How To Cook Venison Steaks - Basic and Simple Guide

How To Cook Venison Steaks - Basic and Simple Guide

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The rumor is that cooking deer steaks is hard. The other rumor is that deer meat is tough and gamey tasting. I am here to tell you this is not true. You can absolutely make incredible, juicy, yummy meals of any kind using venison instead of beef. In this post I am going to walk you though the basics of how to cook juicy venison steaks.


So this isn’t really a venison steak recipe, particularly, more of a how to guide. But I will include a recipe card at the bottom for a quick reference. If this is your first time cooking venison steaks, I am glad you found us. 


The thing you need to know about wild game meat is that they provide a very lean meat. It doesn't have all of the fat that creates a little grease in the pan like beef does. That is why it can be tough if not cooked right. But a couple of lessons learned and successes and you will be a pro in no time. 


Here are three great tips for cooking any sort of deer meat:


Rule Number 1 

The first rule to cooking with venison, no matter what you are cooking, is don’t overcook it. This is true for ground, cubed or for steak. The only exception here is for really large cuts of meat that you are cooking low and slow in a slow cooker. Like a roast. 

This is especially true if you are serving up a venison steak. Rare to Medium Rare is where you want to stay. 

We have basically raised our daughters on venison meat and so both from early ages grew accustomed to and prefer rare meat. Which is an odd preference, I can admit, for a 6 year old. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when they would tell waiters they wanted something rare and the waiter would look at me with a super confused look on their face. 



Rule Number 2

The next rule is good seasoning. However, seasoning is key whether you are cooking fish, chicken, beef, anything. And can be a lot of fun to experiment with different flavors and learn what goes well together. 

For steak we usually use a good blend that way the guess work is done for us. Our favorite is The Blend from Kinders Seasoning. 



 Rule Number 3

There is no rule number 3. That’s it! It really is easy once you become familiar with what you are working with. I will take this moment to remind you of Rule Number 1 though, don’t overcook it. It should be the only rule, now that I think about it. 



Here We Go


1. Thaw your steaks, no matter what cut of meat you have decided on. Our favorite is venison tenderloin, we tend to think this is the best cut of meat. It is super tender. Keep in mind this one is small, so it cooks up quickly.




2. Soak your steak in marinade. A lot of recipes tell you this is how you get rid of the gamey flavor or how you make sure the meat is tender. And that is true, but this is not a mandatory step if you are pressed for time. You can still get a tasty, juicy steak without a marinade. But, if you want a extra flavor and have the time, go for it! 

It is also true that ingredients in marinade recipes, like soy sauce, vinegar and citrus juices, help break down muscle fibers and tenderize the meat. So if your harvest was an older, big, buck with big old muscles then a little soak will do it some good. 

A simple marinade is to put the meat in a zip lock bag and add in some Worcestershire sauce. No specific measurements here, just enough to get a good coating on the meat. Pop it in the fridge for an hour or as long as overnight. Flip it over a couple of times to give all sides some time in the saucy bath. 



3. Coat your meat in the seasoning of your choice. Even a generous sprinkle of salt and black pepper will do the job. Plain old salt and pepper will work, of course. But cracked pepper has been a game changer for me. You can grab jars of it with the grinder in your grocer’s spice aisle. Or just go ahead and grab these fancy ones on Amazon. 

If you want a little something more than salt and pepper but not going with a blend, then give these simple ingredients a try:


  • Garlic Salt
  • Onion Powder
  • Rosemary (but make sure they are crushed up pretty well)
  • Tyme
  • Paprika (Smoked Paprika gives a little smoky kick)


TIP: If you like a crispy crust on your steak then before you add the seasonings, give it a good pat down with a paper towel. Even if you did a marinade soak. 



4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. But you are starting on the stove. Use a cast iron skillet. (By the way if you don't have one of these, you gotta get one. Just click on the image below!)  Drizzle a little olive oil and let the pan get really hot.





Once your oil starts to smoke just a little bit then lay your steaks on the pan and hear them sizzle. Give a nice sear on one side for about 20 seconds. The searing time is just that fast. Then flip it over and immediately take your skillet, steak and all, and put it in the oven. 

A cast iron pan is heavy and hot! Be careful and don’t forget to use an oven mit!

Let it continue to cook in the oven for about 10 minutes for a small cut of meat. Larger cuts of venison need a little longer. Just keep an eye on that internal temperature with a meat thermometer.

For best results it is a good idea to pull it from the oven and take it off the skillet at about 120 degrees. Keep in mind it will continue to cook a bit even after you pull it out. Cooking steaks does not take a long time at all.  

For a visual test, when you pick up a piece of meat with a pair of tongs it should flop a bit on both sides. It should only be slightly stiffer than it was when you put it in. When you squeeze it with the tongs it should have a lot of give or bounce in the meat. 

Once you’ve pulled it out, lay a slice of butter on top of each steak and let that melt on down. 



5. Let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before you cut into it. When meat rests it will let the juices settle back into the meat and make for a really great steak. 


Enjoy! And pat yourself on the back because you have made the perfect venison steak. 


It is that easy! Basically, season it. Sear it. Pop it in the oven to cook through a little bit. Drop a dollop of butter on it and.....yummy. 



Serve up any of your favorite steakhouse sides for a really special meal. A tried and true baked potato and salad are always a perfect pair. In our house we love a good roasted veggie like fingerling potatoes, green beans, asparagus, brussels sprouts or even okra. 


Now that you have mastered a venison steak, give one of our favorite venison recipes a try, our Absolute Best Venison Burger. Talk about juicy venison burgers! It is a little more effort, but well worth it!

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