Venison, when butchered and cleaned properly, is a very lean meat because it has little to no intramuscular fat. There is a bit on the outside of the muscles, but it doesn’t taste very good (it is a tallowy fat that coats the roof of your mouth). So, when we approach a lean meat like this in the kitchen, we generally cook it quickly and over high heat. The main purpose of cooking meat this way is to keep it from overcooking and drying out. Basically, I am telling you that with venison, you can’t cook it past medium. If you do, you will need an extra set of teeth to chew it up. To help y’all who like your meat that way, I’ve included a recipe for Chimichurri that I think you will like.
- 6 venison Steaks, thick-cut (1½ inches)
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
Venison Steak Grilled over High Heat with Sea Salt and Black Pepper, Served with Chimichurri Sauce
- Get a hold of some nice-looking venison steaks. For many of us, the easiest way to get some venison steaks is not actually all that easy. Hunting, although rewarding in many ways (and in my opinion completely worth the effort), is quite the involved process, especially if you don’t live in a place where there are deer. You could always buy some venison from the store, but it’s expensive and hard to find.
- Season the venison steaks simply. These steaks came from somewhere near the rear of the animal I believe; we’ll call them rump steaks. There are many ways to process deer meat, and so there can be many “cuts” that seem unfamiliar. In truth, it matters little; as long as they are nice and thick, which is best for grilling, they will be perfect. Season them with a little salt and pepper just before you put them on.
- Grill the venison steaks over high heat. Turn the grill up to the maximum heat (for gas), or get the coals blazing orange (for charcoal). Get the grates hot and clean them, then apply a little high-temperature cooking oil like canola. Use a disposable paper towel or grill brush to apply the oil; this will keep the steaks from sticking too badly. Take it easy with the oil, though; each drip could be a potential flame-up.
- Check the internal temperature of the venison steaks. These steaks were cut an 1½ inches thick, so when I cooked them for about eight minutes they were still medium rare. However, time is of little importance here—the important factor is internal temperature. Temperature is the true judge of when a steak is done. Use a digital thermometer and take the temperature in the exact middle of the middle. Use the temp guide below to determine doneness.
Tips & Tricks
- Get venison steaks that are cut 1½–2 inches thick for grilling. That will give you some breathing room, and you will be less likely to overcook the meat.
- The temperature guide for venison is as follows. Rare: 120–125 degrees Fahrenheit; medium rare: 125–130; medium: 130–140; medium well: 140–150; and well done: 150+
- A special thank you to Will Weaver for hosting this cookout at his house, for providing the very tasty venison, and the use of his amazing kitchen and awesome grill. Thanks! And if any of you are looking for a good book and/or short story to read, read one of Will Weaver’s. He is a great writer and awesome dude all around.
- 2 cups fresh parsley, chopped fine
- 1 tsp oregano, chopped fine
- 1 tsp sage, chopped fine
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 Tbsp red onion, minced
- 4 Tbsp tomato flesh, minced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
Olive oil to cover, stir and let sit out on the counter for two to three hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with the steaks and some baguette.