Venison, a/k/a deer meat, may or may not be the most popular game meat, but it is definitely the most abused. This page aims to give you tried and tested venison recipes to help you get more out of your deer, elk, moose or pronghorn.
I can’t tell you how many people I have served venison to who have had to overcome some prior bad experience with it. “Ew, it’s so tough. It tastes like liver.” Yes, if you overcook it and handle the meat poorly when you kill the animal it will be poor fare at the table.
Venison is lean, clean meat. Higher in protein and lower in fat than beef, it is as free range and healthy as you get. If you’ve never tasted venison, it is close in flavor to grass-fed beef or bison. Rich, lean, but easy to overcook. A general rule is to cook the tender cuts a bit less than you think, and to cook the tougher cuts a bit more than you think.
I have found that while the taste of elk or moose or whitetail deer or mule deer may differ slightly, the cooking methods and recipes are all interchangeable. And if you are worried about it being “gamey,” here is what you need to know about gamey meat.
Below are some of my favorite venison recipes, grouped by style of cooking or cut of meat.
- A primer on making deer meat sausages and curing whole cuts of venison
Demystifying Deer Fat
Not all venison fat is bad. Here’s some of the science behind what’s in venison fat and why it behaves the way it does, so you can make your own decision about whether to trim or keep it.
A primer on how to make the best use of marinades for your venison, along with some sample recipes.
How to Cut a Flat Iron Steak
Instructions on how to cut one of my favorite steaks from an elk, moose or large deer.
Venison Recipes by Cut of Meat
Venison Medallions, Backstraps, Tenderloins
Recipes for the tenderest part of the deer.
Sausages, Burgers and Meatballs
What to do with all that venison “burger” the butcher gave you.
These are usually from the back legs, and are good for long, slow cooking to make sure they’re tender.
Soups, Stews and Stock
Pretty self-explanatory, these are my wintertime dishes.
Flanks and Shanks
This is the venison equivalent of beef shanks, flank steak and skirt steak.
Venison Wobbly Bits – Heart, Liver, Kidneys, Tongue
Offal. Innards. Variety Meats. In some cases, these are the best parts of the animal. Here’s how to cook them properly.