How to cook venison?
November 22, 2005 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have some cooking tips for Venison?

I've never eaten or cooked it before...but last evening, my neighbor came over with venison for us to cook from his hunting trip. I have no idea where to start to make it a good meal. I have heard that venison can be very lean....any ideas?
posted by Gooney to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It is extremely lean. The best recipes I've sampled include using it in chili or to make italian beef (venison) out of it. With the Italian beef version being very good.
Unless you are a big fan of the flavor you'll want to add some of your own.
posted by Wallzatcha at 11:10 AM on November 22, 2005

Chops, roasts. It can be very gamey (but not nearly as gamey as, say, moose) so if you don't like that, aromatic seasoning can help.

Personally, I love the taste of venision - if you have access to a, er, cold-cut, er, cutter you can freeze the thing then slice it in very thin slices and make some astounding jerky from it.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:19 AM on November 22, 2005

If you scroll down to the last recipe of Week 3 you can watch a video of multi michelin starred Gordon Ramsay cooking it very simply and very well. Venison is lovely, enjoy!
posted by brautigan at 11:24 AM on November 22, 2005

What sort of cuts do you have? Ground or sausage makes some decent spaghetti, etc. Steak meat is great in soups or stews or stir fry.

The meat is a little tough for most American's taste and a bit gamey, but use it in recipes rather than on the grill and you'll never know that you are getting a healthier alternative to beef.

Just a tip, add a little ground pork to ground deer and you really won't know any difference, but that cancels out the health benefits.

The tenderloins are very nice, use them where you can get a little more taste.

Do you have any idea how long the meat was aged?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:25 AM on November 22, 2005

As PurplePorpoise said, it's good for jerky. here is a good recipe I've used. I should mention that the Blo-Hard 3000 mentioned in that recipe is a box fan combined with air conditioner filters. Put the sliced meat inbetween filters, and attach to box fan with bungees.
posted by sanko at 11:28 AM on November 22, 2005

posted by jon_kill at 11:30 AM on November 22, 2005

Response by poster: Pollomacho - I really have no idea about the meat itself. I'm guessing it's aged about a week or so as they went hunting last weekend. I'll have to ask, good question.
posted by Gooney at 11:32 AM on November 22, 2005

Venison and juniper are an awesome match. I'd suggest trying searching for recipes combining the two.
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:42 AM on November 22, 2005

The longer it hung in a cooler, the less gamey it will taste. That should give you a rule of thumb to go by on just how much seasoning you are going to need to cover that wild flavor (or embrace the flavor depending on your taste).
posted by Pollomacho at 11:43 AM on November 22, 2005

Hope for the tenderloins or backstrap - they're the best. Try soaking the meat in milk overnight. Cut into medallions, dip in eag wash and roll in flour with salt & pepper, then fry like chickenfried steak. Use the milk for gravy. Yum!
posted by Pressed Rat at 11:51 AM on November 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

Incidentally, can anyone explain where that 'gamey' taste comes from?
posted by nyterrant at 11:57 AM on November 22, 2005

Mast (acorns)
posted by Pressed Rat at 12:01 PM on November 22, 2005

Acorns among other stuff, remember these are not you grass and grain fed domesticated consumers here, they eat what they find. That might be acorns or the leaves of young trees or various weeds. On top of that, wild animals get far more exercise than domesticated ones, so you're talking about less fatty meats (therefore less sweet) and more meat that's had stuff like lactic acid run through it.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:12 PM on November 22, 2005

I had a recently-killed tenderloin that my friend had thrown in the freezer before I got a chance to use. I thawed it out and tried a bit, and found it to be quite gamey. Here's how I managed to counter the unpleasant flavors and make a really savory steak:

Basically do an au poivre, pressing salt and lots of cracked peppercorns into the filet. Working off of the "juniper goes with venison" idea, I found some "Israeli Meatball Seasoning" in the cabinet and dusted that over the meat. It's got a potent, juniper-like bite to it (in fact, it might have even had juniper in it). It probably had some sumac for tartness.

I cooked it in a French style (medium heat, butter) just until rare. I let it rest for a couple minutes while letting a pat of butter melt over the top. When I cut into it, it was still quite bloody but I couldn't detect any unpleasant gamey flavor.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:15 PM on November 22, 2005

You are killing me rxrfrx.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:55 PM on November 22, 2005


I cook my chili for a long time, so beef and turkey loses a lot of flavor. But venison holds up well. So, either grind it up like hamburger; or cube it, brown it (with onion, peppers & garlic), then throw in tomatos, spices and hot peppers, and let it cook for a few hours. De-lish!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:19 PM on November 22, 2005

Oh, one last thing, my mom's family is from the North Carolina piedmont (yeah, I know, we're all over the place). They make brunswick (brunswich) stew with all sorts of game meats, venison, squirrel, rabbit, birds, possums, whatever you happen to shoot/trap. In Kentucky they make burgout (burgoo) similarly out of mutton (and/or game meats). The recipes are similar (and if you really think about it, similar to chili or carne asada) so I'd assume that a meat stew was the traditional way of using up game meats (or mutton with that special something that tastes like old socks that mutton has) regardless of the gamey flavors they may hold or how tough the texture may be.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:34 PM on November 22, 2005

Venison can be a little tough, slice thin against the grain to counteract that.

It is very low fat, so rxrfrx's dab of butter may be welcome.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:36 PM on November 22, 2005

If you're feeling adventurous, here's a recipe for elk striploin carpaccio from a cooking-with-game-meat piece I wrote awhile back.

Elk striploin might be a finer cut than the venison steak you've got, though, so you could take the spice mix mentioned in the recipe (which includes AwkwardPause's smart suggestion of juniper berries), up the black peppercorns to maybe 2 teaspoons, and cook the steak a bit more thoroughly using rxrfrx's "au poivre" method.

And the portobello bruschetta will taste awesome atop pretty much anything.
posted by gompa at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2005

I made oven-baked barbecued ribs with venison once, using some store-bought barbecue sauce that was very brown, sugary and clove-y in taste (can't remember what it was, now). Everyone said they were wonderful so you might want to try that. Good luck!
posted by Lynsey at 3:30 PM on November 22, 2005

You can use it where you'd use a roast of beef - i.e. stew, hearty chili. Or you can do what I've always done - get some whole milk, put each deer steak in a ziplock bag with about a cup or two of milk. Leave in the fridge for a day. Then grill on a well-seasoned (read: lots of charred stuff) grill, with a splash of vinegar and a dusting of garlic and pepper on each side right before you turn it over. Sourdough and some dark green veggies completes the meal.
posted by notsnot at 4:35 PM on November 22, 2005

I've always done it basically bourguignon, which is to say, braise it and cook it for a long time in red wine with pearl onions and mushrooms. It's really good like that - but when I say a long time, I mean a long time, like 4 hours or more. Otherwise, I think it tends to be too tough. Marinating overnight is a good idea as well.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:35 PM on November 22, 2005

Heres my recipe I have allways used if its a decent cut, while out at the hunting camp.
Cut thin strips across the grain (about a quarter inch thick at the max)
Season with salt and a little garlic pepper
Medium high heat butter, fry it very quickly.. brown on both sides and get it the hell out..
Cook all your going to cook and then the pan drippings make a gravey with a little flour and water slurry. serve the strips on buttered toast with the gravey dribbled over.

Pray that he kept the heart. Venison heart is by far the most tender piece of meat I have EVER tasted in my life. Best when its the day of the kill and cut into very thin strips and pan fried in the same way.. mmmmmm
posted by JonnyRotten at 7:21 PM on November 22, 2005

Most of the meat I eat is elk. I basically use it like I would beef. After eating a lot of elk over the past year I find beef almost boring. The gameyness probably comes with the diet and excercise that the animal gets. Tenderloins are absolutely wonderful, if you have them. The recipes above all sound good. One point to stress is DON'T OVERCOOK the meat. More rare than you would a similar cut of beef. Cooking it too long and it can get tough.
posted by 6550 at 10:36 PM on November 22, 2005

Please please please don't overcook it! My step brother made some sausages for breakfast once from a deer he killed himself. They were rather overcooked and the hardened pucks sucked every bit of moisture from the mouth that they proved nearly impossible to swallow.

Now, one of my favorite local restaurants does really nice venison tenderloin medallions -very rare mind you- with what they call a "hunter's sauce." The sauce consists of juniper, red wine and as far as I can tell dried cherries and prunes. It's fantastic.
posted by bomboleco at 12:28 PM on December 15, 2005

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