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Venison: Main Image

Preparation, Uses, & Tips

Trim off all excess venison fat before cooking, as the fat contains the gamey taste. If some fat is desired, add beef or pork fat.

Tough meat can be tenderized by marinating it in acidic ingredients (for no more than 24 hours), or pounding it with a mallet to break down connective tissues.

Venison toughens quickly if overcooked or cooked at high heat. For best results, use a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the venison, making sure the thermometer is not touching a bone. Internal temperatures should be as follows when the venison is done:

  • Ground venison 160°F (71°C).
  • Roasts, steaks:
  • Medium rare 145°F (62°C)
  • Medium 160°F (71°C)
  • Well done 170°F (76.6°C)


Heat a frying pan until very hot. Add butter or oil. Fry thin steaks 90 seconds on each side. Serve hot.


This dry-heat method works well on tender cuts, such as tenderloin, loin, and sirloin roasts. Wash roast under cold water, pat dry, and place on a rack above a shallow roasting pan. Cover top of roast with bacon strips. Insert meat thermometer deep into the meat. Roast at 300 to 350°F (150 to 180°C) until desired internal temperature is reached, 20 to 15 minutes per pound (454g)

Moist roasting

Lay out enough aluminum foil to double-wrap the roast. Sprinkle dehydrated vegetable soup mix on foil; place roast on foil, then sprinkle more soup mix on top of roast. Wrap and cook in preheated 325 to 350°F (160 to 180° C) oven for several hours, until tender yet still moist and juicy.


Wash steaks, pat dry, and place steaks or burgers on a rack above a shallow roasting pan. Adjust the oven rack so meat is 3 inches (7.6cm) from the heat source for thin cuts, 4 inches (10cm) for thick cuts. Turn with spatula after 7 to 10 minutes for a 1 1/2-inch (3.8-cm) steak. Cook until desired internal temperature is reached.


Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat until very hot. Add oil or butter and place steak or burgers in the skillet. Sear until brown on both sides, turning only once.


Wash venison, cut into thin strips, and pat dry. Use tender cuts or tough cuts sliced across the grain. Heat a wok or heavy skillet until very hot. Add oil, then the slices of venison. Stir until done, about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on quantity. Venison stir-fries well in small batches.


Wet-heat cooking methods work well for tougher cuts of meat, such as pot roast or brisket. Heat a heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until very hot. Add oil or butter. Wash roast, pat dry, and brown on all sides. When all the meat is browned, add cooking liquid and cover tightly with a lid. Cook in the oven at 325°F (160°C) or on the stovetop over low heat until venison is tender.


Wash, pat dry, and cut tougher cuts into cubes. Brown in oil if desired. Then place meat in a Dutch oven and cover with liquid and herbs, spices, and vegetables. Cook in a preheated oven at 325°F (160°C), or on the stovetop over low heat until venison is tender.


For roasts, place meat on a roasting rack over a dish, fat side down. Cook on High for 6 to 8 minutes, then on Medium for 7 to 14 minutes per pound (454g). Turn the dish halfway through. Let stand 15 minutes. For burgers, arrange portions on a greased baking dish, and cook 10 minutes per pound (454g) on High, turning halfway through cooking time.


Place steaks or burgers on a prepared grill with the rack about 8 inches (20cm) from the heat source. Grill, turning frequently, for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until fork tender. Homemade or bottled barbecue sauce (or other glazes) may be brushed on venison during last 10 to 20 minutes of grilling time.

To test the temperature, place your palms above the coals or heat source at cooking level. If you have to remove your hands after 2 seconds, the temperature is hot; after 3 seconds, medium hot; and after 4 seconds, medium. More than 4 seconds indicates the grill has not reached cooking temperature.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.