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Cooking great venison steak is easy, even for beginners.

  1. Our top tip is to let the steak lie in salt water for a few hours, which adds juiciness & flavour.
  2. Marinade for a few hours if you have time, or just letting it lie in salt water is great too.
  3. Don’t overcook….Cook over hot coals or a superhot pan, only until it’s pink.
  4. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before digging in. This way the juices have time to distribute throughout the meat – it’s just yummier!

Here’s more great advice:

Marinate your venison steak

It’s important to choose an acidic marinade with plenty of bright flavors from vinegar or citrus. My all-purpose marinade has plenty of red wine vinegar, lemon, and salt. You certainly don’t have to marinate venison steak but it helps if you’re learning. Follow this recipe when cooking venison chops without marinade.

These 3 ingredients not only work with the “gamey” flavor and tone it down, but they also tenderize the meat and help break down some of the tissue so that it’s buttery soft after you cook it. If you’re newer to eating venison/deer meat, I do recommend using a marinade because the flavor is different than the beefy flavor you may be expecting.

With venison steaks, I marinate for at least 3 hours, but up to overnight. I know that seems long, but it works great for me!

A note: If you’re working with really beautiful steaks from the loin/backstrap, you may not need a marinade if your meat is cooked appropriately. Or, if you’re familiar with the taste of deer, go ahead and skip this step if you’d like.

Simple salt and pepper go a long way. I like to season liberally before cooking and then I finish a rested steak with a light squeeze of lemon and flakey salt.

Counter Rest/Pat Dry Before Cooking

Another great tip is to let your meat come to room temperature on the counter for 30-45 minutes before cooking. This will not make your food go bad, it simply ensures more even cooking because the center won’t be cold when you cook to medium-rare (more on this below).

You also want to pat your steaks entirely dry with a paper towel before cooking them. I NEVER rinse my proteins, but I do pat them dry, even if I marinade, to encourage a nice, brown crust on the meat. Liquid causes steam in the pan which shoots you in the foot if you’re trying to create a sear. This tip applies to cooking most proteins.

Don’t overcook it

Venison steak should be cooked to medium-rare or even rare plus if you like a rare steak. I pull my steaks from the grill or pan as soon as they reach 117-125F – I prefer 117F. They still cook a bit after you remove them and I always use a digital read thermometer to make sure I’m really precise.

You honestly can’t overlook this step. I’m all about making things easy on you and laid-back recipes, but if you overcook your meat…you’re going to be sorry. This is a HARD and fast rule in my book.

I understand that not everyone likes rare/medium-rare meat but I encourage you to try. My medium steak kind of guy has been converted.

Rest before serving

Also…don’t cut into your meat right after it comes off the heat. As much as it does look amazing, allow it to rest so the juices have a chance to creep back into the meat for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Get together your side dishes, set the table, etc. Just give that meat time to rest!

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