This was very tasty! Everyone in the family that eats meat loved it.

The next day I made my usual favourite beef borscht recipe, and used the rest of the slow roast venison in this, and it was very tasty, even better than my usual beef borscht.
 
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Backstrap I  just salt and pepper and cook on a cast iron skillet with no crust. I may have used it also in a beef with broccoli.

Most is ground to use for sausage, chile or with curry sauce added. The spices take out the gamey. We have never done a roast or steak. Sausage is a big item. Its not uncommon to make 50 pounds each year. I also can several quarts of chile.

I didnt do much this season because we harvested a cow. I got a portion from a friend for jerky and ground.

 
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