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hunting is that it gives us so many reasons to celebrate. When you creep into your deer stand under the stingy light of a headlamp and feel your stomach do somersaults, you're celebrating that special feeling of being totally alive. Gathering with friends around a crackling fire in deer camp is another reason to celebrate. And when someone gets lucky enough to bring a deer back to camp, well, that's the best celebration of all. And the good times continue, long after the last tinge of powder has drifted away. Be it buck or doe, the care we take in field dressing and butchering, to ensure that every piece of meat is saved, is our way of showing respect for the animals we take. And what better way to honor the game and cap off another successful deer season than by preparing a venison feast? To help you get started, we asked three renowned chefs (who are also die-hard hunters) to share some of their favorite venison recipes. We then teamed up with our sister publication Saveur, whose staff graciously opened their test kitchen to us, preparing the recipes and allowing us to photograph the wide array of tantalizing dishes you see here. Along the way, we added our own thoughts on the best cuts and the best cutlery with which to carve your slice of venison heaven. There are tips on how to grill the perfect steak, and a guide to great wine pairings. So put your feet up, throw another log on the fire and savor the pages that follow. Deer season might almost be over, but the enjoyment of it is still going strong.


App/ewood Bacon- Wrapped Venison Loin With Raspberry Preserves (SERVES B)

» 1 venison loin (back strap). all silver skin

removed » 1 cup whole milk » 3-4 garlic cloves. crushed » Small handful black peppercorns » 1 bunch fresh rosemary. picked off the stem

and chopped » 8·oz. jar raspberry preserves » 1 cup water

» '14 stick unsalted butter » 1 package applewood·smoked bacon. sliced » Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper DIRECTIONS

1. Cut venison loin in half and soak overnight in refrigerator with whole milk. garlic cloves. black peppercorns and rosemary. 2. To prepare the raspberry preserve sauce. combine raspberry preserves and water in a small saucepan and place over mediumhigh heat. Swirl in butter. Set aside and keep warm. 3. Drain the milk from the venison. discard all other ingredients. and pat venison dry with paper towels. 4. Layout the bacon strips on a cutting board. slightly overlapping each piece (forming 2 large bacon sheets). Place a loin on the bacon and gently roll the whole piece. covering in a sheet of bacon. Repeat process with the other half of the loin. 5. Season the bacon-wrapped loins with salt and pepper. 6. Place a large cast-iron skillet. seasoned with vegetable oil. on a stove over medium-high heat. Place loins in the hot skillet. seam side down. Sear for 4-5 minutes. until the bacon becomes crispy. Turn over and sear other side for same amount of time. With a pair of tongs. continue to turn venison to sear all sides. so the bacon is crispy on all sides. Cook to medium-rare. 7. Pull loins out of skillet and let rest for two minutes. Gently slice into medallions and fan across a plate. Drizzle with raspberry sauce and be the king of hunting camp!


Grilled Drunken Venison Chops With Pommes Frites (SERVES 4-6)

» 8 double-cut loin chops (remove sinew from eye

of meat) » 1 cup Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (reserve remainder of bottle for drinking) » 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced » 1 Tbs. cracked black pepper » '/2 cup olive oil » 1 large shallot, peeled and minced » 2 sprigs thyme, cleaned » 1 Tbs. crushed juniper berries » Pinch-plus of Kosher or sea salt » 2 cups blended olive/vegetable oil » 2-3 Idaho potatoes, washed and sliced lengthwise into 'I.-inch wedges and patted dry » Sea salt DIRECTIONS

Loin Chops 1. Whisk together wine, garlic, pepper, olive oil, shal-

lot, thyme and juniper berries for marinade. (Do not include salt!) Place chops and marinade together in large dish, making sure to coat meat thoroughly on all sides. Refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or up to 12 hours, turning meat several times. 2. Preheat grill to ensure that chops will be nicely seared. (The best fire for cooking is natural charcoal, but gas will do.) 3. Wipe excess marinade off chops before placing

chops on grill to avoid flare-ups from olive oil (and chipped teeth from juniper berries!). Turn over only once on grill to help get nice grill marks. 4. When you've reached your favorite doneness for venison (preferably no more than medium), pull chops from grilL Let rest to set juices (5-8 minutes). Sprinkle with sea salt.

Pommes Frites 1. Heat oil slowly in deep saute pan over mediumhigh heat. Look for heat waves rippling across surface oil, or test a small piece of potato before adding all fries. (Oil that is too hot or too cold is your enemy- the ideal temperature is 425 degrees.) 2. Gently add potatoes to oil, browning on all sides to tender inside. Remove to baking s creen or cookie sheet with paper towel and salt immediately. Serve one or two loin chops per person with pommes frites , pour a glass of Stag's Leap and enjoy!

(Note: You can substitute any good-quality Cabernet Sauvignon for the Stag's Leap in this recipe.)

CHOOSING THE RIGHT WINE Venison is very forgiving when it comes to wine. Unless it has been hung for a long time, it is not boldly flavored, which means most red wines work well with most cuts. However, the preparation is the thing: How you cook and sauce your venison will ultimately determine the best wine match. The loin medallions, for example, come to the table with a raspberry sauce, so the red wine you drink should have rich, red fruit notes bordering on sweetness. One great choice is the 2003 Torcicoda Primitivo Salento, Tormaresca- a powerful red from Puglia that should do the job nicely. ($21) For spicier foods like the autumn stew, I tend to stay away from Burgundy, but the New World Pinot Noirs, which are richer, can work quite well. One to try is the 2007 Whitehaven Pinot Noir, Marlborough, from New Zealand, which can handle the heft of this stew, and the spice. ($19) You don't necessarily have to drink Cabernet wines with dishes that have Cabernet in them, but why not? As an alternative to the Stag's Leap, consider the graceful 2007 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. ($20) The tomatoes, garlic and olive oil in the roasted rump recipe cry out for an Italian Sangiovese with good flavor and good acidity. The 2004 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Carpineto, from Tuscany, is a beauty that matches the description perfectly. ($27) The Gorgonzola in the venison roll can trip up the complexity of many a red, so for this dish I suggest a simple, straightforward, solid red that's happy just to blend in. The 2009 Terra Andina Carmenere, Valle Central, from Chile-and other Carmeneres in this low price range-are exactly what you need. ($8) Of course, keep in mind that these particular bottles are merely suggestions; other wines of the same type and with similar quali-David Rosengarten, Wine Editor, Saveur ties will go well, too.


Crackpot Autumn Venison Stew (SERVES 8)

» 4 lb. venison leg (hindquarter. cut into

2-inch cubes. all silver skin removed) » Kosher salt and black pepper » 2 cups flour » 3 Tbs. olive oil

» 1;' stick butter » 1 cup red wine » 2 l6-oz. cans beef broth » l16-oz. can chicken broth » 2 Vidalia onions. skinned. cored.

large dice » lIb. carrots. peeled. cut into rounds

» lIb. celery. medium dice » 2 tomatoes. large dice » lIb. parsnips. peeled. medium dice » lIb. rutabaga. peeled. medium dice » lIb. turnips. peeled. medium dice » 2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes. large dice

» lIb. portabello mushrooms. quartered

}} lIb. mustard greens. chopped » 5-7 sprigs fresh rosemary. plucked from

stem and minced }} 1 Tbs. chopped garlic » 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

}} 3 Tbs. Sriracha chili sauce (you can find it at your local grocer) }} 1 Tbs. Tabasco sauce DIRECTIONS

1. Season the venison with salt and pepper. Coat with flour. 2. Heat a skillet to medium-high and add olive oil. Sear venison to a golden brown. Add butter to coat. 3. Add red wine to the pan and make a paste. Pull pan from heat.

4. Transfer venison and paste to a large crockpot. Add beef and chicken broth. Turn crockpot to high and let cook for 11;' hours. stirring occasionally. 5. Add all other ingredients. Cover and simmer for another 11/, hours on high. Add water to the stew if necessary.

6. Turn crockpot to low and go hunting. When you return in a couple of hours. serve with fresh. hot buttermilk biscuits. Enjoy after a long. cold afternoon on stand!




CHOOSING PRIME CUTS Great-tasting venison starts with getting your deer field dressed (and the meat cooled) as quickly as possible. Then get your deer to a butcher on the double. Requesting the five cuts shown here will allow you to cook all of the recipes in this guide, and much more! 1. LOINS Also known as "back straps," the loins are the long (and very tender) pieces of meat that run along the top of the backbone. (The tenderloins are smaller and lie on the underside of the backbone.) Cook these whole or cut into steaks. This is the filet mignon of venison. 2. GROUND MEAT Can be made from any of the less desirable cuts. Great for burgers, meatloaf and sausages. Be sure to ask your butcher to add some pork fat (about 20 percent) or your burgers won't hold together.

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medium-rare. Cook them quickly on a grill or under the broiler.






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Much of the neck and shoulder meat on a deer can be used for stewing. Trim as much of the fat and silver skin off as possible before cubing. 4. STEW MEAT



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Gorgonzola-Filled Venison Roll (SERVES 6)

Meat Mixture » 1 lb. ground venison meat » 'Iz Ib. ground pork » 2 eggs, beaten » 'Iz cup fresh breadcrumbs » 1 tsp. black pepper

Filling Mixture » '13 cup grated carrots » 'Iz cup crumbled Gorgonzola

cheese » 'Iz cup breadcrumbs » 'Iz tsp. garlic powder


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Combine all meat mixture ingredients and mix welL On a flat

surface, place a double-thick sheet of aluminum foil (1'/2 feet long and the wider, the better). Place meat on the foil and flatten to I-inch thickness.

3. In a large bowl. gently combine all filling ingredients. Place the mixture 3 inches from the bottom edge of the flattened meat and roll meat into a cylinder, enclosing in foil. Crimp the ends of the foil. 4. Bake venison roll for one hour. Remove from the foiL Cut into '/2-inch-thick slices and serve.

{Note: Try serving this dish with horseradish, spicy mustard or chili peppers. Also, you can substitute another blue cheese for Gorgonzola.}


Dutch Oven Garlic-RosemaryStudded Venison Rump (SERVES 6-9, DEPENDING ON SIZE OF RUMP)

» 4-6 lb. boned-out rump cut » 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed » 1 Tbs. cracked black pepper » Kosher salt

» Leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary » 3 whole sprigs rosemary » Several Tbs. olive oil » 2-3 large carrots, peeled and chopped » 2 celery stalks, washed and chopped

HOW TO GRILL THE PERFECT STEAK STEP 1 Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling to allow the meat to reach room temperature. Also, remove excess fat, as fat causes flare-ups. STEP 2 Heat grill to 375 degrees. Test with a thermometer, or, if you can hold your hand 1 inch above the grates for only about two seconds, then it's at the proper temperature. STEP 3 Lightly brush canola oil over steak. Place steak on grill. Grill until nut brown, rotating steak to mark. When well marked, turn steak over with tongs. Grill to nut brown, again rotating to mark. Continue grilling to desired doneness. TIPS Try to turn the steak only once, because every time you turn it, the juices retreat to the top and evaporate. Do not puncture meat with a fork, both for food safety reasons and to keep juice in the steak. Because game has no marbling, it should be cooked rare or medium-rare to keep steak from drying out and becoming tough.

-Chef John Schumacher

» '12 large Spanish onion, peeled and chopped » 1 cup good-quality red wine » 6 stewed plum tomatoes (from can) » 6-plus cups unsalted beef stock (or bouillon) » 12-14 cippolini onions, skin removed » 6 parsnips, peeled and cut into '12 -inch slices » 2 Tbs. olive oil » Salt and pepper to taste


1_ Remove silver skin/sinew and excess fat

from roast. Rub meat with several of the crushed cloves of garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the meat into roast. 2. Using a long, thin knife (narrow boning knife), pierce the roast several inches deep in a half-dozen evenly spaced areas. Using a teaspoon handle, push crushed garlic pieces and rosemary leaves into slits. Rub roast with olive oiL 3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 4. Place Dutch oven on stove over high heat.

When pot is hot, sear roast, browning on all sides. Remove roast and reduce heat to medium. Add 1-2 Tbs. olive oiL Saute carrots, celery and onions to brown. 5. Add roast back to pot. Pour red wine over roast. Add stewed tomatoes. Add stock to cover. Bring to simmer on stovetop. Cover with lid and place in preheated oven. 6. After rump goes in the oven, prepare cippolini onions and parsnips. Place large saute pan on stovetop over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and saute to brown. Set aside. 7. One hour into cooking rump, add vegetables

to pot and replace lid. Cook additional 30-60 minutes until the meat is fork-tender. MORE ONLINE For more recipes, behind-the-scenes photos and video, and butchering tips, go to

CHOOSING THE RIGHT KNIFE Now that you have your perfectly prepared venison steak, you need the perfect knife. Here are three of our favorites (left to right): BUCK STEAK KNIFE: This full-tang serrated knife features a handsome rosewood handle. The 4-inch blade is made of satin-finished 420HC stainless steel. ($44; HIGH COUNTRY ARTS ANTLER KNIVES: The handles are made from elk, moose and deer antlers, ensuring each is unique. The stainlesssteel blades are crafted in Sheffield, England. ($150/4; VICTORINOX 5-INCH SERRATED STEAK KNIFE: Ice-tempered stainless steel and a triple-rivet molded ergonomic handle combine to create one of the finest steak knives available. ($90; swissarmy:com)

Outdoor Life: Perfect Venison Recipes  
Outdoor Life: Perfect Venison Recipes  

Perfect Venison Recipes from the Editors of Outdoor Life