So you’ve got your deer from a guided hunt in Colorado, now what do you do with all the meat? Venison is a favorite game meat of many hunters in Colorado. Since it is so lean, it does take require certain cooking methods to retain the full flavor and juices in the meat. We’ve put together our best cooking tips for venison recipes so you can enjoy it!
Cooking tips for venison recipes
It is vital that you don’t overcook it! Venison is a very lean type of meat with little fat to add in moisture. This is the most common mistake people make with venison recipes. Venison should be cooked so that it is medium-rare. This means the internal temperature should be about 135°F. When you overcook venison, it becomes more gamey and quite rubbery. Most people feel that deer fat should be tossed out, but some deer fat is actually amazing for cooking with venison.
Different cuts of venison require various cooking methods. Loins and tenderloins are best when they are cooked fast on high heat. You’ll get a nice sear on the outside and it will seal in the juices inside. Cuts like this are great on a hot grill, seared over the stove in a high heat pan, or cooked in a hot cast-iron skillet.
Tougher cuts of meat such as the shoulder, shank, or neck are best cooked at a low temperature over a longer period of time. Use these cuts of meat in recipes such as stew or pot roasts. They also do great in a crockpot. The cut from the hindquarter is very versatile. You can cut it into strip steaks, cube it for stew, or cook it in larger portions as a roast in the oven.
After cooking your venison, be sure to let it rest. Cover it and let it sit for a good 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to settle throughout the meat. Cutting into it right away can let all the juices out right away and the venison won’t be as flavorful or juicy.
Flavors that go well with venison recipes
Venison is very rich and hearty in flavor. So it goes well with other rich and hearty foods, herbs, and spices. Mushrooms and potatoes go great on the side of some venison steak or roast. To add some more flavor to your venison recipes you can use bacon, rosemary, red wine, and thyme. All of these flavors go well with the heartiness of venison.
Age your venison
To keep venison fresh, it is best to freeze it. Before you freeze it, you’re going to want to age it. If you use someone to process your meats, they’ve likely already aged it for you. Just ask to be sure. To age your venison, put on a rack in the refrigerator for dry aging or in a bag for wet aging. Let the meat sit for at least 7 days and up to 14 days before freezing it.
Venison cooking ideas
To create great sauces to go with venison, use some dark beer or bourbon to create a more savory sauce. Combine these liquids with pan dripping and some garlic and onions. If you like a more tangy sauce, berries such as cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries can add a little zest. When making a roast, cook the venison on a bed of onions. This gives it some nice flavor and raises it off the direct heat and allows for more even cooking.