There's no better way to complete a successful deer hunting trip than by enjoying one of these delicious venison recipes. Plus, find tips for safely handling and preparing game.
Venison Taco Pie
The whole family is sure to enjoy this savory southwestern casserole. A refrigerated biscuit crust and packaged taco seasoning make preparation of this Venison Taco Pie easy.
—Karen Witman, North Irwin, Pennsylvania
I learned to cook game while my husband was a forestry student. We lived off the land as much as possible. I still enjoy these savory Venison Meatballs in a slightly sweet barbecue sauce. I make a big batch for an annual pool party and there are never any left.
—Sheila Reed, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Venison Meat Loaf
My mother, who claims she can detect venison in any recipe, didn't have a clue it was in this tender Venison Meat Loaf until we told her after dinner. She raved about this flavorful main dish the entire time she was eating it!
—Liz Gilchrist, Bolton, Ontario
Spinach Venison Quiche
This exceptional Spinach Venison Quiche is a favorite of mine and my husband's. The spinach and venison are an unbeatable match, and the feta adds savory goodness.
—Gloria Long, Morehead City, North Carolina
While looking for an alternative to pan-frying our venison steak, we decided to give it a little Italian flair. Our idea for Venison Parmigiana turned out to be a big hit with our family and friends.
—Phil Zipp, Tomahawk, Wisconsin
Venison Chili con Carne
This thick, spicy Venison Chili con Carne is served over rice. The venison is tender, and the blend of spices, tomatoes and Italian hot sausage gives it plenty of zip.
—Kim Vaughn, Hampton, Virginia
Sweet Pepper Venison Stir-Fry
Every year our friends have a game feed where everyone brings a different wild dish. This Sweet Pepper Venison Stir-Fry knocked their socks off—they almost licked the wok clean!
—Kathy Gasser, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Shredded Venison Sandwiches
My husband hunts for deer every November, so I'm always looking for new recipes for venison. The whole family loves these slow cooker Shredded Venison Sandwiches, seasoned with soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup and hot pepper sauce.
—Ruth Setterlund, Fryeburg, Maine
Safe Handling & Preparation of Game Meat
- Keep in mind, that as with any perishable farm-raised meat, poultry or fish, bacteria can be found on raw or undercooked wild game. Freezing does not kill bacteria. Only cooking fish to 145°F, game meat to 160°F and game birds to 165°F will kill bacteria.
- How game meat is handled in the field is very important. The animal should be eviscerated within an hour of harvest and the meat refrigerated within a few hours. Meat is damaged and can be ruined if not dressed, transported and chilled properly.
- At home, refrigerate game immediately at 40°F or lower. Cook or freeze (0°F) game animals within 3 to 5 days.
Enhancing Flavor and Tenderness:
- In general, wild game is less tender than meat from domestic animals because the wild animals get more exercise and have less fat. Any fat is generally bad-tasting and should be removed.
- For maximum tenderness, most game meat should be cooked slowly and not overdone.
- To reduce gamey flavor in either game birds or mammals, soak the meat overnight in the refrigerator in a solution of either:
- 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of cold water or
- 1 cup of white vinegar per quart of cold water
- You can also marinate the game to give it good flavor or to help tenderize it. Always marinate it in the refrigerator (3 to 4 days for game animals). Discard used marinade and use a fresh batch of marinade to baste meat while it cooks.
There are three ways to defrost frozen game: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. Never defrost on the counter.
- Whole birds or ground meat may take 1 to 2 days or longer to defrost in the refrigerator; roasts may take several days. Meat and poultry thawed in the refrigerator may be safely refrozen without cooking it first.
- To defrost game in cold water, be sure the meat is in a leakproof plastic bag or air-tight packaging. Submerge the product in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Larger amounts of game may take 4 to 6 hours to defrost.
- When microwave-defrosting game, plan to cook it immediately after thawing—some areas of the meat may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.
- Foods defrosted using cold water or the microwave method should be cooked before refreezing.
- Cooked muscle meats can be pink even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. If fresh game has reached 160°F throughout, even though it may still be pink in the center, it should be safe. The pink color can be due to the cooking method, smoking or added ingredients such as marinades.
- Cook ground meats and other cuts of game meat such as chops, steaks and roasts to 160°F to ensure destruction of foodborne bacteria and parasites.