If you are a deer hunter then you will already know how to get your hands on the finest Venison that the country has to offer and the fact that the longer the meat stays on the carcass the much more tougher that meat then becomes to eat.
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However, what if you have no idea how to cook venison? Or the different ways you can cook deer meat that brings out a variety of different tastes and textures.
The first principles of venison that we need to understand is that it should be aged for a good two weeks before you begin to cook it. This two-week period just helps make the meat much tastier and takes away that game taste, as you don’t want to taste that.
Also, you should be aware that whilst the likes of pork and beef fat tastes amazing when cooked and adds delicious flavours to the meat, the same does not apply to dear. Dear fat tastes awful and adds absolutely zero value to the cooking process.
So before we get to preparing the meat for cooking cut off the fat and get rid of it.
Most avid venison fans will tell you that to get the best from venison you will need to marinade it in a dressing for the period of 24 hours, and they are absolutely right. Usually venison goes quite nicely with the likes of BBQ, and Italian dressings but you can create your own seasonings and marinades by using a selection of ingredients from garlic, vinegar, olive oils and onions.
The other angle to approach is to remove that game taste by looking at zests and citrus flavours that can easily overpower the game taste. Half a cup of lime juice with olive oil, some cilantro and green chilli, combined with a teaspoon of cumin and tequila is all you need to really charge up the perfect marinade.
Now, depending on the cut you have will all depend on how you cook it. Generally there are a few different methods that work well with cooking venison though, starting with grilling. If you are in possession of venison steaks then this is the perfect way to cook them so turn up your grill to a high heat and preheat it before you add the steaks.
One thing when cooking venison that’s important is that you bring it up to room temperature otherwise you aren’t going to get the inside cooked well enough. A simple 20 minutes out of the fridge will do this no problem.
If you haven’t marinade the steak then this is the point you can add some salt and pepper to the steaks in order to season them. Do this to both sides of the steak and then place them under the grill for about 4 minutes on each side.
To check that the steak has cooked to the optimum temperature you will need to use a thermometer and look at 130F or 54C, any higher and you are going to make the meat toughen up more.
Tip: Brush your steaks with some butter to keep it as moist and tender as possible.
Roasting you Venison
The second popular method of cooking venison is to roast it in the oven which allows for you to really jazz up the aroma and infusion. Take the venison and make several diagonal cuts to the surface of it and then stuff those cuts with vegetables and bacon which will help produce a fat source and inject flavour into the meat.
Remember that we removed that awful tasting deer fat early on so adding bacon or butter is a tastier alternative to that venison fat.
If you are wondering what kind of herbs go well with your roast venison then you can try rosemary, sage or some thyme which will all provide wonderful aromatics for you. Preheat the oven before you slide in the venison (which needs to go into a roasting tray), you can also add your vegetables around the roast venison to cook as well.
If time isn’t of the essence then roasting is ideal as it takes about 3 hours to cook on a heat of about 325F, and once the meat has cooked don’t forget to leave it on the kitchen side for around 15 minutes so that the juices and fat all disperse evenly throughout the venison, allowing it to taste much more tender, and moist.
Once you have left it resting for that time you can then start to carve up the deer meat, add the vegetable to a plate and then make a nice gravy from the juices left in the roasting pan, that can be served on the side of the venison.