Hunting > Whitetails

The Best Venison Recipes Ever

This old whitetail hunter fell in love with venison years ago. Now I'm out to prove that it's more than just another game meat.

11/10/2010

Venison is much more than food for the deer hunter's soul. It also contributes to a very healthy lifestyle, and serves as a cheap alternative to other meats. Not to mention this mouthwatering meat is typically lower in saturated fat and calories than domestic choices.

Deer feed on naturally occurring forbs and browse that don’t contain antibiotics or growth hormones. Also, helping to keep our burgeoning deer herds in check through hunting and eating what your game is good for the environment. A survey of the energy used to produce and distribute various foods has found that wild-game meat is among the most energy-efficient and least polluting foods in our diet. The analysis includes the manufacture and application of fertilizers and other chemicals, harvesting, processing, packaging, transport and waste disposal.

Nutritionally, the following tables clearly show that, compared to beef, venison is high in protein, low in calories and saturated fat.

Species

% Protein

% Fat

(mg/100g*) Cholesterol

(Kcal/100g*) Calories

Beef (USDA Standard)

22.7       

2.0   

69 

152

Beef (USDA Choice)

22.0

6.5

72

180

Deer (Mule)

23.7

1.3

107

145

Deer (Whitetail)

23.6

1.4

116

149

Some game meat is higher in dietary cholesterol than domestic meats, but the combination of more lean body tissue, less saturated fat and significantly higher percentage of cholesterol-reducing polyunsaturated fatty acids makes wild game a heart-healthy choice.

Species

Saturated (bad fat)

% Fatty Acids (monosaturated)

Polyunsaturated ("good" fat)

Beef

46.3

45.5

8.2

Deer (Mule)

48.0

31.8

20.2

Deer (Whitetail)

45.6

30.5

23.9

*100 grams= 3 1/2 ounces

With ample proof that venison is the way to go, here are my secret venison recipes developed over decades of chasing whitetails.

The Best Venison Burgers Ever!
Please don’t hold it against me, but I love to cook. During the summer I am barbecuing at least every other night. Of course, mostly I am cooking wild game or fish.

My wife Cheryl and I love a good hamburger, and venison burgers are our favorites. For us, the key is at the time of harvest. I make sure I meticulously clean the meat, cool it immediately and let it age a bit before processing. We grind our own burger, adding a 5 to 7 percent combination of beef and pork fat—just enough to hold the meat together when we make burgers and give it a tad of flavor, but no more than that.

When I make summer burgers, I often combine two 1/4-pound patties with a surprise in the middle. Here’s what you do. Pat out four 1/4-lb. patties. On top of one patty place a couple of long mild green chile slices (remove the seeds first!), and a piece of your favorite cheese (we like Pepperjack.) Now place the other patty on top, and be sure to close the sides of the double patty up.

Grill over a medium flame, the key being to cook the burgers slowly so they are cooked through and the cheese inside melts. I season mine with a little garlic salt, coarse black pepper, and celery salt. In the house, Cheryl has cooked a few strips of bacon and toasted onion buns. We serve the burgers on the buns and add the bacon, dill pickle slices, red onion slices and some fresh avocado. To top it all off, a fresh garden salad, some Boston baked beans and salty Kettle chips will be washed down with a fine microbrew pale ale outside on the deck.
 
Grilled Venison Backstrap Supreme

I covet venison backstrap as much as Ebenezer Scrooge coveted money. There is so much meat from a big deer and so little of those tender, tasty backstraps that one hates to cook them poorly.
           
In summer, we barbecue a lot, and backstraps on the grill are the centerpiece of one of our favorite meals. Here’s how we do it.
           
First, I soak the backstraps in salt water to get every iota of blood out of the meat. Once that’s done, I rinse them in cold fresh water and pat them dry. Then I trim all the viscera and fat away, leaving nothing but pure meat.
           
For this simple recipe you’ll need about 2 pounds of backstraps cut into thick little 2-inch chunks. You’ll also need a quart of sweet apple cider, 2 pounds of bacon, one large red onion and 24 ounces of your favorite barbecue sauce.
           
To start, place the venison chunks in a shallow baking dish wide enough to keep from having to pile them on top of each other. Pour the apple cider over them, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove the chunks from the cider, pat them dry, and set them aside while you wash and dry the dish. Return the chunks to the dish and cover them with the barbecue sauce, then refrigerate until its time to cook them—at least 3 hours.
           
Before cooking, take the meat out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature. While you preheat the grill to high heat, wrap each meat chunk with a slice of bacon and a thin slice of onion, holding it all together with a wooden toothpick. Coat the grill with cooking spray or brush it with olive oil to keep the meat from sticking. Now place the meat onto the grill, making sure there is some air between each chunk. I keep a small squirt bottle of water handy and when the bacon drippings start kicking up flames, squirt them down without putting out my fire. Turn them occasionally until the bacon becomes a little burnt
usually about 20 minutes.

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48 Responses to The Best Venison Recipes Ever

Carl Bailey wrote:
December 07, 2014

How in the world do you get viscera on backstraps? The viscera is no where near them. We're you referring to the inner tenderloins by chance?

Tara wrote:
December 01, 2014

We have always soaked the deer meat in milk/buttermilk over night. Roll it in onion ring batter mix and deep fry. Don't make a batter. Just roll in the powder. Melt in your mouth goodness!

PamscooknTx wrote:
November 22, 2014

I have a venison leg that I want to cook in the oven. Any suggestions for recipes and techniques are greatly appreciated!

ED wrote:
November 15, 2014

Using deer or elk sausage to make the gravy for biscuits and gravy is a meal that is certainly made in heaven.

mohee wrote:
November 14, 2014

I love venison steak but this meat is rich in purine that is very bad for health. Your idea ?

John L wrote:
November 14, 2014

Had to laugh at the cheap alternative to other meats comment. I am in the west and I figure my venison costs about $35 per pound and my crappie and trout are about the same. Still worth it nonetheless.

Ricky wrote:
November 13, 2014

Why in the world would you soak the best part of a deer in salt water? Would you soak a filet from the butcher this way? Not!!! Tenderized back straps make the best and most tender smothered steaks you would ever sink a fork into.

john m wrote:
November 02, 2014

any venison meat cubed up butter (1/4 stick) green and red peppers cut up to 1/2' size add jagermister liqure and half a can of your favorite beer cook fast and hot (don't over cook) serve by the camp fire watch for your fingers as my kids might bite them by mistake they love it quick and simple

Jay wrote:
March 23, 2014

After a marinade of cheap Italian dressing, mustard and soy sauce, I make a dry breading of Wondra flour and favorite seasonings and fire up the deep fyer, after about 3min. of cooking @ 375 oil temp set on heavy paper towel and serve. Been doing this for years and everyone loves it.

Wilm Butcher wrote:
December 25, 2013

Vona, You are absolutely correct! I love back strap grilled rubbed with garlic salt and pepper. I will take a large vidalia onion, cut a 2' slice out of the middle, push the core out and place a 2' slice of backstrap into the onion slice, bacon wrap the whole thing and grill. YUMMY GOOD! http://tinyurl.com/lzkrosa

Vona Priest wrote:
November 20, 2013

Unless you've shot a male who is rutting, please do not soak the meat in vinegar! It takes the wonderful game flavour out of it. And deer is lean - it needs a bit of suet to bring out the flavour. And cube a piece and serve it. Raw. Or thin slicely (like sashimi) with salt and chopped green onion. The standard recipes for stews and chilies are boring - you're just cooking it like beef. Stuffed heart is excellent as is deer kidney and deer stew meat pie. Just don't cook it like beef or you won't really taste the difference.

Mick wrote:
July 02, 2013

Deer heart is good? Bugger. I just got a fallow deer, no ordinary achievement here in Australia, and we left the heart behind when we field dressed it. I shoulda known, I've always liked roast lamb and beef hearts, why wouldn't deer heart be good.

Ryan wrote:
February 24, 2013

Take a loin or hind quarter steak and slice in 1/4 " to 1/2" slices. Season with salt/pepper/garlic powder. Then fry in butter and add just a couple pinches or brown sugar as a glazing. Also use the same recipe with sauteed onions added. Just doesnt get any better!

Arnie wrote:
January 29, 2013

As I do love backstrap with just a little salt/pepper, I also like to drop it a a 50/50 solution of soy sauce and either Italian or vinaigrette dressing and grill, either with bacon wrapped around or not. This is one of my kids' favorites! Can't wait to try some of the ideas here!

Bill wrote:
December 28, 2012

Soaking the blood out of any meat (not to mention the best venison cut) is as bad as chilling a Merlot, or worse.

coaching fools wrote:
December 21, 2012

Coach just pooted out all of your great recipes...he's more excited than me. I guess that's in part to the fact that he doesn't have to cook. Has anyone ever met a golden who loves to hunt deer??? Ducks are a different story, but this is crazy!

Keith wrote:
December 18, 2012

I used Anthony Bourdain's beef bourguignon recipe but I substituted venison for beef. Pretty awesome and simple. Any cut works, backstrap was the best.

chelsea wrote:
December 04, 2012

this is how to back strap. Cut it up into slices. Soak in milk for 10 mins. Then dip it in flour and seasonings mixture ( lawrys, Creole, pepper,). We use vegetable oil and fey on a medium temp. Till side is brown ( not black) and flip. Meat comes out juicy and tender with an amazing taste!!!! Never fails

Cheryl Carnes wrote:
December 03, 2012

I have a lot of deer hamburger meat from a white tail my roommate shot. Made some awesome spaghetti and burgers, but I'm looking for something to cook it with that will challenge me a little more, always looking for new ideas

roger hollenbeck wrote:
December 02, 2012

Ok backstrap lovers. Lawry's season salt. Hot pan. Smack smack hotfast. Bread.n butter.your hooked up. If ifs a holiday try onion soup mix.in the fry. .30 years and its still top shelf. Michigan food.

Lefty wrote:
November 26, 2012

I have to admit, I tried the bacon wrapped recipe last night for the first time. It wasn;t bad, but I agree with Glen and the others below. Nothing beats the flavor of rare venison meat, with nothing but a little sea salt and black pepper. And the soaking; I'm not sure where that came from. I think that the blood adds a flavor and gives you a great base for a sauce or gravy. Enjoy your meats...

Gerry wrote:
November 17, 2012

I add 1/2 lb sausage to 2lb venison burger. I also use red cooking wine with burger to keep it good and moist. You also can use your cuts in all your normal recipes.

Michele wrote:
November 15, 2012

Ok back strap fans I have an outstanding recipe for you filet blackstrap open but not all the way through rub with some pork rub or just sea salt and pepper, layer with sliced tomatoe prosciutto and fresh baby spinach, fold back together, wrap in thick cut bacon maybe two to three slices (wrap around it) not only does this hold it together but moistens the meat because venison tends to dry out, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes take out let it rest remove bacon drizzle with a balsamic reduction I serve this with rosemary red potatoes and salad and it is a big hit for many in my kitchen for years You can do this on the grill also just put strap in foil and low heat same time maybe a few minutes more, it's delicious I have more I have been cooking venison since I was 17 I am over 40 now and I think I have learned to use every part of the deer in every different recipe, I am trying neck this year husband had it in Canada and I hear it is moist delicious will share after i try

Jenn wrote:
November 07, 2012

Deer sausage is great for anything else you would use normal pork sausage for. I actually use it to make meat sauce for spaghetti (in place of ground beef). It's also great on a hoagie roll or in a pita pocket with sautéed onion and bell pepper and melted swiss cheese.

Lisa wrote:
November 06, 2012

I was given about 4 lbs of Venison Sausage, anyone with some Awesome Recipes?? I have made Venison Stew oh so long ago but never had the pleasure of Venison Sausage. Maybe in a Lasagna in combination with other meats ? Need some Hints Please & Awesome Recipes

Terrie wrote:
November 04, 2012

Y'all just don't know, the BEST secret to back strap! Allow OKLAHOMA/MISSOURI to school ya....Cut into medallions,add Italian dressing ( I hate Italian dressing but it is awesome this way), yellow mustard. Pour enough dressing to cover the meat, add mustard (about 1part mustard to 3parts dressing), soak at least 24hrs, then roll in flour and fry on high heat until light to golden brown. Salt to taste (the salt is KEY...salt it like a french fry!!! YUMMM

Tracy wrote:
July 15, 2012

Do you have any good recipes for using venison bacon? All I can think of is using it for a BLT but that's getting a little boring and the texture and taste of venison bacon is so different from pork.

beryl wrote:
May 17, 2012

can i stew venison like beef or lamb

TJ wrote:
October 21, 2011

Venison Burgers: add an egg and some Italian breadcrumbs to your ground venison, black pepper to taste and chopped onions. Mix all ingredients well, form your burgers and hit the grill!

Curt wrote:
February 06, 2011

Deer heart: Fresh on the day of the kill. Makes a great lunch. Clean, cut into slices, fry in olive oil with a little garlic salt. Very rich taste.

ZEKE----WASHINGTON STATE-Home of the Blacktail wrote:
February 02, 2011

Yeah, yeah, yeah,--all sound good----I put 1 cup of cornmeal, 1 cup of flour, in a zip-lock bag,put back-strap in bag, shake untill coated,1 half cube butter,dash or two olive oil, tbs.shortning, cast iron skillet, brown both sides, med. rare is the best for me, plus a lot of elbow room.---Try it you`ll like it !!!

Craig wrote:
January 29, 2011

Hi venison lovers, try this family favorite of ours. In Western NY we take a backstrap, clean and remove all skin. Then take a Jaccard pin tenderizer and poke the meat with the needles each way to tenderize. In saucepan, melt 1/4 stick butter, 3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed, fresh ground pepper and bring to slow rolling boil. Turn up flame add about two ounces of sherry or marsala wine and simmer for two mins. Put prepared meat in ziploc bag, add mixture to it and let sit a minimum of two hours. Grill to desired doneness. enjoy!

Tom wrote:
January 26, 2011

My wife and I prefer to use deer heart for a stir-fry. It's tender if cooked quickly and very flavorful. Yes, it takes a little more work to remove the arteries, etc., but well worth the effort.

john wrote:
January 25, 2011

bacon and backstraps is good. I agree with the recipe but do mine a little different. I make a soak of red wine vinegar, dales seasoning sauce, citrus of choice and whatever dry season you favor. I let mine soak for atleast 3 days, 5 max. The meat will be so tender that tyou can pinch it between your fingers. The moisture of the soak infuses into the meat giving it the moisture it needs to prevent drying out. Of course for best results cook on an extrememly high heat to almost rare, then remove. I've fed mine to atleast 100 different people over the years and 80% of thm say it is the best vension they've ever had!

Glen wrote:
January 25, 2011

I value venison tenderloins more than the finest kobe beef in the world. There is no way I'm going to hide the taste with bacon or barbecue sauce. I'll baste them with a little olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on that. Period. Why ruin what God created as the perfect cut of meat by adding sauce and bacon. Maybe with dove breasts, but not with venison tenderloin.

Mark wrote:
January 24, 2011

I add chopped onion to my burger before making the patties to give the burgers moisture when cooking. i also found using a burger press makes them a uniform size.

Phil wrote:
January 23, 2011

Sounds like Kurt is afraid to try new things. The recipies sound great. Thawing out a strap now and plan to fire up the grill this evening. Thanks for the information.

Amanda wrote:
January 22, 2011

I've been an avid hunter for many years. I'm always up for trying new recipes. Never diss it til you try it :) What's good for one person, may not be good for another, but it doesn't mean other people wont like it.

Ray wrote:
January 22, 2011

For backstraps, Try marinating over night in italian dressing and use for fondu the next day. Outstanding!

David wrote:
January 21, 2011

If anyone is interested I have a "Bowl of Venison Red" recipe that guys at my deer camp beg me to make annually. Just contact me at daventrinka@verizon.net and I will share it.

Ted wrote:
January 21, 2011

just tried the stir fry with cubed round steak, outstanding!!

TomGallopavo wrote:
January 21, 2011

Try this with your backstraps: Grind a a small pile of rosemary and corriander in a food processor...a teaspoon of each will do. And a couple big cloves of garlic. Now drip in olive oil till it is a paste. Dry your backstap then coat the whole thing with the paste. Cover and put in the fridge at least an hour. Heat oven to 450. Heat a cast-iron skillet nice and hot. Sear venison on all sides while hitting it with some salt and pepper as well. If you like it rare like I do, get the pan HOT. When brown throw into the oven. Cook till about 120/125 for medium rare. I like mine rare...so less. Get meat out, cover, set aside. I use a warming drawer. In the skillet the meat was in, place on burner and add a good splash of your best red wine...1/4 or 1/3 cup, deglase. Cook till you can't smell the alcohol...a minute or two. Add about a 1/4 cup of frozen cherries thawed (or fresh if your lucky). I get mine off a tree in the summer and freeze them but Walmart has them. Bring to a boil. Add 3/4 cup beef broth (or venison broth if you made some with your bones). Put one teaspoon of cornstarch in 1/4 cup of cold water and some more rosemary...a little pile. Add mixture to skillet stirring constantly till thick and yummy. Add a big spoon of black (or red) currant jelly. If you can't find that I have used rasberry jam with equally good results. Salt and pepper to taste...pour a puddle on a plate, and a portion of venison, and more sauce on top...eat. Drink the rest of the wine. Chew slow, open second bottle...yea, yup. Backstraps are mighty fine. I cannot take credit for this recipe it lives somewhere in cyberland. I hope you enjoy. Tom

Kurt wrote:
January 21, 2011

Why would you ever put bacon on your backstraps? All you get is bacon flavor. And barbecue sauce? Save that for the cheap cuts. I would never give you venison to cook. Venison burgers - just take your ground vension and make patties out of it. If for some reason they are not holdign together well, just add a little water. This way you can grill them from rare to medium. Your cheese idea does sound good. Venison backstraps - cut into 1 1/4 inch medallions for those that like it rare, 3/4 inch for medium well. Skewer through top and bottom, you can keep them plain, or sprinkle with garlic powder or favorite seasoning salt (I like montreal steak), and grill for 2 minutes per side on a high heat. Your rare and medium well should be done at the same time. Venison has such a great taste why cover it or add bad fat, like pork, to it?

Bud wrote:
January 21, 2011

Cutting backstrap into chunks, marinating in bbq sauce and wrapping in onion and bacon is what one does to wild duck -- not to the best cut on a deer! Backstrap was meant to be cleaned up per the suggestion, then brushed with a little olive oil, coated in Montreal Steak Seasoning and grilled... take off when still rare in the middle and the leftover heat will bring it to medium in a few minutes. Best recipes ever? How about dumbest backstrap recipe ever!

Don wrote:
January 19, 2011

These all sound real good. I will have to try them. I do allot of deer hunting. Have for years and one way I like them best to cut the steaks into chunks and make a simple strogonoff with them. I add some mushrooms and put it over wide egg noodles.

Ted wrote:
January 19, 2011

How done do you cook whitetail backstraps. I've never eaten rare venison. thx

Chuck wrote:
January 19, 2011

Thanks for these recipies. I am always eager to try different stuff with my venison. Try this. Cut backstraps into steaks. Put plenty of dry rub on all external surfaces. Place in ziplock and cover meat with olive oil. Refrigerate 4 hours. Cook on as hot a grill as you can get. Five minutes per side.

Bill wrote:
November 11, 2010

I don't like to cook, but I do like to eat good food. So, I've found that in order to eat well - I have to cook. These recipes are very similar to what I have come up with over the years. You all would do well to try them! Tweak them as necessary to suit your own needs.