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Venison question

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi, I guess I'll start by saying im a really inexperienced cook. Every time I make venison steaks or slow cook a roast it turns out fairly dry. Is there any way to get around this? Im not really comfortable cooking it any less than medium well since it isn't from a store it's from a deer I shot myself and the fact that it's "wild" meat makes me a little nervous. Would marinading help? and if so what herbs would go well with venison?
post #2 of 13
First off, if you're not sure it doesn't have Wasting Disease, don't eat it.

Venison is super lean. It's dry because it has little fat to help keep it moist. The steaks would have to be cooked rare to be moist without additional tweaking.

Most hunters I know do jerky and sausage with the meat as it's pleasant to eat in those forms and fairly safe. I like these forms of venison, but it's not particularly true to the meat.

Another hunter friend of mine takes the tenderloin in small pieces. A long marinade in buttermilk, salt, pepper, and herbs/spices (Rosemary, a little sage) to remove some gaminess. The buttermilk does most of the work, the rosemary adds a little flavor. Wrap in fatty bacon and grill to medium. The bacon helps protect it from drying out and adds fat. I prefer this treatment as I find venison fairly livery when cooked plain.

If you want to do steaks in a plainer fashion, a brine would help with the moisture. In a brine, salt denatures the protien creating a web of sorts to hold the extra moisture IN the meat. Brines usually include added sugar to balance the salt flavor. For a steak, a quick brine is probably best. This is usually along the lines of 1/2 cup coarse (kosher) salt, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 quart water. If you're using table salt, use only 1/4 cup table salt. Stir to dissolve. They dissolve better in warm water, but you should chill it before using it to brine. Keep the meat refrigerated while brining.

I've seen venison for roasting once at a friends, but never had it. He had it in a lengthy red wine marinade. ALL my current hunter friends make sausage and jerky from these cuts. But my recommendations would be to add fat. Not just wrapping the roast in fatty bacon, but actually threading strips of pork fat through the roast, normally done with a larding needle.

I've not cooked a venison roast, but this is the approach I'd take. This is only an educated guess so it might not turn out any better than your efforts.

Thread it with fat and wrap in bacon. Tie it to hold the bacon in place. Braise it a long time at a medium-lowish heat and let the internal temp come up to about 190. You're looking to break down the collagen in the meat to make it moist and tender. This starts to happen at about 180. The meat will hang out at this temp for a while, often called a plateau, and then start to rise in temp again in a more normal fashion. Let it rest at least 20 minutes covered after you take it out of the oven before carving.

Hope you find some help in the above.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13
I have a lot of friends who hunt and cook deer steaks. Everyone of them makes it into a slow-cooked swiss steak with one common ingredient--lots of onions.

NONE of them cook venison roasts.
post #4 of 13

Confit!

We have a friend who brings us hunted deer sometimes. What I've done with the "stewing" roast cuts is "confit."

You'll need a small-ish pot with a lid, not much bigger than the roast, that can go in the oven, so no plastic handles or whatnot. Then you'll need enough oil to totally submerge the roast. You can rub the roast with herbs, or I just usually season the confit oil, with herbs, garlic, whatever. Basically you slow cook (at low temperature) submerged under oil. It doesn't absorb too much oil at all. If you like, you can even wipe off the oil with a paper towel or absorb with a coffee filter when you take the roast out.

If you google "venison confit" you'll get some recipes and better instructions.

It turns out delicious and moist and tender.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow thanks a lot guys I'll definately give this a try.

ajoe: I realize I used the wrong time after re-reading this, sorry, what I do is take steaks/chops then slow cook those, not an actual roast cut. I reserve the actual roast for jerky.

stir it up: what kind of oil? Would peanut be ok?

Phatch: Im sure it doesnt have CWD, even if you cook the meat you'd still get it anyway, I'm pretty sure thats how it works. The CWD scare here in WI was blown way out of proportion as it has been out west in Wyoming for decades. I was more worried about like parasites and such although I am kind of a hypochondriac about food safety. The bacon idea sounds great, Ill try that. When you say add fat to it using a larding needing is that an injector type thing?
post #6 of 13
I't's basically a giant needle with the eye near the tip. You thread a strip of pork fat through the eye and plunge the needle into the meat. When the eye of the neede comes through the other side, you detach the fat strip and pull the needle back through leaving the fat behind. It's a way to add fat to cuts of super lean meat.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh neat, I'll have to look for one of those, I dont think I'll have much luck though >_<
post #8 of 13
Years ago, I made a lot of venison stews. I'd cut roasts into stew meat and cook it in onions and tomatoes for a very long time. Then I'd add in potatoes and other veggies. Sometimes I'd use rice or pasta.
post #9 of 13
The larding sounds ideal.

If you can't find a larding needle, maybe if you have a metal bbq skewer with a metal circle on the end - loop the lard thru the circle, pierce slits in the roast (along the grain preferably) with a thin sharp blade, and thread it thru there.

Good Luck!
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #10 of 13

Confit = brilliant

While I myself am not a fan of larding, I think the barding idea is just great. Wrapping the venison in bacon will not only add flavor and fat, but the coked bacon can then easily be incorporated into whatever side you are serving.

But the really inspired idea is the venison confit. I don't know why I've never thought of that, seeing as how many other things I have confited in my day... If you want to do this though, do it is bacon fat or duck fat. Don't waste your time with vegetable oils. Go for the gusto, and the results should be fabulous. I can't wait to try it with my next piece of venison myself!
Deglazed
My Continuing Journey Into the Kitchen...
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Deglazed
My Continuing Journey Into the Kitchen...
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post #11 of 13
Ha! I was going to post exactly what you said because that is what all my family pretty well does. We do eat roast and what we do with that is poke the roast all over and stuff the incisions with a mix of.....you guessed it, onions! and a mix of other spices such as thyme, black pepper, sage, etc. I personally add a ground mazzano chipotle for some smokey flavour. In addition to that the roast is cooked with root veggies (potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc.) and a cup of 50% water and 50% white wine vinegar. A good coating of salt and black pepper over the roast and seared in a pan before it goes into a roaster. I use a thermometer but for an average 3Lb. roast, I will go 350F for 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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post #12 of 13
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #13 of 13
One of the other problems with venison is that you have to really cook it to get all but the backstraps tender. This obviously dries out the meat. If you have the ability, aging the meat wil greatly assist in the flavor and tenderness. During the winter, I used to hang my deer in my shed, which stayed at a pretty constant 35 degrees for about two weeks before final butchering. A good trim of the dried exterior and you have much improved meat. Just make sure you have plenty of air circulation. I use a box fan and an ultraviolet light to inhibit surface bacteria growth.
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It's Good To Be The King!
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