Best Venison Marinade Recipes

With a few good venison marinade recipes in your arsenal, you'll be eating steak year-round, long after the backstraps are gone

By: Jenny Nguyen

Marinating greatly benefits wild game. More active and on the go, wild animals use their muscles much more often and intensely than their domestic counterparts, which naturally results in tougher meat. On a deer, cuts from the front and hindquarters are too often given away or ground up to make hamburger. The acid in a marinade – usually in the form of vinegar, wine or citrus – tenderizes meat by breaking down muscle and connective tissue.

Before you marinate your venison; however, make sure to remove as much silver skin from the meat as possible. This tough, thick connective tissue will not break down without moist, slow cooking, and if kept on, your marinade will have a tougher time penetrating into the meat. If you’re hunting for meat, the best tip I can give anyone is to shoot younger deer.

Below is a list of my favorite venison marinade recipes. They are best used for steaks and skewers that will be cooked quickly over a hot flame.

Venison Carne Asada

Venison steaks in carne asada marinade with fresh cilantro. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

Venison steaks in carne asada marinade with fresh cilantro. (Jenny Nguyen photo)


Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds venison
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Half a jalapeño chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, stems and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil


Directions:

In a non-reactive bowl, combine all marinade ingredients. Place venison in a zip-top bag and pour in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight. Remove venison from marinade and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill to medium rare, and slice thinly for tacos and fajitas.


Apricot and Curry Venison Marinade

Apricot and yellow curry venison skewers on grill. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

Apricot and yellow curry venison skewers on grill. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

 

Thank you to Omuwiwe Hunting Safaris in Namibia for sending us the original oryx recipe for this dish, which we used to adapt for venison.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of venison
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water (for corn starch slurry)


Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Fry chopped onion until softened and slightly golden. Then add all other marinade ingredients, except the venison and corn starch. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of corn starch into 1-2 tablespoons of water, making sure there are no lumps. Add the slurry to marinade and mix well. Simmer marinade for another 5 minutes, or until thickened. Allow marinade to cool completely before adding venison. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Jerk Venison Marinade

Red peppers and venison in jerk marinade. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

Red peppers and venison in jerk marinade. (Jenny Nguyen photo)


Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds venison
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh peeled ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


Directions:

Combine ingredients – except venison – in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and pour the marinade into a zip-top bag. Add the venison and massage the bag to evenly distribute marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


Oil, Vinegar and Herbs Marinade

Venison marinating in olive oil, red wine vinegar and herbs. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

Venison marinating in olive oil, red wine vinegar and herbs. (Jenny Nguyen photo)


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of venison
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste


Directions:

Whisk together oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and rosemary. Season venison with salt and pepper to taste. Marinate venison for at least 2 hours.


Wine and Soy Sauce Venison Marinade

Wine and soy sauce venison with vegetables on grill. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

Wine and soy sauce venison with vegetables on grill. (Jenny Nguyen photo)


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of venison
  • 1 cup of burgundy wine
  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar


Directions:

Combine burgundy, soy sauce, curry powder, ginger, brown sugar and garlic into a non-reactive bowl and place venison into the marinade. Marinate for 2 hours.


Venison Chimichurri Sauce

Venison marinating in green chimichurri sauce. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

Venison marinating in green chimichurri sauce. (Jenny Nguyen photo)


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of venison
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • Half a jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more


Directions:

In a large nonmetal bowl, combine ¼ teaspoon of salt, red wine vinegar, garlic, jalapeño and onion. Allow ingredients to marry for 10 minutes. Next, stir in cilantro, parsley and oregano. Then whisk in oil. Season marinade with salt, to taste. Reserve some of the sauce for serving later. Add venison to the marinade and coat thoroughly. Marinate covered for at least 2 hours.

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