Venison Stir Fry

4.97 from 33 votes
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venison stir fry
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

While there is indeed a recipe for venison stir fry at the end of this post, I want to talk more about technique than any specific recipe. I want to show you a Chinese trick that will make any wild game meat tender and juicy. Learn this technique and you will never go back.

I am assuming you’ve had Chinese food at a restaurant, right? Ever notice that the meat is never dried out? There is a reason for that, and that reason is called “velveting.” Velveting is the process of coating the meat with a delicate layer of ingredients, usually involving some sort of starch, and then stir-frying it.

It’s not so much a batter as it is a gossamer layer of protection for what is typically very lean meat. And those of us who cook wild game a lot know all about very lean meat.

I’ve now velveted everything from rabbit to duck to pheasant to venison, and the trick works on any meat. It is a great way to highlight leg steaks or pheasant thighs, but it’s best with lean, tender meat such as backstraps or breast meat.

There are lots of ways to velvet meat. Some are uber simple: Marinate it in soy, cooking wine and corn starch and proceed to the stir frying. This works pretty well.

A better way, however, is to “pass through” the coated meat in lots of reasonably hot oil. It is the same general idea as double-frying French fries. A quick bath in 275°F oil sets the velvet coating, and helps the meat hold up better under the ferocious heat of a proper stir-fry.

The downside is that you need to use a couple cups of oil. But, you can strain and save the oil for several uses, so it’s not all that bad.

The result will give you that “ah ha!” moment when you realize you have cracked one of the secrets of Chinese cooking. No matter what you include in your venison stir-fry, if you do this velveting trick you will be overjoyed with the texture of the meat. Give it a go. You’ll see.

I have a few other Chinese-inspired venison recipes, if this isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, including kung pao venison and Sichuan venison with cumin.

venison stir-fry recipe
4.97 from 33 votes

Venison Stir-Fry

Consider this a master recipe for any stir-fry you might want to throw together on a Wednesday night. The most important thing is to remember the ingredients and the proportions of the velvet marinade. Everything else is your choice. When making any stir-fry, the work is in the chopping, so do everything before you heat up the wok. Speaking of which, if you don't have a wok and you like Chinese food, you really ought to get one. But a large saute pan will work in a pinch. Also make sure to use your most powerful burner for stir-frying. If you really want to do it right, use one of those outdoor burners that can kick up to 40,000 BTUs.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes



  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon potato or corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons water


  • 1 pound venison, trimmed of fat
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut or other cooking oil
  • 1 to 4 fresh red chiles
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil


  • Slice the venison into thin slivers of about 1/4 inch or less and anywhere from 1 to 3 inches long. Mix with the marinade and set aside while you cut all the other ingredients.
  • Heat the peanut oil in the wok or a large, heavy pot until it reaches 275°F to 290°F. Don't let it get too hot. Add about 1/3 of the venison to the hot oil and use a chopstick or butter knife to separate the meat slices the second they hit the hot oil. Let them sizzle for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove with a Chinese spider skimmer or a slotted spoon. Set aside and cook the remaining venison one-third at a time.
  • Pour out all but about 3 tablespoons of the oil. Save the oil for the next time you cook Chinese food.
  • Get the remaining oil hot over high heat on your hottest burner. The moment it begins to smoke, add the chiles and bell peppers and stir-fry for 90 seconds. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the venison and stir fry 90 seconds.
  • Add the cilantro and soy sauce and stir fry a final 30 seconds, just until the cilantro wilts. Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Serve at once with steamed rice.


Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 1363mg | Potassium: 561mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 965IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Love it! Made with some elk loin. Didn’t have Shaoxing wine or dry sherry, so substituted with rice vinegar in the marinade. Added broccoli and carrots for the vegetables. Way better than restaurant Beef Broccoli and easy to make.

  2. Made this with venison chops and broccoli and it was fantastic! My husband is a Chinese food lover, and he said it tasted like beef and broccoli from a restaurant. The meat was tender and not dry at all. It was a tiny bit on the salty side (though my husband doesn’t mind), but I was guesstimating on the amount of meat and veggies that I put in, so I may have just had too much soy sauce. (I also didn’t have cilantro, which may have helped balance it too.) Next time I might use a low sodium soy sauce.

  3. Wow! Been hearing about delicious venison our son has been eating since moving to Montana (and bear and goat!) Received some lovely venison from a friend and never having cooked it was referred to this recipe and everyone LOVED it!! Particularly appreciated your tips on velveting the meat. YUM! Our son is subletting from Andrea Larsen – she’s the one who recommended your recipes- called them bombproof! ??

  4. Update..used wild turkey breast. Added bamboo shoots and a sweet onion peppers relish. This is a very versatile recipe. Highly recommended. Fantastic!

  5. I made this for dinner tonight. Didn’t have the Chinese wine or sherry so used a shiraz and put the meat in to marinate last night. I had 2 pounds of back strap so doubled the recipe. This stuff is heaven! I could eat it cold even. My husband doesn’t like rice so I didn’t make any and the dish was fine without it.

  6. This was amazing! I added sliced mushrooms and used
    Half the cilantro. Very tender n moist venison. Thanks for sharing!

  7. It’s hard to gush over a recipe or in this case a technique, but I love this technique! I’ve made it with venison, beef, chicken, and pork. Venison being in short supply unfortunately, pork is my family’s favorite.

    Recently, I’ve begun to add a bit of water to the leftover marinade, then just at the end of the stir fry, I add the marinade to the pan. As a result of the starch, the marinade thickens quickly. It doesn’t have the high sheen of the typical Asian sauce, but it is quite tasty when the stir fry is served over white rice, and the sauce mingles down into the rice.

    Thanks for the recipe and the technique, Hank! This will continue to be well used in my household!

  8. Just want to say that I have used this velveting technique and it was great! I love the Chinese recipes that you have blogged lately, they have inspired me to make a themed dinner all out of game. It was a huge hit for all those guys that usually want to BBQ all their game. The General Tso recipe I made with grouse and it was to die for. Thanks!!

  9. Cyril: I do use egg white sometimes, but the core ingredient in velveting is the starch, not the egg. There are ALL KINDS of variations in it, some with egg white and some without. And General Tso’s actually uses only the egg yolk.

  10. Hi, I am a white boy cook that has worked with Chinese cooks in hotels and casinos. When we would velvet proteins, we would add egg white to the other ingredients in the marinade/tenderizer for different lengths of time – depending on the protein. And yes, then we would blanch the meat in lower temp oil, then proceed to finish the stir fry in the usual way. I was just wondering why you would leave out the egg white as the enzymes therein produced the tenderizing velvet texture. Great site – this is my first visit. PS I am an old school ACF chef with over forty years in the craft. If you are serious about duck and goose methods and techniques, including pates and fois gras, let me know. Good luck. Cyril

  11. This looks wonderful. I’m very keen to cook more venison this year – it’s such a healthy meat, there’s plenty of it, it’s as free-range and organic as you can get. Good for us and far better for the environment than eating intensively farmed meat. Surely we should eat more of it.

  12. Oh, and I should have mentioned, knowing your disdain for wasting any part of wild game, that samgyeopsal literally means “three layer flesh” in Korean and refers to the meat, fat, and skin layers of the pork belly grilled in front of you and eaten wrapped in pickled cabbage leaves with spicy bean paste and garlic. While it is served skin-on throughout Korea, the famous Jeju Island wild black boar variety is even served with some of the black hairs still protruding from the skin to assure authenticity. Including some fur seems like your kind of recipe.

  13. Hank, now that you’ve taken on various Chinese techniques and recipes, I am hoping you will give Korean cooking a try next. Several famous dishes and very old traditions in Korean cooking are designed for wild game (like samgyeopsal of wild black boar or various Jeju Island preparations of local wild pheasant), but I have yet to find an English language Korean cookbook that has any wild game recipes in it. It’s a shame because Korea is one of the few places where one can still hunt ring-necked pheasants in their native habitat of Northeast Asia.

  14. This looks really good! I’m going to have to see if my friends who hun have any extra meat they would like to donate.

  15. Hank,
    I just wanted to take a minute to say that “Your blog/web site is Fantastic!”. I bought your book and it was OK not too inspiring for someone who has been shooting & catching stuff and cooking it for almost 30 years but the blog posts and recipes are Great. Some Buddies turned me on to the Chilindron and I made your venison diane a couple of weeks ago. Awesome. Have printed out the Cumberland sauce recipe and can not wait to try it. Thanks!

  16. I’ve also used baking powder in the marinade as a tenderizer if I’ve got some tougher cuts or older meat. It imparts a slightly different texture, but it works to tenderize the meat, and since I started using it for “stir fries” I have noticed the same texture to meat cooked in some dishes at my favorite Chinese restaurants in town. From what I’ve read it’s a fairly common technique.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, have you tried dry-frying any game, specifically pheasant (it’s actually deep frying in lots of oil- maybe a bit counter-intuitive)? One of my favorite szechuan dishes is chong king spicy chicken (spelled various ways) but it involves “dry frying” the chicken and then adding all the usual suspects of szechuan dishes, the only veggies being bell peppers and green onions. At some point I’ll try it, I’m just scared that in the process of the longer fry the pheasant will dry out too much.

  17. Velveting works wonders on super lean boar –

    Try a simple two onion pork with lean boar – same marinade to Velvet with maybe some cracked peppercorns – add Shallots, Scallions, and some Garlic, finish with Soy/Sherry/Sugar/Vinegar

    Onions, acidity and game !

  18. Our time spent in China, as well as a Chinese cooking class by Helen Chen, really puts the starch alone with the meat, as the last item done before going into the pan. Even Helen Chen stated that her book publisher combined the starch with the liquids before adding. We have done it both ways and there is a significant difference by coating the meat with dry starch and then cooking. Our Chinese family does this and the rest time is sufficient to draw moisture from the meat and the starch appears more like glue than anything. It makes a wonderful dish.

    Your blog is awesome. I really enjoy reading!

  19. Hank,

    Thanks for the technique. If there is one style of cooking that I lack skills in, it is Far-East cooking. When eating Chinese food I always assumed that the meat was tender due to a long marinading process and in my attempts to recreate dishes I have eaten at restaurants, my reverse engineering failed miserably, ending with tough or burnt meat. Thanks and will have to give this a try.