When people think of hunting the Rocky Mountains, they’re usually not thinking of hunting deer, squirrel, and rabbit. It’s the trophy elks, mountain goats, and mountain lions that they pride themselves on – getting the biggest and best, simply for bragging rights.
But for us, it’s about filling our freezers full of meat for the winter, which is why we’re not beyond hunting those animals that most hunters would ignore.
My taste for random wild game came because I grew up eating things like squirrel and raccoon. My husband simply had a taste for anything he could hunt and put in the freezer.
Between the two us, we feel that the meat we bring to the table from our hunting trips is the best way to keep our family away from the chemical-laden meat sold in grocery stores.
With that said, when we get a deer, squirrel, rabbit, duck, or grouse the meat portions are quite small. Yes, a deer gives us a lot more meat than a squirrel ever would, but the steak cuts that you get are tiny.
This makes it way too easy to overcook them, and if you’ve ever seen a happy hunter sit down to a good venison steak meal, only to see the disappointment across his face when he sees that said steak is damn near well-done, well, you’d know why I had to come up with a better way to cook those thin steaks.
Thin Venison Steaks
- Venison Steaks
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Place the thinly cut steaks in a bowl. Mix equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil in the bowl, just until the steaks are covered.
- Mix in crushed rosemary.
- Cover bowl with plastic, and let sit in room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. The point isn’t to necessarily bring it up to room temperature; in fact, doing so can make it cook way too fast. With that said, if your house is hot, stash the bowl in a cool place.
- When it’s time to grill or pan fry the steaks, drain them of the vinegar and oil mix.
- Sprinkle steaks with cracked pepper, but no salt; salt will dry out the thin steaks.
- Now, you have a choice of using a grill or pan frying the steaks. Either way, you need to know the heat settings so that you can control it at around medium-high heat. My grill cooks extremely hot on the right side, which would leave these steaks burned, even for the short period of time that they are cooked.
- If you’re going to grill the steaks, spray them with a light coating of oil spray. If you’re going to pan sear them, just dribble a little olive oil (or butter) in the pan.
- Place the steaks on the grill or in the pan and press down on them, firmly, with a spatula. You only need to press down for a couple seconds per steak.
- After 30 seconds, flip the steaks over, press down on them with the spatula, and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Take them off the grill or out of the pan, foil tent them on a cutting board, and wait 5 minutes before cutting into them. The meat should still be perfectly pink all the way through – a tasty medium-rare.
Thanks for the recipe we enjoyed it. My steaks were about 1/2″ thick and I cooked them for about 1 minute per side. They came out rare which was great for us but most people might want 1:15 per side.
I disagree on salt drying the meat out and I added 1/2 tsp to the marinade. It is a well known technique for making meat moister as the salt gets dawn into the meat and pulls moisture in. If you store meat in salt it will turn it into jerky but for the first few hours / days it makes it moister.
I definitely need to do more research on the salt stance. When it comes to a big chunk of meat, like prime rib, I’d definitely add a thick layer of salt, up to 2 hours ahead of time. But with these thin steaks, I’ve always been cautious to add salt too early – likely because I don’t want to draw out too much moisture. But I’m glad to hear you did it and enjoyed it! Here’s to more research and more cooking.
Dr W J Lomax
I have now used your recipe twice….having harvested 5 deer in the last 6 years, I can truly say your recommendation has provided us with absolutely the best tasty venison. A big Thank You
Always good to hear, thank you Dr W J Lomax!
I didnt have the rosemary or balsmic vinegar. I had to use a balsmic vinegarette marimade we had. Steaks were about 3/4″ thick, i cooked them for about 45 seconds per side in a hot iron skillet with butter. Turned out perfect! The whole family loved the steaks!
Yay, another round of thin venison steaks saved by flash cooking! Sounds like the balsamic vinaigrette worked out nicely.
Can I use a different vinegar with this????
Yes, experiment away! Let me know how it turns out! The balsalmic vinegar adds that bit of sweetness, where a normal vinegar would add a more tart taste.
So I’m brand new to cooking venison. Not much of a cook period so I look for simple recipes to try. Googled and found this one and since it only had a few ingredients I thought it would be worth trying. Let me tell you I’m so glad I did. Easy to prepare and easy to cook with an outcome that had my taste buds dancing. Think I may have went a little heavy on the olive oil though but the balsamic vinegar is killer. Will be doing this one again.
Always love to hear about happy, dancing taste buds!
How much rosemary? ??
If I’m cooking enough for my family of 4, I would sprinkle in a tablespoon or two to the marinade.