Deer season. It is the best of times. . .but it can be the worst of times if you end up with a freezer full of venison and no inspiration for how to prepare it! If you enjoy hunting or have a loved one who keeps you stocked with venison, this post is for you!
Here are some of my best tips, if the buck stopped in your freezer:
Do an inventory and make a list. How many pounds of ground venison, sausage, steaks, and loins do you have? How many venison based meals will you need to serve before next hunting season? As much as it pains me to say this, you must do the math! And trust me, I will never recommend that anyone perform an unnecessary math function. This is one time you need to “Just Doe It!”
In my experience, a few hours in a marinade can serve your venison well. Some people claim that if you leave the meat in a marinade for more than 8 hours, it can become a little mushy, when cooked. Other people claim that you should marinate venison for several days. Hmmmm. . .let me know what works best for you!
If you have a meat smoker, I suggest that you brine some venison loin and smoke it to perfection. The brine will keep your meat from becoming dry. There are a lot of great brining recipes. You can go exotic or classic.
If you don’t have time to spend the day in the kitchen, try putting a venison roast in the slow cooker. Slice a large onion and arrange the slices over the roast. Finally, pour a bottle of your favorite beer over the top and let time and your slow cooker do the rest. Cook on low until tender.
My “recipe” for pulled venison sandwiches demands that I share my secret culinary weapon. Whatever you do, keep it to yourself because this is the kind of info that will cause a run on condiment aisles at grocery stores across the nation. I do not want that on my conscience. Are you ready for it?
Buy a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce. I would like to nominate Sweet Baby Ray for sainthood because his sauce is heavenly. Once you have this glorious elixir, pour it over a venison roast and cook until you can shred it with two forks. Take some extra sauce and use to caramelize an onion in a skillet. Heap the venison and the onion onto a big, crusty, kaiser roll. If you really want to know what’s good, serve this with a side of coleslaw and sweet potato fries (which will do nothing to use up your venison supply, but should make you sigh with glorious contentment!)
Just because you’re planning venison-based meals, doesn’t mean they need to taste the same. If you’re a venison fan, you’re probably already familiar with the old faithful Western recipes like venison chili, stew, tacos, and roast. They’re delicious, but at some point, you’re probably going to want to try something a little more out of the ordinary.
It helps to think of all of the tasty ways you enjoy beef and consider how you can substitute beef for venison. That seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to find yourself in a culinary rut. The first time I heard a friend talking about making “Sloppy Does” for dinner, I knew there had to be some other creative uses for venison.
- Venison Gyros—It’s a wrap!
- Venison Kabobs—Stick with me, here.
- Venison Bourguignon—Okay, so this is technically venison stew. But it’s a fancy venison stew and everything is better with wine!
- Spaghetti and Venison Meatballs—“Mama Mia, that’s a spicy venison meatball!”
- Venison Stir-fry—Wok it to me!
What are your favorite ways to serve venison? I would love to hear from you!
Happy Trails, y’all!