Wild Game Culinary Episode #1: 5 Ways To Cook Venison

Wild Game Culinary Episode #1 : 5 Ways to Cook VenisonFirst off, THANKS for listening! It’s really exciting to share my experiences with you and it’s my greatest hope that you take away information that helps you put more wild game on your table.

Listen to the podcast here.

From “Low & Slow” to “Hot & Fast” how you cook venison makes a big difference to the taste and texture.

Low & Slow = crock-pot, Dutch oven or slow cooker recipes. Great for neck meat, shanks & roasts.

When slow cooking it’s always beneficial to brown the meat in olive or coconut oil. Roast on high 5-8 hours or until meat reaches desired tenderness.

Slow cooking can bring on gamey/livery flavors due to all of the blood being cooked out of the meat. To combat this always add something sweet to the slow cooker like sweet onions, garlic, roasted green chilis, apples, pears, dried fruit or a tomato based sauce or salsa.

Serve meat as is from the slow cooker or shred it and add BBQ sauce for “pulled” venison sliders. Use the meat in burritos, stroganoff, hash, etc.

Cooked venison can be vacuum sealed and frozen for a quick meal anytime.

Hot & Fast = Stir-fry, pan-fry, grilling

Think fajitas on a griddle or stir-fry in a wok or large frying pan. Wild game only needs a few minutes in the pan. Use a healthy cooking oil like olive or coconut oil and do not overcook! We always eat our game meat rare to medium-rare. If you like your game well done, slow cook it.

Another method would be a light breading and pan frying. For best results slice meat thin or pound steaks out thin before breading. The first 5 recipes in my book, Cooking Big Game, have our favorite pan-fry recipes (including Jim Zumbo’s Ginger Coconut Venison).

Defrosting Tip: For the best flavor/texture, ALWAYS, defrost wild game under refrigeration.

Recipe Picks from Cooking Big Game, by Scott & Tiffany Haugen

To order, Cooking Big Game, click here.

ORDER BOOK HERE: Get our other book, Cooking Game Birds, free with your order by putting “WILD GAME CULINARY” in the notes.

BBQ SANDWICH One large crock pot of venison can be the basis of our dinner all week long.  This sandwich is one of many meals that are a quick fix from a slow cook.  Once cooked, this meat freezes well and can be added to soups, stews or casseroles.

  • 3-4 pound venison roast, neck or shanks
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

In a large skillet, brown all sides of meat on medium-high heat. Place venison roast in a large crock pot. Add chopped onion. In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour over roast and cover. Cook on low heat 5-8 hours. If shredded venison is desired, use two forks to pull roast apart into bite sized chunks. To enhance flavor, allow to slow cook an additional 15-30 minutes. Place on artisan bread of choice and serve warm. Meat prepared in this way also makes a great baked potato topper or can be served with buttered noodles or rice. Kept warm in the crock pot it is an easy, convenient addition to any pot luck.


There is more to a good mixer than one may think. Living in Alaska without fresh vegetables for so many years, we became great fans of tomato juice and the many flavors it imparted on our wild game meals. From pizza to Spanish rice to spaghetti, many dinners were prepared using tomato-vegetable juices as a base. This is one of the easiest and tastiest recipes in the book. The cooked venison can be enjoyed for one meal on its own and added to virtually any dish that requires cooked meat for the next night. We used this repeatedly with caribou over the years.

  • 2-3 pound venison roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 3 cups Bloody Mary mix

In a large skillet, brown all sides of meat on medium-high heat. Place meat in the crock pot. Cover with Bloody Mary mix. Cover and cook on low heat 5-8 hours or until meat is tender. Once fully cooked, roast can be sliced to steak portion sizes with the liquid used as gravy.  Venison can be cubed, mixed with sauce and served over rice or pasta, or meat can be shredded to use as sandwich, burrito or meat pie filling.


The most memorable meal in the Fountain house was “candy meat.” It was always served in celebratory fashion because any time a deer was shot in my family, it was shared by my dad, his two brothers and his father. We all celebrated the hunt by receiving a portion of the backstrap. It was also a memorable time because my father was always the one in the kitchen cooking dinner that night. He was the one who taught me how to make lump-free gravy as well as lump-free mashed potatoes. Lumps were a big no-no in the family and everyone strived to have gravy and mashed potatoes as smooth as Grandma Fountain’s. Combine that with tender backstrap, and the meat tastes good as candy.

  • 1-2 pounds venison backstrap, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Gravy:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2-3 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet or Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Slice venison across the grain 1/4″-1/2″ thick. Salt and  pepper meat to taste. Dredge seasoned slices through flour, coating all sides. This can all be done at once just take care that the flour stays dry on the outside of the meat. Sprinkle more flour on the meat if needed. Heat a heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Melt butter and add venison carefully to avoid spatter. By the time all of the pieces are in the pan it is time to turn them all over. The pan is hot and the thinly sliced meat cooks very quickly. Once cooked, remove meat and place on a warm plate. Repeat the steps as needed for the rest of the meat. More butter may need to be added to the pan. After the meat has cooked, do not clean the pan, the drippings and brown bits you scrape up are what flavor the gravy. Add additional butter and melt. Using a wire whisk, whisk flour into the pan. Reduce heat to medium and whisk until smooth and bubbly. Slowly add milk, stirring continuously. After each 1/2 cup or so of milk, let the gravy thicken to desired consistency. When it thickens, add a bit more milk. Add remaining ingredients and serve over warm candy meat.


Famed hunter, writer, TV host and game cook, Jim Zumbo shared that his favorite dish is ginger elk. Ginger is one of our favorite flavors with wild game. It compliments a tender cut and reduces strong flavors in an older cut. The addition of coconut milk makes this dish rich and decadent.

  •   1-2 pounds venison steaks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk

In a sealable plastic bag add steaks, onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Marinate 2-8 hours. Using a fork, remove steaks one at a time from marinade mixture.  Dredge in flour, keeping bits of onion and ginger on the meat. In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat peanut oil on medium-high heat. Add floured venison and brown 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle in remaining flour and continue browning, until flour is mixed in. Turn heat to low, add coconut milk and simmer 30-45 minutes or until meat is tender. Serve over rice or noodles. Crock pot version:  After browning meat and flour, place in a crock pot and add coconut milk. Cook on low heat 2-3 hours or until meat is tender, add water to thin if necessary.

Venison Fajitas

Great as a salad or main course with corn tortillas, Fajitas can be presented in a variety of ways. Pupusas or sopas (thick tortillas) are an interesting change and can be purchased or made from scratch. All colors of bell peppers and mushrooms are also great fajita additions.

  • 1 pound venison, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup onion, sliced
  • 2 cups bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fajita Spice Rub:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a medium bowl, mix spice rub ingredients. Completely coat meat with rub and let sit 20 minutes or refrigerate up to 6 hours. Heat oil in a large skillet, sauté onions and peppers on medium-heat until soft. Add venison and continue stir-frying 2-3 minutes. Serve over pupusas, sopas or with warm tortillas and all the usual fajita fixings.

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