The Best Way to Cook Deer Meat So It's Tender

Cook deer meat properly so that it doesn't turn out tough and dry.
Image Credit: LauriPatterson/E+/GettyImages

Deer meat — also referred to as venison — is tender, moist and flavorful when prepared correctly. When it hasn't, the result is a dry, tough and unappetizing meal. Ensure a tender piece of deer meat is served to your family and guests by following a few basic preparation.

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Things You'll Need

  • Deer meat

  • Plastic container

  • Meat tenderizer tool

  • 4 tbsp. olive oil

  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar

  • Juice of one lemon

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • 2 tsp. sea salt

  • 2 tsp. black pepper

  • Mixing bowl

  • Grill

  • Tongs

  • Meat thermometer

Instructions

  1. Place the meat in a plastic container and keep the deer meat in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. This allows natural enzymes to break down and tenderize the meat. Keep the temperature between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take the meat out of the fridge and remove it from the plastic container.
  3. Tenderize the meat with a meat tenderizer tool. This is a handheld tool with various blades that break down the muscle fibers. Push the blades down. into the deer meat about 10 to 15 times per side.
  4. Combine the marinade ingredients -— olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper — in a mixing bowl and submerge the deer meat.
  5. Place the bowl with the meat in the refrigerator for between 4 and 24 hours. The mild vegetable acid tenderizes the meat while the other ingredients add moisture and flavor.
  6. Grill the deer steaks over a hot fire to ensure the deer meat is cooked quickly.
  7. Turn the steaks one time and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. This ensures the steaks are cooked no more than to medium-rare, leaving them tender with a juicy, pink center.
  8. Check the internal temperature of the deer meat with a meat thermometer. Cook the deer meat to 130 degrees and remove immediately. Overcooking deer leads to dry, tough meat.
  9. Let the deer meat rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Allowing the meat to rest brings the natural juices back to the center of the meat.
  10. Cut the deer meat across the grain. If you cut with the grain, the meat will be tough.

Tip

Cook deer roasts with low heat for longer time periods. Using a slow cooker allows you to add moisture so the meat is tender. Cooking time for slow cooking requires about 20 to 25 minutes per pound.

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