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Wild Venison Suggestions???

Hey All-

I've recently acquired half of a deer from a hunter friend of mine - lucky me!!! I'm pretty proficient in the kitchen and I enjoy trying new things so I was looking for suggestions on what to do with this beast. I'm mostly looking for "weeknight dinner" ideas, not time consuming recipes like smoking a whole loin or roasting a ham. Of course I do still plan on smoking some of this and I plan on making some venison chili - what I tend to think of as the stereotypical recipes for venison. Anyway, any suggestions are appreciated!

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  1. I’m so envious - I have friends who occasionally give me some wonderful venison and it is always such a treat.

    I have made Pan-Seared Venison With Rosemary And Dried Cherries (from Epicurious) twice and it has been outstanding. First time was with chops and I made a couple of ingredient substitutions with excellent results. I made it again using dried cranberries in place of the cherries with medallions of venison. Really good !

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

    1. I have made the green peppercorn madeira sauce from epicurious with venison tenderloin, medallions and chops, and it was delicious.http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...
      Also, venison marsala is great. Prepare as for chicken or veal, but let the meat simmer in the sauce a while longer (venison is a lot tougher), and serve over farfalle or other small flattish pasta.
      I like to do a pot roast of venison with tomatoes, horseradish and celery seed. Sliced with its gravy over a bed of noodles and sauerkraut (and thinly sliced onions sauteed in butter), is wonderful comfort food (and the pot roast can be made in advance and reheated). Ditto for stews, and chili.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Marge

        the recipe you posted: do you really take that out at 115 degrees? I did a very similar loin last night (pan seared, coated in brown sugar, horseradish, and pink peppercorns, then roasted)

        I set my temp alarm for 125, thought it looked too rare, left it till 132, let it sit...and still I thought it was bordering on too bloody. Venison is hard to get the temp right, IMO. Too raw tastes a bit mettalic, too done is tough.

        I find that cutting loin into 1 1/2 inch medallions and pan searing in butter is a very simple, but delicious preparation.

        Try to catch Iron Chef American - battle Venison!

        1. re: danna

          I did roast the tenderloin a few minutes longer than called for in the recipe, but I had a very small tenderloin. I agree that cutting into medallions and searing is easier...the madeira peppercorn sauce is wonderful on that.

      2. I like the european hunter game treatment of red wine, garlic and strong herbs, like rosemary. good size chunks of venison and slow cooking. I guess it's a little like beouf bourginon in preparation, with some boiled potatoes on the side.

        1. If you’re new to cooking venison, keep in mind that it cooks a lot faster than beef because it is so lean. Cook it either really quickly or slow and low—in between is when it turns tough. A friend from Colorado who cooked a lot of game always recommended that if using it for burgers you combine it with some ground beef or ground pork (so it doesn’t turn into a hockey puck). It takes well to marinades, and don’t feel you need to be tied to strictly venison recipes. I use it in a lot of recipes I would otherwise use beef in. However, if you google “venison recipes,” you’ll find boatloads of them, many from hunter sites, not just foodie sites. Enjoy your half deer! I usually just receive chops and burger from friends but recently got lucky with some sausage and a roast, which I’m saving for a special occasion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: intuitive eggplant

            Also, it stays bright red until VERY cooked. Use a thermometer.

          2. I like to make a mix of 1/3 montreal steak seasoning and 2/3 espresso ( ground). Rub this on the venison and sear it in hot oil. If you like you can make a great vanilla bean demi glace to match, only if you're adventeourous

            1. Thanks folks, this is great! Keep 'em coming :-)

              1. May I reccomend a jerk rub? I am hooked on a meal of jerked venison and scalloped potatoes. I am lucky that we have a good supply in our freezer! We love it along with Marsala too.

                1. Schnitzel! Take a couple venison steaks, pound 'em thin, dredge in flour-egg wash-bread crumbs, then fry quickly. Serve with potato dumplings and red cabbage.

                  1. Assuming proper handling of the meat during processing etc., are there any concerns for parasites or bacteria in wild venison? I'm familiar with eating it, but I'm very unfamiliar with the process of hunting and cooking truly wild meats. If I heard correctly it's a good idea to cook wild boar until it's well done versus a rosy medium you can do with store bought pork. Of course boar is a different animal altogether, but I figured I should ask. Better safe than sorry!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: HaagenDazs

                      Assuming that the animal was in good health and properly processed, you should not have any fear of bacteria/parasites in venison. Like most meats, the interior portions of whole muscle are sterile. Bacteria only exist on the surfaces exposed to air. It would be perfectly safe to give the meat a hard sear to kill any surface bacteria and eat the meat with a virtually raw center. In fact, tender cuts of venison (loin, tenderloin, some leg muscles) should never be cooked past medium-rare – otherwise, they will become tough and dry. Ground venison should be thoroughly cooked, however, since the interior portions were exposed to air/bacteria during the grinding process.

                      Regarding wild boar, the trichinosis parasite is still prominent in the population. It has pretty much been eliminated from the domesticated stock, which is why pork can now be served pink. Wild boar should be cooked to at least 150 F to ensure that all trichinosis parasites are killed.

                    2. Jerky!! My husband insists venison jerky is the tastiest. Alton Brown gives a good jerky marinade recipe with soy sauce, worcestershire, honey, pepper and liquid smoke (including directions on making your own liquid smoke).

                      http://goodeatsfanpage.com/Season9/je...

                      1. One of our local restaurants has a Wild Game Festival October-March and has many Venison dishes on the menu.

                        Last week, we had Osso Buco of Venison served with a creamy polenta. It was divine. A few weeks back we had the Venison Ragout. Heavenly. I have Venison on order from my butcher, and I am going to make the Ragout next week.

                        1. I need suggestions for cooking venison since there is now some in my freezer (I must confess I was not happy to be the recipient of this gift from the hunter friend of my husband last night). I have some "stew meat" and ground venison.

                          I am not a big gamy meat eater. A rib-eye or beef stew occasionally, veal marsala every couple months. Do you have any suggestions for me? A stew that won't be repulsive? (I'm aiming low here!) And what about that ground venison when I don't even like hamburgers (though my Marcella variation on meatloaf was a-okay in my book!)

                          1. NYChow, for the stew meat, I’d suggest a daube, or stew with plenty of red wine and herbs, mushrooms, onions, carrots (an ultimate comfort food, in my book). For the ground venison, try chili or a red sauce for pasta (you could add some Italian pork sausage). If you’ve already used it for meatloaf and enjoyed it, perhaps you’re realizing venison is not as fearsomely “gamey” as you anticipated and that it can be used in all manner of recipes you would use other ground meat in. Enjoy!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: intuitive eggplant

                              thanks, I will try a stew as you suggest.
                              (this will actually be my first venison foray -- my meatloaf consisted of beef, pork & veal, no deer!)

                              1. re: intuitive eggplant

                                thanks for your suggestions. I ended up making a (very delicious!) shepherd's pie, cooking the ground venison w/ onion, garlic, cumin, coriander & thyme (I wanted to flavor it in case it tasted too gamy!), red wine, worcestshire, and then in turkey stock.
                                Put in dish w/ layer of frozen corn from the summer, then mashed potatoes w/ cream, milk & 2 egg yolks, sprinkled w/ paprika and baked. Very delicious!

                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                  I heard a tip from Ted Nugent about removing the gamy flavor from deer meat and it worked really well for me. There is a very clear film on the surface of the muscle group that imparts a lot of the gamy flavor. If you can pinch up that clear film and remove it, you can make the meat almost taste like beef. When I butcher my deer, I do my best to remove it. A lot of hunters skip this step because it is time consuming, but it works great for me.

                                  1. re: sunshinedrop

                                    Interesting. As much as I dread the task when my husband brings home a deer, we have never found a venison processor that could be trusted to treat the meat properly. I always remove "silverskin" as the husband calls it.

                                    With "stew meat" I make daube or "beef" burgandy. With ground, I combine at a ratio of about 1/2 venison, 1/4 beef, 1/4 lamb and make meat loaf. I have also used similar ratios to make meatballs and ragu bolognese.

                              2. Those are all good suggestions. Also nice are the traditional puree side dishes of French cuisine: pureed celery root, pureed potatoes (creamy mashed), pureed chestnuts, and somebody help me out here because I'm suddenly blanking on the fourth one...

                                1. Ditto the daube idea. If the meat gives off a lot of blood as it defrosts, skip the daube and make a civet.

                                  One of my favourites is grilled tenderloin (or similar cut) with a zingy red wine reduction sauce: www.chowhound.com/topics/show/308216#...

                                  Another Montreal resto, Au Pied du Cochon, has shown that ground venison makes a fantastic substitute for beef in shepherd's pie, especially when there's a layer of corn between the meat and the potatoes.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: carswell

                                    Shepherd's pie it is for moi!

                                    civet?? qu'est-ce que ce?

                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                      Civet is a stew traditionally made from game (wild rabbit, wild boar, venison, etc.), pearl onions and lardons (bacon chunks). The braising liquid is typically red wine with some of the animal's blood being added as a thickener at the end. To prevent coagulation, you should add a splash of red wine vinegar to the blood after collecting it, add it to the stew only minutes before serving, warm it gradually before adding it to the stew (by stirring hot stew juices into it a tablespoonful at a time) and not let the stew reach the boiling point after it's been added.

                                  2. My brother in law, a huge hunter, always has some tasty venison treats when we visit. This thanksgiving he gave us about 2 pounds of venison sausage. We just heat up a few links with breakfast-delicious!

                                    1. If you have the back strap (tenderloin) and you want to slow cook some aps, here is what I do. Take your meat and cut into 1x1x2 pieces, place into a large zip top bag and pour a can of Dr. Pepper over the meat. Seal and let marinade for 2 hours to overnight. Remove meat from bag and pat dry. You need about 1.5lb thick cut smoked bacon (12-14 count peppered if you can find it), cilantro, serranos or jalapenos -seeded, stemmed and sliced into slivers(use your judgement on heat tolerance of your crowd), cream chese cut into .5x.5x1 inch pieces. Get your smoker ready for both initial direct heat and about an hour of indirect heat cooking at 225F. press out your bacon strips and cut in half, place a piece of meat, piece of cheese, small amount of cilantro and sliver of chili pepper about 1/3rd into the bacon and roll the bacon around the bundle. Take a tooth pick and secure. Take your bundles and place over the direct flame. You are just looking to give the bacon a head start, you will have flame ups, and you will need to watch your bundles closely. This should take about 10 minutes to start the bacon on all sides, then transfer to the other side of your smoker/grill, close the lid and let smoke for about 40 min - to one hour. I make a great sauce of fresh mayo with cilantro, serranos and lots of lime juice. You can use store bought mayo for this sauce, just use the best you can find in your market. This recipe works great with dove breasts as well, and I have had these with chucks of pineapple inside. The Dr. Pepper helps tenderize the meat.

                                      1. Venison lasagna: Just substitute the Italian sausage/ground beef for vension. Brown the venision very quickly and drain. Simmer the sauce slowly over very low heat with the venison for a couple hours. Your friends and family won't know what hit 'em!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Johnny Pastrami

                                          Simmering the ground venison in turkey stock (hey, it's what I had post-Thanksgiving!) for 1/2 hr after cooking in wine and Worcestshire seemed to flavor the meat well for my shepherd's pie. I liked it better than ground beef, which I actually do not like.

                                        2. The trick to clean tasting venison is quick cleaning, cooling and drying after the kill (and hopefully the deer didn't run). Finally, the both the gamey taste, and slight metallic tang, can be mitigated by adding vineagar to your marinade. We typically use a cheap Shiraz and add apple cider vineagar and marinate for 8 hrs minimum (you can let it sit in there for 48 hrs in the fridge without overpowering the deer with red wine/vineagar). It makes the meat very sweet. Also strongly recommend that it be served rare, even in stews. It takes a LONG time to break down in a stew if not. Finally, before I started hunting, I was told that mule deer is way stronger than whitetail. Wrong. I suspect the flavor has a mostly to do with how it's treated after it is killed.

                                          1. Find tamrind paste. It's awesome with venison. I've made stew with tamrind paste and numerous other sauces and glazes. I think you can get it at Mexican or Indian markets. Or find the pulpy seed pods directly and work with those. Let me know if you try something!

                                            http://www.nzvenison.com/english/reci...

                                            There's one recipe...

                                            http://www.nzvenison.com/english/reci...

                                            And there's a whole list for you.

                                            1. Not to brag, but I have won several wild game cookoffs with this recipe for the backstrap(tenderloin). It and the shanks are the oly part of the deer that I'll mess with, other than for sausage or chili.
                                              Venison with currant sauce
                                              marinade:
                                              2T.black soy sauce
                                              3 cloves garlic minced fine
                                              1/2 tsp paprika
                                              1 T. coarse ground black pepper
                                              1/4 c. olive oil
                                              1/2 tsp. ginger powder
                                              cut backstrap in half then cut thick portion into 1/4ths lenghtwise and the back into halves lengthwise, so you have six portions about the size of a smallish pork tenderloin. mix marinade in a ziplock big enough for the meat and add the meat,squishing it around to make sure marinade is in contact with all surfaces. refrigerate for 1-2 hrs.
                                              build hot charcoal fire in grill (I like to use lump type charcoal and add several chunks of mesquite). when fire is hot(I mean hot;750-800degrees0 sear the loin pieces about 1 minute on each of all 4 sides. the meat should be crusty on the outside and about 105 (nearly purple)in the middle. remove the loins from the fire and cover loosley with foil and let rest.
                                              sauce:
                                              1/2 cup dried currants
                                              1/3 cup cognac or decent brandy
                                              1 6-8 oz. jar red currant jelly
                                              1 tsp powdered ginger
                                              1/2 c. demi glace(you can use condensed consomme in a pinch, it's just a little more salty)
                                              1 stick unsalted butter cut 1/2"dice
                                              black pepper

                                              in a microwave safe cup or bowl, put cognac and currants with cove and micro for about 20-30 seconds till hot but not boiling. let sit with cover on for about 5-10 minutes till currants plump. in a heavy saucepan, add the jelly and heat while stirring to keep from scorching. it should thin some. add the currants(reserving the remaining cognac),ginger,consomme/demi glace and a few grinds of pepper. bring to boil while stirring.for 5 min after it boils, add the cognac reduce the heat to med-low, and add the butter a few pieces at a time while stirring to incorporate. Slive the loins into medallions about 2/3" thick and nap with the hot sauce. serve with polenta or rice.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: chazzerking

                                                The level of the "gamey" flavor in venison comes mostly from the deer's diet. If you have any doubt about this, compare the meat of an animal that spent it's life in swamps and forests vs. corn fields. For example, the venison of the upper peninsula of Michigan tastes drastically different from that of the lower peninsula. Also, venison from northern minnesota tastes quite different from that of southern minnesota. I prefer "gamey" venison but that's because I grew up on it and continue to replenish the stores each fall with it. In my opinion, corn-fed venison tastes too plain. Give it to me natural.

                                                1. re: chazzerking

                                                  Sounds like a tasty recipe! So future readers are clear, the backstrap is above the ribs, full length of the deer, the tenderloin is below the ribs near the hindquarters.

                                                2. It is also great in goulash.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Megiac

                                                    Or stoganoff with lots of wild mushrooms,

                                                  2. I lived for a couple of years in a house with a hunter-I think I cooked everything that ever lived in any north american forest :)))) So, I have a suggestion regarding a marinade. I experminented a lot with these and the one that made deer meat the most tender and took out a bad smell was...apple sauce. Yes, I would put several jars of unsweetend apple sauce in a pot with a piece of raw meat, and then cooked it gently for an hour or two. Then I would rinse it with water, dry it, season with spices, put pieces of bacon around it baked it until tender. Rememeber that juniper berries are your best friend when you cook any wild animal!

                                                    1. 1-kabobs on the grill (include pineapple for sure)
                                                      2-season meat with salt and pepper, add potatoes, onions, and meat to a baking dish and cover with cream of mushroom soup
                                                      3-tenderloin is great fried; just soak medallions in buttermilk (regular milk is fine as well) for a few hours or overnight, bread, and quickly fry. Make sure your oil is hot; as a few others have mentioned, cooking too long will make the meat tough. Try dipping it in honey (I don't know what part of the country you're in, but if you can get Tupelo honey DO.)
                                                      4-I'm making a tenderloin and backstrap tomorrow, and I'm just searing them then throwing them in the crockpot with carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, herbs and probably a combo of beef consumé and water or wine.
                                                      5-If you can get ahold of certain jellies (beautyberry, blackberry, other 'wild' fruits) sear or fry the meat and serve with the jelly. Sweet sauces go great with venison.

                                                      Also, wild game goes great with wild mushrooms. There are plenty of great identification guides out there, you can get one at Barnes and Noble for less than $10.

                                                      You can never go wrong if you think about it like this: what could I feasibly use if I were in the woods cooking this?