How to cook venison

by Annabel Warne March 07 2016

Available all year round in a variety of cuts, delicious venison needn’t only be an occasional treat. Don’t worry about it being difficult to cook either – it’s easy once you know how!  

With lean low-fat meat, venison is an increasingly popular alternative to other red meats. The rich flavour is the result of the deer’s varied, natural diet, which is why wild venison has an edge over farmed. The meat should be dark red with very little fat. Any fat there is should be white and firm.

Different species

The different species of deer vary in flavour and texture, with fallow having a finer texture than the mighty red, and the tiny muntjac giving the mildest flavour.

Venison any day

Whether you’re looking for a show-stopping centrepiece or a quick midweek meal, venison is the answer. A roast haunch makes an impressive dinner party treat while venison mince is great for burgers, Bolognese, chilli con carne and other family favourites. Meanwhile, our venison sausages, made with a little belly pork for succulence, are perfect for mash! A tender venison striploin is the finest cut available and makes a superb venison Wellington. It’s also fantastic for carpaccio when sliced paper thin.

Ideal flavours for venison

Fruits: quince, cherries, prunes, blackberries, apples
Herbs: thyme, rosemary, bay, sage
Spices: star anise, allspice, black pepper, cloves, juniper
Alcohol: red wine (e.g. Grenache, Zinfandel), cider, ale
Other: chestnuts, celeriac, red cabbage, chocolate, mushroom

Cooking Tips

  • Try venison as an alternative to beef in any recipe.
  • Take great care not to overcook venison. As with all game, venison can become tough when overdone.

  • Cook prime cuts like loin, haunch and saddle briefly on a high heat to medium-rare.

  • Slow cook or casserole tougher parts like neck, shoulder and shank at a low temperature.

  • Cover venison joints with pork fat or bacon.

  • Marinate meat with fresh herbs and rapeseed or olive oil before casseroling or braising.
  • Bring steaks up to room temperature before cooking.

  • Dry rubs add extra flavour: you can make your own using pepper, cumin, coriander or other spices or use one of the ready-mixed rubs from our Pantry.
 Or have a look at the ready-mixed rubs in our Pantry >

How to cook venison

Roast: 200°C/Fan180℃/Gas Mark 6 for 10 minutes for every 450g – allow to rest for 20–30 minutes.
Casserole: Brown meat in batches before cooking at 170℃/Fan 150°C/Gas Mark 4 for 2.5–3 hours.

Steaks: Pan fry 2–3 minutes on each side. Rest for 5–7 minutes.

Here are some of our favourite venison recipes