Venison for Christmas

Joined Apr 3, 2008
I've had venison as stew, but I've never cooked it and have never had it as a roast. What is your experience with venison? Could it make a decent Christmas roast? What cut to buy, any special instructions on handling, and recipes and side dishes are welcome.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
A venison roast can be a spectacular Christmas dinner. Indeed, Friend Wife's first experience with it was as a New Year's roast at a friend's house.

The one thing to keep in mind with venison, or any game, is that it can easily dry out, because it lacks the fat content of beef. Farm raised venison is slightly better, in this regard, than wild. But not enough to matter.

So, rule #1: Do not cook it just like beef.

Basically, with something like a roast, you want to add moisture either in the form of fat (bacon is often the fat of choice) or liquid. And you'll still cook it for less time than a comparable piece of beef.

Rule #2: Do not cook it just like beef.

To get you started, here is one recipe:

Venison With Cider & Herbs

5-6 lb venison roast
1 tbls cooking oil
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp marjoram*
1 tsp thyme*
1 tsp rosemary*
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup apple cider
1 cup water

Dry meat well and cut several deep lits in the roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine flour, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and garlic and add just enough water to make a thick paste. Cover the roast, pushing some of the paste into the slits.

Place the meat in a shallow pan surrounded by the cider and water.

Bake uncovered in a 325F oven about an hour. Baste witht eh pan juices, cover, and roast for about 2 more hours, basting every 20 minutes of so.

Remove from oven. Let rest. Slice thinly. If desired, thicken pan drippings for gravy.

*If using fresh herbs, use 1 tablespoon each.

Oh, and btw, did I mention to not cook it just like beef?
Joined Jan 8, 2008
I've had it (tenderloin) coffee rubbed and rare, it was one of the best dishes I've had!

specifically it was
Venison in juniper berry and coffee loin, crisp butter spaetzle, tart savoy cabbage, and black cherry jus.
(paired with a 2007 Felino Vina Colbos Mablec)
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I'm sorry, KouKouvagia. From your original post I thought you were looking to do a roast.

From a butchering point of view the only difference between a deer and a cow is size. The cuts can be pretty much the same. Thus, you can have a venison rump roast, or a loin roast, or a leg roast, or a neck roast, etc. Which cut to choose depends on what you're envisioning as the final dish.

From a home-cook's point of view, however, the choices are often limited. Depends, really, on what the rancher and processor feel is their market. So, unlike a hunter, who can have his/her deer processed however is wished, those using ranch venision often have to work backwards; that is, first you see what is available, and then you decide how you want to use it.

While there are a large body of cookery techniques and recipes specifically for venison, you can often substitute lamb recipes quite successfully. Cooking times might be different, but the cuts will be similar, and the flavor layer will work with both. But, again, don't forget the relative lack of fat in the deer.
Joined Sep 29, 2009
I got a bit off topic with the tenderloin. My bad.

Procure a full hotel rack of venison and take it to a butcher to have it dressed and tied as a crown roast.(Or do it yourself if you know how)

Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Crushed Black Pepper, Kosher salt rub inside and out. Roast it at about 325(slightly lower than lamb to keep what fat is in it from rendering out) until you hit 145(low medium for venison) internally. Let it rest, covered, for about 15 minutes. Also, an empty soup can helps give the roast some structure to stay truly round while it's cooking.

there will be no Jus to speak of so you'll need to make some lamb or beef(veal is nice) stock beforehand for gravy, so grab some soup bones from the butcher while he's dressing your crown roast.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Thanks for the replies, it all sounds like doable good advice. The next step is to get to my butcher where I've seen venison often and ask about cuts available, and I'm something can be ordered too. Tenderloin sounds fantastic... I already have the juniper berries (used some last week to rub on duck breasts- super!)
Joined Nov 1, 2009
Venison rib roast, Yum! I used to go hunting for deer every year when I was a wee lad in Texas.
Joined Sep 29, 2009
Venison and Rabbit are two of my favorite meats. The lack of fat requires slow cooking or braising, but that same lack of fat allows them to be paired well with almost anything.
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