Why marinate venison? To tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor, of course. If you plan to do some hunting this season, make sure you pack the right mix of spices and mix the meat with the perfect homemade venison marinade.
It takes only a few extra steps to make a venison marinade recipe that will enhance your hard-earned venison for the table. For any cut of meat made for the oven, grill, or skillet, the flavor is everything. The same is true for game meat!
Why This Marinade is the One
- Robust flavor but doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of deer. My hunting hubby has tested out marinade recipes for years as one who loves venison and this one is a family favorite. It’s robust enough to add flavor to the venison, but not too overpowering that it overwhelms the taste of the meat.
- Right combination of fat and acid. High acidity can toughen your meat and with a lean cut like venison, we certainly wouldn’t want that! This recipe actually includes a good amount of olive oil to help add extra fat to the meat and help in cooking.
- Made with staple ingredients. Want to know the best part? This marinade is made with staple ingredients that you already have on hand.
What is in the venison marinade?
There are many different options when creating a marinade for deer meat. We like to keep it simple with bold delicious flavors that really enhance the juices and add tenderness to the meat whether you’re making venison steaks, venison roasts, flank steak, tenderloin or another cut of meat.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
- Liquid smoke
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cracked black pepper
How to Make A Great Marinade
Step 1: Trim Your Venison Cuts
You can use any cut of venison, but here, we are using the cut known as backstop or loin. Our butcher pre-cut these venison steaks; they weighed 1.5 pounds. If your loin comes in a longer size, you will need to slice it yourself into steaks about 1 inch thick.
IMPORTANT: Using a sharp knife, trim the silverskin from the meat like shown. Make sure to remove it all because it is extremely tough (historical fact: Native Americans used to use silver skin to make bowstrings!)
Step 2: Mix the marinade
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well until the salt dissolves.
Step 3: Marinate for at least 2 hours.
Place your steaks into a gallon size freezer bag and pour over the marinade. Remove as much air from the bag as you can. Allow the steaks to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator, but no more than 6. If you remember, flip the bag a couple of times to evenly coat the steaks. It’s not a big deal if you don’t!
Step 4: Cook The Venison
There are many different ways to cook venison. Here’s a few of our favorites using this classic marinade recipe with venison steaks.
- Pellet Smoker: My hubby cooked these on a pellet smoker preheated to 350˚ F. Each steak only requires 4-5 minutes of cooking per side. Since venison does not have a high natural fat content, you’ll ruin your steak by overcooking it. Been there, done that!
- Regular Grill: Grill until you reach an internal temperature of 135 to 140˚ F to reach a medium-rare to medium steak.
- Cast Iron Skillet: Again, you’ll be looking for a key internal temperature of 135-140 degrees to reach a medium-rare to medium steak.
When the steaks reach the key temperature, pull them off the heat immediately and allow them to rest under foil for 7-10 minutes before serving.
Even though the steak looks rather pink, it’s completely cooked through, melt in your mouth DE-LIC-IOUS! Venison has a different appearance than beef when cooked.
Make Ahead: You can make this marinade up to 24 hours ahead. Keep it in the refrigerator. However, marinate the meat for only 2 to 6 hours.
Other Cuts of Meat: This marinade is delicious with other cuts of meat like beef and pork or game like elk and moose.
Serve With: Pair the marinated steaks with scalloped potatoes and some fresh green beans…and maybe a glass of dark red wine? You will be sitting in a 5-star establishment in your own dining room.
More Venison Recipes
- 1.5 - 2 lbs. venison back strap
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Prep: Cut your backstop, loin, or favorite cut of venison into 1 inch thick steaks if not already done. Using a sharp knife, trim all the silverskin from the meat.
- Create Marinade: Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir well until the salt dissolves. Place your venison into a gallon size freezer bag and pour over the marinade. Remove as much air from the bag as you can. Allow the steaks to marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, but no more than 6.
- Cook: Cook the steaks on a pellet smoker, grill, or cast-iron skillet with a preheated temperature of 350˚F. If making venison steaks, they only need 4-5 minutes per side.Pellet Smoker: Preheat to 350˚F. Each steak only requires 4-5 minutes of cooking per side. Since venison does not have a high natural fat content, you'll ruin your steak by overcooking it. Regular Grill: Grill until you reach an internal temperature of 135˚ to 140˚ F to reach a medium-rare to medium steak.Cast Iron Skillet: Look for a key internal temperature of 135-140˚F to reach a medium-rare to medium steak. When you reach a key internal temperature of 135-140 degrees (medium-rare to medium), pull them off the heat immediately and allow them to rest under foil for 7-10 minutes before serving.