Venison Steaks Recipe

Kill-It to Skillet: Gotta read the Rogues’ Gallery First

One of my favorite parts of Slice of the Wild is a rogues’ gallery of sorts: the best and the worst of game animals we’ve taken. 

Back when I finished writing Slice, in 2009, John and I had butchered or helped butcher over 200 animals–including a good-sized herd of antelope.   Of all those animals, we’d had two randy trophy mule deer (no  mystery there) and one bad pronghorn buck.  That last was a guided hunt.   John shot a buck, we gutted it, and handed it over to our guide who swore he’d take it straight back to the ranch and hang it in the cooler.   He didn’t.  Instead, he wrapped the antelope tightly in a blue tarp so it wouldn’t drip on his clean vehicle, and then drove around for 2 hours with it in the back of his SUV, baking in the sun.  Eventually, he made good sausage (the antelope, not the guide). 

What the Rogues’s Gallery is really about though, is how individual animals differ—or not—and how that information helps the cook decide the best method of cooking.  (Plus what help, if any, and for how long, aging would provide.)  All important things to know before diving into the recipe portion of a cookbook.    This point was made clear to me last summer, when unfortunately I discovered that the SIM card on my android phone was just as messed up as the Sim card in my new iphone I’d bought to replace it because I didn’t know the android Sim card was the problem. Long story short, didn’t get a refund, but the real issue was that I’d gotten an email the day before and in the process of replacing not 1 but 2 Sim cards, lost the email.  

What was the email? It was from a customer who’d bought my Duck & Goose Cookery book (now out of print), and had tried a bunch of my recipes, but not noticed any difference in tenderness or taste because of it. 

He said he’d had the book several years when he finally discovered the pages at the beginning of the book: the Testing the Waters section, which is all about that period from the shot to the moment a hunter starts browsing recipes.  Once he found Testing the Waters, he added, and started following the pre-cooking directions, miracle of miracles, he was finally enjoying the ducks and geese he loved to hunt. 

PS: If the writer of that email is reading this, I apologize for not answering. But now you know what happened.  Please email me again. My iphone works just great now…..

 So, back to Slice of the Wild: The Rogue’s Gallery is just the beginning of the journey.  It’s a collection of photos of various animals John and I have taken, from antelope and elk, whitetails and mule deer, moose, caribou, buffalo, bighorn sheep, and the conditions they were shot in, how we took care of them, and how they tasted. (Including the old bull musk ox that defeated even the power marinator.)

Once you know what you have hanging on the gambrel, have aged it, and eaten a bit of shoulder meat, you’ll know what sort of recipe to use.  Some animals will be perfect for grilling with a tablespoon or two of garlic butter applied right after coming off the grill.  Others will need a several day brine, or at least moist, slow cooking. 

Brining tender steak is just a waste of your time—unless you just loooove to brine–while grilling a tough old musk ox, or bull elk, might lead to a trip to the dentist—to treat an overworked jaw. 

It will certainly lead to a lot of complaints about ‘coping with game meat’ at the table. 

Slice of the Wild has 60 pages of that ‘kill-it to skillet’ stuff—with lots of photos.  And 100 venison recipes.  Here are two: a tender venison grilling recipe with garlic butter, and a venison marinade that will tenderize a tougher animal. 

https://www.riflesandrecipes.com/product/slice-of-the-wild/

Tender Venison Steaks with Garlic Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 pound venison steaks
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced

Cooking

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.  In a small bowl, combine the butter and minced garlic.  Set aside.
  2. Brush the steaks lightly with oil so they won’t stick to the cooking surface.   Place on the grill and close the lid.
  3. Cook until blood appears on the top of the steaks, then turn, and cook about half again as long.  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.
  4. Transfer the steaks to a heated platter and brush them with the garlic butter (or spread it on with a table knife).  Serve hot, awash in the rich garlic butter flavors. 

Gideon’s Grub Rub Venison Steaks

As you can see, this was originally written as a grilling recipe with the Grub Rub marinade, but many of us have tucked the grill away for the winter. If you still enjoy grilling weather, go for it. But if you don’t, this marinade is wonderful for pan-fried venison steaks as well. Or in a venison soup.  (If you use this marinated venison in a soup, add more of the Grub Rub to the beef broth, enough to please your taste buds, then some potatoes and carrots. And onions.  Maybe a little brown ale.  Oh, yum. We’re not ‘coping’ with game meat any more.

 

Gideon’s Grub Rub Steaks

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon Gideon’s Grub Rub
  • 1 pound venison steaks

Preparation

  1. Mix the oil and Grub Rub (recipe below) in a re-sealable plastic bag. 
  2. Trim and dry the steaks and add to the marinade.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  This not only flavor steaks, but the 24-hour salt soak will tenderize them, a lot like any marinade.      

Cooking

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.  Let the venison steaks come to room temperature.  Remove from the marinade, but don’t dry or rinse the marinade off.   That way, they won’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 again as long.  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 Grilled Corn on the Cob.

 

Gideon’s Grub Rub

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
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