Our Favorite Venison Recipes
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My family likes to hunt deer and elk in the fall, whether in Kansas or Colorado. In fact, we practically lived on venison meat for the first 15 years of our marriage. During that time, I learned how to best prepare the ground burger, steaks, and roasts. Some of the recipes were okay. Some were amazing. For anyone out there who has wild game in their freezer, I thought it might be good to share Our Favorite Venison Recipes with you!
(Post modified with new photos on 1/1/23.)
For many years, my husband and I did all the processing of the meat ourselves, grinding the burger, cutting up the steaks, roasts, and backstraps, and packaging it for the freezer. Now, with the addition of our sons-in-law, which equates into a lot more deer meat, we’ve opted to keep the backstraps and haul everything else to the butcher. This seems to work well, plus we have the option of ordering summer sausage and jerky sticks!
What Does Wild Game Taste Like?
Wild game cooks much like beef, except it is leaner, denser, darker, and possibly more tough. Sometimes it is gamey, depending on the deer. So for those of you out there who have never tasted deer, gaminess might be described as a strong, earthy flavor and smell. It comes from having lived and grazed in the wild. What the animal eats and the amount of fat involved. Yes, many deer in SE Kansas eat corn and grain, but they don’t live on it.
Gaminess also has to do with how old the animal is. The older the deer, the more gamey it will be. And hormones. If you’re hunting a bull or buck near its rutting season, it’s going to taste gamey. That said, we’ve had deer and elk meat (usually a doe or cow) that tasted nearly as good as beef, so it just depends.
How to Remove Gamey Taste in Meat
So, how do you reduce the gamey taste and smell of the meat? There are a few ways, but they all involve soaking or marinating. You could soak the meat in milk overnight in the refrigerator, soak it in a saltwater brine, or soak it in beer or wine, which is the way I prefer to deal with it. This also has the added benefit of tenderizing the meat, which is also good.
Now that we’ve covered a lot of the bases, let’s move on to our favorite recipes–ten of them!
Ten of Our Favorite Venison Recipes
#1 – Our granddaughter adores this stew. We’ve nicknamed it “Mountain Stew” because we always make Chunky Venison Stew when we go camping in the mountains. It is one of our favorite stews, and I love to serve my Country Biscuits or Savory Southwest Biscuits with it.
#2 – After much trial and error in cooking with venison, I learned the best recipes for using the roasts, steaks, and burger. This Thick Venison Chili recipe is one that uses ground venison burger.
We have found when processing ground venison that it tastes better if you add a little beef tallow (or lard) to the meat to give it more flavor as well as add some fat to the very lean meat. We suggest between 15-20% of tallow works well, to give it 85/15 or 80/20 ratio.
#3- Whether I’m cooking with ground venison or beef, this recipe for Venison Burgers with Fry Sauce is a winner. It’s easy to make and adding the homemade fry sauce takes it to the next level that will make your family smile with satisfaction.
#4 & #5 – Meatballs are a great way to use ground venison, as the recipes call for a lean meat. Plus, the following two recipes are baked in a sauce, which helps tenderize the meat, and I like the added flavor that the venison gives the meatballs. I’ll often combine 1/2 venison with 1/2 ground beef, pork sausage, or even ground turkey when using these two recipes.
#6, #7, and #8 – Mexican Food is also another great choice for using the ground venison or steaks in your freezer. The added spices work really well with the flavor of the meat. And I like that it is lean and not fatty. My three top choices for Mexican food is Beef Fajitas, Ground Beef and Bean Enchiladas, and Ground Beef Taco Meat. Here again, I will often combine 1/2 venison with 1/2 ground beef to help balance the flavor.
#9 – I would be remiss if I didn’t include Venison Jerky in this list of favorites. We’ve been making this recipe for many years now to give as gifts, and also to use for snacks, or for taking on vacations. This recipe for Venison Jerky easily compares to what you might buy at specialty shops. It’s very well seasoned and not hard to make.
#10 – Last, and certainly not least, is my recipe for Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce that I made last year with one of my son-in-laws. Start with a pan-seared elk tenderloin fillet, brushed with Dijon mustard, cloaked in mushroom Duxelles and prosciutto, and then wrapped in a homemade sourdough puff pastry that has been baked to golden perfection. Finish off by topping it with a generous spoonful of silky Madeira sauce that has simmered in a demi-glace sauce of vegetables and herbs. This recipe may also be used to make two smaller Venison (deer) Wellingtons.
I hope this list of venison recipes will serve you well. If you have a favorite way to cook venison, I’d love for you to share with me in the comments below! See more Venison and Wild Game Recipes Here. Browse more Entertaining Ideas Here.