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Feb 23, 2011 05:40 AM

Venison Meatloaf

I'm new to eating and cooking venison. We have lots in our freezer. Any good recipes for ground venison? I'd like to try doing a meatloaf tonite for dinner. Tips are appreciated on cooking the meatloaf, I found one recipe that called for 350 for 70 mins. this seems long to me, I don't want it to be tough and overcooked! Our butcher packed the venison in way too many steaks and ground meat, IMO. He did not label the steak cuts, either, like shoulder or rump. Sadly, no roasts.

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  1. Not familiar with cooking times but don't forget venison is going to be much leaner than beef. You may want to include something with a bit of fat (bacon?)

    1. yeah many places grind up everything that isn't a steak. Steak cuts could be either from the back legs (looks just like leg of lamb steaks but dark dark red). Back strap is a popular steak as well.

      Is the meat mixed with anything? If it isn't I suggest looking at recipes for chicken or turkey meatloaf to get an idea of how many eggs and how much bread to get it to hold together.

      If it has pork or chuck mixed in (many butchers do this for you) it can be treated like any other meatloaf.

      I recommend seasoning kind of lightly and if you do it at all put a very thin glaze. Garlic and Worcestershire sauce are great with venison. Rosemary isn't bad either but go easy. Many a folk suggest juniper with game but I haven't tried it personally.

      1. We stopped sending our deer out to be processed and started doing it ourselves because even though we filled out forms to have it cut the way we wanted it, it never came back that way. And it really P'd me off to have the back straps come back in chunks or slices (or not at all in one instance) instead of whole as I specified.

        I sometimes mix a little ground pork into the venison when making meatloaf to help with the moisture issue. When I don't, I lay strips of bacon over the top of it before putting it in the oven. In either one I dip a couple of slices of bread in milk, squeeze them out, and then tear them up and mix in. One large egg per pound of meat and the same add-ins I use for beef meatloaf: chopped onion and green pepper, ketchup, a spoonful of prepared mustard, dash of worcestershire sauce, couple of generous pinches of dried mixed herbs, s&p. Into the oven at 375F for about 45 minutes for a roughly pound size loaf, maybe an hour for a larger one.

        I save the juniper berries and rosemary for roasts which, sadly, you didn't get.

        I'd also check in to getting another processor or learning to do it yourself. Processing a deer isn't difficult. It's a little time consuming the first time but as with anything, you get more adept with practice. I can get a skinned deer into the freezer on my own in 2 hours now using a knife and a hacksaw when I need to saw through bones. The other advantage to doing your own is you have the bones and scrap to cook down into stock.

        This is a great book to have if you decide to do your own processing:

        2 Replies
        1. re: morwen

          Thanks for your ideas! I actually cut a deer for a family member for the first time last season...I have the book "Gut it, Cut it, and Cook It". It took me about 5 hours. My experience working at a butcher when I was fresh out of HS was helpful as well. My payment was the backstrap, and a couple roasts. We did not have any ground.

          This year, I just didn't have the time to do my husband's deer. After this experience, I will make the extra effort. I guess not all butchers think of cooks who want more variety from their meats. And I know what you mean, I was really aggravated too that this guy cut the backstraps into 5" sections. When I defrosted the package, I was like WTF? It was packaged whole, I thought it was one. If they were separate, I could have at least used them for more than one meal. Lesson learned!!

          I'll try the bacon on top since I don't have any ground pork right now!

          1. re: mrsgreer

            Slightly off-topic but you hit on the reason that I always now butcher and wrap my own game. It's so nice to know exactly what's in all of those packages before you thaw them. Not to mention you don't need to deal with the butcher wondering exactly why you want the shanks sliced and the entire neck for a roast....

        2. I've had great luck with incorporating vegetables into the ground venison mixture. I like the leanness of ground venison (I'm not fat-averse at all, but I find mixing, say, pork fat, into the ground venison makes it taste rather more like pork than venison, and I truly like the venison flavor), and when using it tend to want to preserve the leanness. I've been using chopped cooked beets a lot lately, along with panade, some cooked potato, other veg I have that can be finely chopped. Just recently, it was coarsely pureed kimchi (a winner, in my opinion).

          The trick is really not to overcook it. morwen's suggestion of about 45 minutes sounds about right, although I usually go 325ยบ.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cayjohan

            +1 I also like the lean quality, & dislike adding other meats. I usually add onions, carrots, celery, a bit of homemade tomato sauce, and some bread soaked in wine to lighten it up. But I love the kimchi idea, I'm going to give that a try next time!

            BTW try making Marcella Hazan's polpettine recipe with vension. Mmmmmm.

            1. re: cayjohan

              I favor many of the same additions as cayjohan and viscole; to me, the taste of venison is too good to lose out on. Can't wait to try kimchi and beets!

              I usually add fresh spinach- it contributes moisture, flavor, and really dresses up each slice.

              I also add gelatin, and loosely follow the CI recipe for All Beef Glazed Meat Loaf: IMHO, the gelatin really does make a difference. I add half a packet instead of half a teaspoon.

              Good luck- I hope you love venison as much as we do!

              1. re: sccrash

                I just deleted the repeat show and tried 1/2 packet of gelatin in a 500 g ground venison meatloaf ( egg + bread crumbs + gelatin) no panade and didn't get there. Can you remind us of the basic CI proportions in case I got it wrong.

                (as I was writing this I think the no panade was a big boo boo) but can you still remind us of the proportions that may apply to a non-sticky ground venison loaf??

            2. Consider venison chili, also. It makes for the best chili I have ever had.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Veggo

                That's what I use my venison round steak for. Great flavor!