Venison is a kind of meat that is disliked by some due to its distinctive flavor and well-loved by others for the same reason.
The name comes from the Latin word “venari” which means “to hunt” referring to deer meat and but can also mean meat from other bigger game animals like buffalo, wild boar, antelope, and elk. But today’s venison meat served on our table are mainly from pasture-raised deer.
Although venison from hunted deer has much more “gaminess” appeal, venison from commercially raised deer has gained a positive acceptance among meat lovers.
Venison when cooked properly has much better flavor than all other meat. There are several ways to cook venison. It can be grilled, slow-cooked, or marinated, depending on your preference. Regardless of your cooking style choice, venison should not be overcooked or you will end up having a slice of dry meat.
For this type of preparation, the venison should be ready in no time as the meat is lean. For a thicker slice of meat or over 2 inches, it must be grilled on medium heat to ensure even cooking. Store the meat at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before grilling.
While allowing the grill to get hot enough, sprinkle enough amount of salt and pepper on both sides of the meat. But you should do this a minute before grilling. Do not add salt to your meat earlier than what’s advised as the salt will dry your meat. You can grill the venison on a skillet or hot grill for the meat to cook evenly. If you have a charcoal grill, better use it as the smokiness brings out the natural flavor of the meat.
On a hot grill, sear venison for at least 3 minutes on each side. Then, remove from the grill and set aside. Allow the meat to cool down for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Cut across the grain to ensure you have a tender piece of meat.
Slow cooking is the easiest way to prepare venison. A hearty meal during fall or winter; you can never go wrong with a tender, juicy, and flavorful venison dish.
Put the meat in a slow cooker. Then add herbs, spices, and seasonings that you like. You can add red wine or beef broth, vegetables like potatoes or peas as well. Cover and slow cook for hours or until desired consistency is achieved. Once cooked, you can pair it with bread or anything that suits your taste.
Another method that you can try is to sear the venison first in the slow cooker, then set it aside. Using the same pot, add spices of your choice, seasoning, broth, or water if necessary before adding back the seared venison. Cover it then slow cook for hours.
Whether you like it roasted, BBQ, or steak, marinating venison will add taste to the natural flavor of venison. If you want to mask the game-y flavor, you may soak the venison in milk overnight. Another option is to use vinegar together with your favorite spices. You may also use a ready-made BBQ sauce along with spices and herbs. Or you can make your own BBQ sauce for a personalized flavor.
If you can’t wait to have your venison dish, you can have the meat marinated for at least 4 to 6 hours and it should be ready to cook. Preferably, it is best to use a glass container so the flavors won’t seep into the plastic container. But a re-sealable vacuum container bag will do. However, the bag needs to lay flat inside the fridge so that the meat will be evenly marinated.
Once ready, you can have it as steak, roasted, or slow-cooked. You can pair it with rice, vegetables, or have it shredded for sandwich, burger, or taco.
Cooking methods depend on the type of meat. Please check the additional information below to help you prepare your meat and your venison dishes properly.
- Tenderloins – the most tender part of the meat which can be prepared for stir-fried dishes, steak, or stews.
- Belly, neck, and lower rib – these parts can be cut and grounded which will be perfect for burger patty, sausage, casseroles, and taco.
- Sirloins – make great steaks when properly tenderized.
Do not limit your options based on what you read online. You can create your own venison dish if you like. Or if you have a favorite beef recipe, you can replace it with venison. When prepared and cooked properly, venison is a lump of great meat with a distinctive flavor.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.