How to cook venison

by Annabel Warne March 07 2016

Venison needn't be an occasional treat but it is always delicious! And don't be put off by thinking it's difficult to cook - it's a lovely meat to cook and really easy to handle.  

With lean low fat meat, venison is an increasingly popular alternative to other red meats. Wild venison has an edge over farmed having dark red meat with rich flavour resulting from its varied, natural diet. The different species of deer vary in flavour and texture, with fallow being finer textured than the mighty red, while the tiny muntjac has the mildest flavour.

A roast haunch of venison makes an impressive dinner party treat or for everyday use venison mince to make burgers, sausages, Bolognese or chilli con carne. Nothing can beat venison carpaccio if you can find fresh venison.

Ideal flavours for venison
Fruits: quince, cherries, prunes,
Herbs: thyme, rosemary, bay
Spices: star anise, allspice, black pepper, cloves, juniper
Alcohol: chestnuts, celeriac, red cabbage

Cooking Tips
Try venison as an alternative to beef in any recipe.
Take great care not to overcook it. As with all game, meat 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 the venison joints with pork fat or bacon.
Marinate the meat with fresh herbs and rapeseed or olive oil before casseroling or braising.
Dry rubs add extra flavour and you can make your own using, for example, pepper, cumin and coriander. Or have a look at the ready-mixed rubs in our Pantry >
Bring steaks up to room temperature before cooking.

How to cook Venison
Roast: 200°C/Fan180/Gas 6 for 10minutes for every 450g – allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
Casserole: 170/Fan 150°C/Gas 4 - reduced to 150*C/Fan 130°C/Gas 2 for 20 minutes until browned, reduce the heat and cook for another 2 hours.
Steaks: Pan fry 3-4 minutes on each side. Rest for 5-7 minutes.

Here are some of our favourite venison recipes.

Barbecued Venison Steaks
Grilled Venison and Green Sauce Sandwich
Jane Baxter's Venison Stew
Nigel Slater's Port Braised Venison with Oat Dumplings
Stevie Parle's Slow Cooked Venison Ragu
Pan Fried Venison Fillets with Garlic Potato Wedges and Red Wine Sauce