Hopefully by now you’ve got a freezer full of venison and not enough ideas on how to cook it. You probably have your go-to recipes but why not step out of the “box stand” and give one of these a shot!


Venison Reuben

From the kitchen of Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist


Photo credit: Charlie Killmaster



Venison roast, preferably shoulder/neck, 1 to 3 lbs.

Thick-cut rye bread

Spicy brown mustard or Thousand Island dressing, your preference

1 tablespoon pickling spice

Morton’s Tender Quick, or your salt/sugar brine of choice


Swiss cheese

Crock pot

I always prefer bone-in roasts from the front of the deer for this recipe. Start by making a brine using the directions on Morton’s Tender Quick or any other recipe for a salt and sugar brine. Make enough brine to totally submerge the meat and mix in the pickling spice. You can marinate anywhere from 1 to 5 days, but I find 3 days to be ideal before it gets to be too salty.

Whenever I’m processing a deer I harvested, I like to go ahead and brine 3 or 4 chunks of meat before I freeze it so I don’t have to wait on brining each time. Just thaw and cook when you’re ready. Next, rinse the meat and cook in a crock pot with plain water for about 8 hours. Shred the meat and assemble the sandwiches with the mustard or dressing, sauerkraut, cheese, and toasted bread.

To prevent a soggy sandwich, I like to heat up the sour kraut and squeeze with a paper towel to soak up excess moisture. Serve with fries or your favorite side dish and enjoy!


Osso Bucco

From the kitchen of Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist


Photo credit: Charlie Killmaster, GADNR



2 Venison shanks, crosscut

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced onion

1 diced celery

1 can crushed tomatoes

3 cloves chopped garlic

Parsley for garnish

1 tube of prepared polenta (similar to grits) or rice

1 cup of chicken broth

1 cup of dry red wine

¼ cup flour

¼ olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Dutch oven or crock pot

Osso Bucco means “bone with a hole” in Italian. Although you don’t have to crosscut the shanks, it’s better if you do because the bone marrow that cooks out into the dish is one of the key flavors. I usually freeze all my shanks whole and cut them up all at once with a dedicated clean circular saw. You could also take all your frozen shanks to a processor and have them sliced on a bandsaw. Ideal thickness of each piece is 1 ½ to 2 inches. It also helps to tie the meat to the bone with cooking twine so it doesn’t fall apart.

Lightly coat the pieces of shank in flour, just a little dusting will do, and then sear the outside in the olive oil in a piping hot pan. For the next step, a cast iron Dutch oven or covered oven-safe vessel works best for braising, but a crock pot will do if that’s all you have. Make a bed for the meat out of the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic and then pour all the remaining ingredients over the top of the meat except for the parsley and polenta. Bake the Dutch oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours at 325 degrees, or until the meat is fork tender. Check it part way through and add water if necessary to prevent burning. Follow the directions for preparing the polenta, then create a bed of it to place the shank on. Another great way to serve polenta is to cut ½ inch thick slices from the tube and pan fry them in oil. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, add a green vegetable and enjoy!


Easy Venison Pot Roast

From the Kitchen of Jennifer Forster


Photo credit: Holly Heyser, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook



1 venison roast

1 Packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup

Place a nice plump deer roast in crockpot. You can soak the roast beforehand in buttermilk or a salt brine overnight to cut any gaminess and ensure it stays moist. Then, sprinkle dry soup mix over meat and empty a can of soup in crock pot. You can also cut up and add carrots, small potatoes, and onions. Finish by turning the crockpot on low and leaving that bad boy to cook for 6-8 hours. Serve with rice or a tasty vegetable and some scrumptious Hawaiian rolls.

*Note: For more gravy, double soup mix and canned soup.  


Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Adapted from Venison Cookery by The Complete Hunter


Photo credit: Holly Heyser, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Meatball Ingredients:

1 lb. Lean Ground Venison, Crumbled

1 Egg Beaten

½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

½ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

¼ Teaspoon Ground Pepper


Other Ingredients:

1 Can (20 oz.) Pineapple Chunks, Drained (reserve liquid)

¼ Cup White Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 Teaspoons Packed Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 Tablespoon Plus 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch

2 Cup Carrots, Cut in ¼ inch Slices

1 Small Onion, Sliced

1 Cup Green Pepper, Seeded and Cut Into ¼ inch Strips

6 Cups Hot Cooked White Rice

In a large mixing bowl, mix all meatball ingredients and roll into 1 inch balls. This recipe should make about 30 of them. Set these to the side. Using a 2 cup measurer mix pineapple juice and water to create 1 cup of solution. Then in the same measurer, mix in the vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of ginger. Set this mixture to the side. Finally, mix in a small bowl the pineapple chunks and cornstarch.

Coat a 12-inch, nonstick skillet with vegetable spray and put it on medium heat. Place meatballs in skillet to cook for 5-7 minutes or until meatballs are brown then drain.

In the skillet, add your pineapple juice mix, carrots, and onions. On medium heat, bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 13-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir this occasionally. Add your pineapple and cornstarch mix and stir until smooth. Next, stir in green peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes or until green peppers are bright green. Stir this frequently. Serve over rice for a homey comfort meal.

This recipe might take a little more effort and preparation, but it is well worth the work you put into it. This is a delicious meal and a good change of pace to the typical week night dinner.


Classic Venison Lasanga

Adapted from Venison Cookery by The Complete Hunter


Photo credit: Holly Heyser, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook



1 lb. Uncooked Fresh Venison Sausage Crumbled

1 Cup Onion, Chopped

2-3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

2 Cans (15 oz. each) Tomato Sauce

1 Can (14 ½ oz) Diced Tomatoes, Drained

2 Tablespoons Snipped Fresh Parsley

1 Teaspoon Dried Basil Leaves

1 Package (12 oz.) Uncooked Lasagna Noodles (12 Noodles)

3 Cups Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, Divided

1 Package (15 oz.) Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese

½ Cup Shredded Fresh Parmesan Cheese, Divided

1 Egg

1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano Leaves

In a 12-inch skillet, combine sausage, onion, and garlic. Stirring occasionally, cook the mixture over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink and drain any leftover liquid. Now stir in your tomato sauce, tomatoes, parsley, and basil. Over medium heat, bring the batch to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 10 minutes and allow it to thicken. Then, remove from heat and set sauce aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F. While waiting, cook noodles as instructed by package and drain. In a mixing bowl, mix well 1 cup mozzarella, a package of ricotta, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, egg, and oregano.

In the bottom of 13 x 9 inch baking dish spread 1 ¼ cups sauce. Top evenly with 4 noodles, half ricotta mixture, 1 ¼ cups sauce and ⅔ cup mozzarella. Repeat these steps with one more layer beginning with your noodles. Top evenly with remaining noodles, mozzarella, and sauce before sprinkling the remaining ¼ of parmesan over top.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until edges are bubbly and cheese is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This is a yummy country twist on an Italian classic!


Peppercorn Tenderloin

Adapted from Venison Cookery by The Complete Hunter


Photo credit: Holly Heyser, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook



3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

1 lb. Venison Tenderloin

12 Tablespoons Coarsely Crushed Whole Peppercorns

1 Tablespoon Butter

Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick vegetable spray and set aside.

First, spread the garlic evenly over the tenderloin. Next, coat in peppercorn by rolling the tenderloin making sure to press the peppercorn into meat. Place tenderloin in the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Dot butter on top of tenderloin and continue baking for 6-10 minutes or until desired doneness. Let tenderloin stand, tented with foil, for 5 minutes before slicing. This is great serves with a hearty helping of roasted potatoes and green beans.

*For a more colorful dish, blend red, black, and green peppercorns.*


Wild Chili

Adapted from The Hungry Hunter’s Complete Venison Cookbook


Photo credit: Holly Heyser, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook


2 Pounds Ground Venison

2 Tablespoons Green Pepper

½ Dry Onion Soup Mix

1 Large Tomato, Chopped

1 ½ Cups Kidney Beans

1 Medium Onion

2 Cloves Garlic

2 ½ Tablespoons Chili Powder

1 ½ Cup Tomato Sauce

In 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, brown venison, onion, and pepper in large pot. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer 1-2 hours. You read correctly – it’s easy as that and tastes good too!