Simplify Your Venison Prep – Enjoy Venison Even More

Scott Leysath |

I know, you’ve sworn by it for years, but there’s a simpler way to enhance the flavor of your next venison dish.

The buttermilk thing works if your plan includes pounding, breading and frying the nuggets after a good soak. Think chicken fried venison. That works, but only because it gives the breading something to stick to, not because the buttermilk has magical anti-gamey flavor powers. Try this. Take a small chunk of venison and soak it in buttermilk for a few hours. Take another chunk and just soak it for a few minutes. Cook both pieces to medium-rare and ask a friend to pick which one spent more time in the buttermilk. The usual results are about 50/50. Some guess right, others guess wrong.

Elk steaks in marinadeMy venison prep typically involves taking carefully trimmed meat that is tossed with a decent olive oil, fresh minced garlic, a little coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. I’ll stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking over a hot grill or cast iron skillet. I cannot overemphasize how important cooking temperatures are. My guess is that many people reading this blog have learned over the years that well-done and medium-rare meats are not the same. Folks tell me, “I used to eat all my meat well-done, I mean dead, but it’s more like medium now. Boy, what a difference.” With any luck, those same people will drop it down a notch and enter the medium-rare zone where deer meat is the most tender.

If you want to pair your lesser cooked venison with a good sauce, that’s your choice. I like sauces, especially if it doesn’t overpower the taste of the meat, but I also like the deliciousness of a perfectly cooked, unsauced deer steak. Paired with a glass of good red wine and, well, you just need to stop by the house this weekend. C’mon.


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