In the world of food, few things are as delectable as a properly prepared cut of wild venison from a deer you killed yourself.
Venison is richer in flavor than choice beef. It’s also higher in protein and minerals, and because it’s leaner than beef, it has fewer calories. Wild venison also lacks the chemicals commonly given to domestic livestock. These things make venison (farm-raised, though it might be) an increasingly common ingredient in gourmet dishes served at five-star restaurants throughout the country.
Venison has another delightful quality as well. This rich-tasting meat is complemented by many different flavors, so your choice of marinades, sauces, rubs and other flavoring agents is almost endless. Part of the fun of cooking venison is experimenting to develop dishes that suit your personal tastes.
Here are some gourmet recipes taste-tested and given the stamp of approval by my personal group of gourmets (my wife and six sons) to get you started.
Grilled Rubbed Venison Tenderloin
2 pounds venison loin, sliced ½-inch thick
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Rings cut from red and orange peppers
Rub the loin with Worcestershire sauce. Mix all the dry ingredients and rub evenly on the loin. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Grill over medium heat until done to taste, or roast in a 325-degree oven until done, about 22 minutes per pound for medium-well. Serve on a bed of hot rice garnished with pepper rings. Serves 2 to 4.
Peppercorn Steaks On The Grill
3 (12-oz.) deer steaks
Black peppercorns, freshly cracked
2 large Vidalia onions, sliced 1/2-inch thick
6 large slices fresh tomato
12 large mushrooms
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
Season each steak with cracked peppercorns. Place on a grill over medium heat, along with the onion slices, tomato slices and mushrooms.
Grilling 3 minutes on each side will render them medium-rare. The turning time is the same for the onion and tomato slices.
Transfer the cooked steaks to plates, and top each with a slice of grilled onion and a slice of grilled tomato. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the tomato slices. Garnish with mushrooms and a sprinkle of the fresh chopped parsley. Serves 3.
Kentucky Bourbon Tenderloin
1 1/2 pounds venison loin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 garlic clove, crushed
Mix all ingredients, place in zip-seal plastic bag and refrigerator 4 hours or overnight. Drain the marinade from the venison, and grill the meat to the desired doneness. Serves 2 to 3.
Smokin’ Hot Camp Chili
4 dried chipotle chilies
2 dried ancho chilies
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/3 pounds ground venison
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15.5-oz.) can corn niblets, drained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Up to 1 cup tomato sauce
Place the chilies in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes, until soft; then seed and stem them. In a food processor or blender, puree the chilies with the barbecue sauce. Set aside.
In a heavy skillet, sauté the onions in butter until soft. Add the ground venison and cook and stir until the meat is cooked thoroughly. Drain the excess fat. Add the chile puree, tomatoes, corn and Worcestershire sauce. Cook and stir 10 minutes, adding up to 1 cup of tomato sauce to keep the chili moist. Simmer until heated through. Serves 6 to 8.
1 venison roast, 2 to 3 pounds
1/2 cup paprika
1/8 cup salt
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 cup celery seed
1 cup vegetable oil
3 thicknesses of cheesecloth, large enough to wrap the roast
Mix all dry ingredients. Lay out the cheesecloth, place the roast in the center, and rub the spice mixture into the meat, packing thickly. Wrap the meat; tie with cotton cord. Brush with oil, saturating the cloth. Place on the top rack in a smoker; cook 35 to 40 minutes per pound. Serves 4 to 6.