Venison is generally leaner than beef, with a firmer texture and richer taste. Depending on which venison cuts you'll be eating, there are different ways to prepare and cook your meat.
How to Cook Venison Steak
Venison steaks are best cooked quickly, such as by searing, sauteing, broiling or grilling, but they can also be roasted. Either way, the key is to give them a crisp outer crust with a rare to medium doneness inside.
Before cooking them, you may want to leave your steaks uncovered in the refrigerator for a couple of days. This allows the collagen fibers time to break down, giving a more tender, tasty steak. Don't worry if it causes discoloration or dryness - this is just an effect of oxidization and doesn't spoil the meat. You can always trim those discolored parts off if you prefer not to eat them.
Feel free to season your steaks with salt and pepper, as you might with beef, to create a golden crust. If you're pan-searing your steaks, grease your pan with vegetable oil first; if you're grilling, add a touch of oil to the steaks themselves. This prevents the meat from sticking. During cooking, you can also add a dollop of butter to make a caramelized crust that tastes delicious.
We recommend bringing your pan or grill to medium-high heat before adding the venison steaks. This allows them to cook very quickly at high heat. Depending on the thickness of the steaks, you'll want to cook them a few minutes per side at high heat, and then lower the temperature to allow them to cook internally for a short period. Again, we recommend cooking no more than medium, as venison dries out easily and doesn't taste good well done!
Once you've finished cooking your steaks, let them rest for 5 minutes, wrapped in foil. This allows them to cook internally a little longer while the juices redistribute.
How to Cook Venison Ribs, Stew Chunks, Osso Buco, Shanks
These meats can be somewhat tough and sinewy, so require longer, slower cooking methods to really soften them up and bring out those flavors. Braising or stewing is particularly effective since the profusion of water (along with spices and seasonings) really helps tenderize and flavor every single part of the meat. Ribs and shoulder roasts can also be roasted or barbecued. Ribs will benefit from a rub or marinade, and you may need to trim some of the connective tissue off before cooking them.
How to Cook Venison Burgers, Sausages and Ground Meat
These are best cooked quickly at a high heat, ensuring the meat is cooked evenly all the way through. Grilling, broiling, sauteing and pan-searing are all very effective ways to do this, and you can generally follow the same guidelines as you would for beef. Season to your desire, and be careful not to overcook your venison, as it will become dry easily.
Now you know how to cook venison, you may be hoping to buy some top quality venison for your kitchen. Luckily, we have plenty of natural New Zealand venison, pasture-raised for zero gamey taste. Check out our venison products here, or click on the links to the left and right of this article.