Dr. Pepper’s Marinated Steak Recipe

Dr. Pepper’s Marinated Steaks

From Slice of the Wild: Cut and cook game for your table

With 50 pages of lavishly illustrated how-to tips from bullet to fork: field dressing, aging, butchering, and freezing ratios to avoid freezer burn.  Plus 100 game recipes and over 40 side dishes.


It’s going to be grilling season soon here–already is in more southern states–so I’m dreaming of warm afternoons with a gin and tonic in hand and a fire on the grill.  These steaks will make it just perfect.  Long ago, our friends Norm and Sil Strung introduced us to soda as being a great marinade.  Sil used orange soda on birds, and the citric acid did a great job of flavoring and tenderizing.  Eventually, I decided cream soda was better for birds, and despite everyone else using cola for red meat, I preferred Dr Pepper© for its richer and sweeter flavor. Adding a little black bean sauce made it even richer, and the bit of cayenne just rounded out the full circle of flavor.  You know where to find Dr Pepper.  (And don’t use diet.) The black bean sauce is in the ‘ethnic’ or Asian food section of most grocery stores. 

Now there are three tricks to making perfect grilled wild game steaks.  One is to get the grill heated up to medium-high heat before throwing the steaks on the fire.  Medium-high is about 450F or, if you’re testing with your hand, you should be able to hang your hand about 5 inches over the cooking grate for about 5 or 6 seconds.  Don’t be stoic though. Remove your hand as soon as it gets a bit uncomfortable. 

Second? Don’t cook the steaks past medium, medium-rare is better, about 130F. (That will rise another 2-3 degrees after you remove them from the flame.) If you don’t have a meat thermometer, just cook the first side until blood starts appearing on the uncooked top side.  Then flip the steak and cook it about half the time it took the first side. 

Third?  Cut your steaks evenly, so the cooking takes the same time from one end of the steak to the other.  Cutting while they’re about 3/4 frozen will help a lot. 

PS – Use any big game animal you have in the freezer: deer, elk, moose, caribou, antelope, whatever. 

Dr. Pepper’s Marinated Steaks

Serves 2-4


1 cup Dr Pepper

1 tablespoon black bean sauce

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound venison steaks


  1. Combine the Dr. Pepper, black bean sauce, and cayenne pepper in a re-sealable plastic bag. 
  2. Trim and dry the steaks, and add to the marinade.  Seal, and let marinate 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator.  


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high, about 450F.  Let the steaks come to room temperature.  Remove from the marinade, but don’t dry or rinse the marinade off.   That way, they don’t stick to the cooking surface.   Place on the grill and close the lid.
  2. Cook until blood appears on the top of the steaks, then turn, and cook about half as long for the second side.  A 3/4-inch thick steak will take about 7-10 minutes, total for both sides, for medium rare. Adjust timing for rare; but approach no-pink very carefully.  No-pink grilled steaks can be pretty tough.
  3. Transfer to a heated platter.  Serve hot, with your favorite potato salad.
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