For the most part...wild game cooks up similar to beef. There is very few things I change when going between our homegrown beef, moose or venison.
However! Venison steaks and venison roasts need some different treatment. You can't just roast a venison roast and expect it to turn out like a delicious beef roast...it doesn't have the fat for that. It does better being slow cooked or pressure cooked to fall apart tender in a sauce, whether it be brothy or bbq sauce.
But today, today we are talking venison steaks...roasts are for another day.
Personally, I feel venison steak needs to be on the rare side. It doesn't need to be blue rare, but a well-done venison steak is a dry venison steak, and nobody wants a dry venison steak! Do I have a lot of opinions on venison steaks? Buckle up, we're just getting started.
First off, it doesnt need anything fancy; if all you have is salt and pepper, that will do ya good. We love our Wild Mushroom Seasoning salt and Montreal Steak spice is never a bad idea, but salt and pepper will always do ya good. If you've got the time to sprinkle the steaks with salt and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, this is good, but if you don't? Don't let it stop you!
My next trick is for telling when your meat is done- youre going to use your fingers to help you determine how well done your steak is. When you put your thumb and forefinger together, feel the muscle thats pointed out by the arrow, the one just below where your thumb meets your hand.
-Thumb+Forefinger = What cooked to Rare Meat feels like.
- Thumb+Middle finger= What cooked to Medium Rare Meat feels like.
-Thumb+Ring finger= What cooked to Medium Meat feels like.
-Thumb+Pinkie finger= What cooked to Well Done Meat feels like.
As its winter, we throw on the trusty headlamp and go fire up the grill! When your grill is preheated to at least 500F, throw the steaks on. Take the time to know your grill- some areas will cook hotter, some colder. I use this to my advantage: if there are thicker steaks, put them on the hotter areas, thinner on the colder, so you don't have some cooking waaaay faster than the others. On my grill, the front is the hottest, back is the coldest.
I know, I know, pictures by headlamp are not the best, but it's winter, take what you can get here. For thinner steaks (¾ inch to 1 inch thick), I set a timer for 3-4 minutes before I go back outside to flip them. Thicker steaks, 1 inch and fatter, try more like 5 minutes. Your grill, the temp of your steaks, the outside temp, all factor in how long the steaks will take to cook.
When they've reached my desired done-ness, based on my high tech thumb and finger method, I take em off the grill (turn your grill off!) into a pie plate or casserole dish, depending on how many steaks I have.
This is where the magic happens- These are approximately 12 ounce steaks, and I used 1 tablespoon of butter per steak...this amount is up for debate, use what feels good to you. Butter is all about what feels good. Cover your pan in tinfoil, set a timer for 10 minutes, get the rest of your dinner pulled together, get the kids to wash their hands and set the table, beautiful steaks are just minutes away!
After ten minutes, the pan will have beautiful meat+butter juices. Tip the pan to the side so they all pool in a corner, and add your vinegar of choice. This acidity adds a nice boost to the flavour, and helps these juices come together in the most beautiful, simple pan sauce.
If you're serving steaks to adults, simply put steaks on a plate and spoon some of the lovely sauce overtop. As we're mostly feeding children, we slice all the steak, then put it back into the pan and toss with the sauce. This makes serving at dinner much simpler, and if you were serving a lot of people with a limited amount of steaks, this would help stretch things too.
- 2 venison steaks mine were 12 oz each
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter about 1 tablespoon per steak
- Splash vinegar
- Preheat your gas grill to 500 F.
- If time allows, sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and pepper and let rest for 30 minutes to get the chill off.
- For thinner steaks (under 1") shoot for 3 minutes per side. Thicker than 1" start with 5 minutes per side.
- Once done to your liking (I prefer venison on the rarer side) set in a glass baking dish and bring inside.
- Dot butter over the steaks, and cover the pan tightly with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Add a splash of any type of vinegar to the pan juices. Serve steak whole with a spoon of juice or slice up thinly and toss in the drippings.