We all have friends who do not hunt. The open-minded kind of friend is curious; they relish the thought of trying something new and are fun at the dinner table.
Then there’s that other friend, the kind who heard from a friend, whose other friend told him or her their aunt said venison is gross. “It’s gamy and it’s tough … tasted like liver,” she said.
Well, those kinds of dinner guests are a tad more difficult to persuade, but presented properly, chances are good to get someone to try something new.
Here are some delicious ideas from Outdoor Channel TV show hosts on what to serve friends who have never tried venison. An effective way to get people to eat wild game is by utilizing it in dishes people already know and love, but this doesn’t mean intimating a first-timer with a big slab of moose steak on his or her dinner plate.
Instead, ease people in by adding venison into multiple-ingredient dishes. Venison pizza, stew, nachos and even an elegant charcuterie board; these recipes are sure to reward you with many thumbs up around the dinner table.
But before you start first-timer venison dinner, remember a good meal begins in the field and ends at the table. Aim to serve venison meat from does or younger deer for the best table fare. These animals are typically more tender and milder-tasting, providing the best bet at winning over less adventurous dinner guests. Also, be sure to follow best practices for field dressing and butchering your game.
Best Slow-Cooked Venison Recipe
By: Chris Brackett, host of "Fear No Evil"
Slow-Cooked Venison (Chris Brackett photo)
- 1 venison shoulder, deboned and diced
- 1 venison rump, deboned and diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 rib of celery, diced
- 6 carrots, diced
- 2 white onions, diced
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 small cans of diced tomato with peppers
- Green onion, chopped and to taste
- Rosemary (fresh or dried), to taste
- Thyme (fresh or dried), to taste
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 carton of beef stock
- Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Season diced venison with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a pan until smoking, and then sear the meat. Add browned meat to a casserole dish. Add to the meat onion, celery, carrots, green onion, leek, tomato paste and diced tomato. Add the rosemary, thyme, leek and beef stock; add more water if necessary to submerge all ingredients. Cover with tinfoil, the lid and oven braise for about 6 hours.
Add the broccoli right before the stew finishes cooking; this prevents the broccoli from overcooking. Before serving and while still hot, you may need to thicken stew with a little flour-and-water paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle fresh parsley over the top. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes, optional.
Venison Charcuterie Board
By: Gregg Ritz, host of “Hunt Masters”
Venison Charcuterie Board (Gregg Ritz photo)
Assemble onto a platter or plank (whatever fits your dinner theme).
Place slices of thinly sliced cured venison pepperoni, venison salami, venison prosciutto and venison summer sausage. Add fresh herbs, cheeses, fruits, nuts, honey and whatever else you would like, such as olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, etc.
Serve with wine and enjoy!
Venison Lovers Pizza
By: Hal Shaffer, co-host of “Greg Zipadelli's Drop Zone”
Venison Lovers Pizza (Hal Shaffer photo)
- Dough or pre-made crust for 1 large pizza
- 1 jar of pizza sauce
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups of ground venison sausage
- ¼ pound of sliced venison pepperoni
Prepare pizza dough or use store-bought crust. Preheat oven according to package or recipe directions. Spoon pizza sauce onto the crust, and then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with venison sausage and sliced venison pepperoni.
Bake pizza for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown on edges. Enjoy!
By: Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, hosts of “Crush with Lee & Tiffany”
Venison Nachos (Lee and Tiffany Lakosky photo)
- 1 pound of ground venison
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 cup of pico de gallo
- Half bag of tortilla chips
- 1 bag of shredded taco cheese
Brown ground venison in a sauté pan with oil. Add taco seasoning and mix. Combine pico de gallo into meat.
In a cast iron skillet, add venison mixture to center. Line the outside of the skillet with tortilla chips. Sprinkle chips with shredded cheese. Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Scoop up the venison with the chips. Enjoy!