Everything here is variable. That's the nature of taco night. But the key here is the grilling of the venison, which makes this recipe different from, say, a venison taco done with ground meat. I also really like serving rajas, roasted poblanos and onions, with this -- they just seem to go well together. But if you don't like them, skip it. Hey, it's taco night. Do what makes you happy!
2poundsvenison flank, skirt steak,backstrap or leg steak, all sinew and silverskin removed
Vegetable oil to coat
Chipotle powder,ancho chile powder or taco seasoning
4poblano,Anaheim or green bell peppers
1white or yellow onion,sliced thin
2garlic cloves,sliced thin
Corn or flour tortillas
Dry cotija cheese,or shredded jack cheese
diced white onion,soaked in lime juice
Sliced serrano chiles,or any fresh chile you like
Sliced avocado or guacamole
I like to make the rajas first. Char the skins of the poblano chiles over a grill or your stovetop burner with tongs until the skin blackens. Put the charred chiles into a plastic bag to steam for a half hour or so. Peel off the charred skin, remove the seeds, and slice the poblanos into strips.
Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sliced onions until they char a little at the edges. Add the poblanos and garlic and cook another minute or two. Add salt to taste, turn off the heat and set aside.
Get your grill ready. It should be very hot, and when it is you need to scrape down the grates with a brush. Coat the venison with some vegetable oil and salt it well. Set it on the grill and leave the grill cover open. Sear it hard without touching the venison for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on how hot your fire is and how thick your venison is. You want good grill marks. If your venison is thicker than an inch, you can get cross-hatched grill marks by picking up the meat with tongs after 2 to 4 minutes, then rotating it 45 degrees and searing it for another 2 minutes or so.
Flip the venison and sear until it's medium-rare, or rare. How to tell? Use the finger test for doneness. When the meat's ready, move it to a plate or tray and sprinkle some chipotle powder on it. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain, then chopping into bite-sized pieces.
Heat the tortillas until they are flexible (read the package's instructions or make them by hand) and keep them warm by covering with a kitchen towel or putting them in a tortilla box. Serve the tortillas, venison, rajas, and everything else spread out on the table so everyone can mix and match while they build their own tortillas.
If you have leftover venison, it's great with eggs and potatoes the next morning in a breakfast taco or burrito.
Keys to Success
If you are using thin pieces of venison, put them on the grill or flat top cold, right out of the fridge. That lets you get good char without seriously overcooking the meat.
Always chop the venison small after cooking, so you get a little in every bite.
Beans are a nice addition to venison tacos, either refried or whole. I really like these "border beans," a recipe from Baja.