We all hate those recipe sites that make you scroll through dozens of pictures and the author’s whole life story before you actually get to the recipe—so we’re going to skip all of that and get straight to it. Here are three recipes that come together quickly enough for a weeknight meal using America’s favorite game meat.
Bacon-wrapped venison is a cliché for a reason—it’s delicious. This entree is a twist on the classic game popper, and it’s very customizable. Swap out the seasoning and the stuffing add-in for a whole new dish. Use whatever size backstrap will feed your family. For a family of three or four, about half of one backstrap will be perfect.
1 piece of venison backstrap, whole
Seasoning of choice: Steak seasoning, Cajun seasoning, etc.
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
Stuffing of choice: Small can of mushrooms, can of green chilis, jarred or fresh jalapeños, ham and pineapple, etc.
- Lay strips of bacon out on a jelly-roll pan or baking sheet with a lip, slightly overlapping, until you have enough side-by-side to cover the length of your piece of backstrap. Pop the pan in the oven and turn it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not preheat the oven before you put the bacon in!
- When the oven hits 400, take the partially-cooked bacon out and set aside to cool slightly.
- Slice the backstrap lengthwise about ¾ of the way through, butterflying it open. You can pound it flatter if you like, but I generally don’t. Season inside and out generously with the seasoning of your choice.
- Put your cream cheese and stuffing in a bowl and stir to combine. Spread it on the inside of the backstrap. I used a 4-ounce can of green chilis for the stuffing in the backstrap you see in the photo, but the possibilities are endless here.
- Fold the backstrap back together and wrap the whole thing tightly in the partially-cooked bacon, securing it with toothpicks. This will be a fairly messy process, but use the bacon to help hold everything together. Place the wrapped backstrap on a rack in a baking pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes for medium rare. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.
Award-Winning Venison Chili
This simple recipe has helped me place in the office chili cook-off two years in a row. The secret ingredient is time—make this at least 24 hours before you plan to eat it, and 48 or 72 hours is better. The flavors meld beautifully in the fridge, and it’s so easy to make the chili on a Sunday and then have supper ready to go on Tuesday or Wednesday. Just heat and eat!
I use mild Rotel for a kid-friendly chili. If you like heat, use regular or hot Rotel, or add some additional cayenne. This makes a thicker, stew-like chili. If you like a lot of liquid in your chili, feel free to add some beef broth or water to thin it out.
This makes a large batch you can keep in your pantry for future use. Use a ratio of 2 to 3 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of meat. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake until blended.
12 tbsp. chili powder
6 tbsp. seasoning salt
4 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 lbs. ground venison
5 tbsp. chili seasoning (above)
2 cans beans, undrained
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans Rotel
- Brown the venison over medium-high heat in a large stockpot.
- Add all other ingredients. I prefer petite diced tomatoes and two different types of beans for visual interest—usually dark red kidney beans and light red kidney beans, but sometimes I throw in a can of navy beans or whatever else I have on hand. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.
- Let cool. Store in the fridge at least 24-72 hours before reheating and serving.
Instant Pot Venison Steak Tips & Gravy
We see you, Instant Pot fans! If you don’t have an electric pressure cooker, there’s no reason why this wouldn’t be good cooked all day in a slow cooker, although I haven’t tried it.
2 lbs. venison stew meat, cut into 1” cubes
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. steak seasoning
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. beef broth
1 tsp. beef bouillon (I use Better than Bouillon)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. dried thyme
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
- Hit the sauté button on your Instant Pot and add the olive oil. While it’s heating up, combine the flour, steak seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and salt in a gallon zip-top bag. Add the stew meat and shake until all pieces are nicely coated.
- When the Instant Pot beeps that it’s hot (and not before—don’t rush this step!), add half the stew meat in a single layer. Let sit for a couple of minutes before you stir; you want to brown all sides but not cook the meat through. Remove the meat and place on a plate. Then, add the rest of the stew meat and repeat the process, removing the meat when brown. You’ll start to see what looks like burned bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. Don’t freak out—this is good.
- While the meat is cooking, combine the broth, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and thyme in a large measuring cup. Stir to dissolve the bouillon.
- Add the butter and onion to the pot after you remove the last of the meat. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot, getting that brown stuff up and stirred into the onions. Add the garlic and stir.
- Add a small amount of the broth mixture (about a quarter cup) to help you finish deglazing the pot. Scrape the bottom until it is smooth and all the brown bits are mixed into the broth and onions.
- Add the rest of the broth mixture and the stew meat to the pot. Cancel the sauté setting. Close and seal the lid.
- Set the cooking time for 25 minutes on high pressure. When it’s finished, let the pressure release naturally, which should take between 20 and 30 minutes.
- Combine the cornstarch and water in a small cup, stirring until smooth. When the Instant Pot has released its pressure, remove the lid and turn on the sauté setting again. Stir in the cornstarch and stir until the gravy is thickened—this should only take a minute. Turn the pot off.
- Serve over rice, mashed potatoes or egg noodles.