Mathews Inc.
How make venison tender?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Catscratch 27-Nov-23
steve 27-Nov-23
Fuzzy 27-Nov-23
steve 27-Nov-23
JohnMC 27-Nov-23
Jaquomo 27-Nov-23
btnbuck 27-Nov-23
Stix 27-Nov-23
Grey Ghost 27-Nov-23
Bou'bound 27-Nov-23
buckeye 27-Nov-23
DonVathome 27-Nov-23
RJ Hunt 27-Nov-23
Shuteye 27-Nov-23
Aspen Ghost 28-Nov-23
bluesman 28-Nov-23
bluesman 28-Nov-23
bluesman 28-Nov-23
bluesman 28-Nov-23
bluesman 28-Nov-23
bluesman 28-Nov-23
WV Mountaineer 28-Nov-23
x-man 28-Nov-23
Catscratch 28-Nov-23
Catscratch 28-Nov-23
carcus 28-Nov-23
Timex? 28-Nov-23
Bow Bullet 28-Nov-23
fuzzy 28-Nov-23
RonP 28-Nov-23
BoggsBowhunts 28-Nov-23
Jack Harris 28-Nov-23
Two dogs mobile 28-Nov-23
Jaquomo 28-Nov-23
bigeasygator 28-Nov-23
Catscratch 28-Nov-23
bigeasygator 28-Nov-23
Catscratch 28-Nov-23
x-man 28-Nov-23
x-man 28-Nov-23
Grey Ghost 28-Nov-23
Catscratch 28-Nov-23
Catscratch 28-Nov-23
Jaquomo 28-Nov-23
Grey Ghost 28-Nov-23
Jaquomo 28-Nov-23
Stekewood 28-Nov-23
Mint 28-Nov-23
Stekewood 28-Nov-23
PECO2 28-Nov-23
PECO2 28-Nov-23
Mertyman 28-Nov-23
BillyD 28-Nov-23
12yards 30-Nov-23
Will 30-Nov-23
Timex? 01-Dec-23
Catscratch 01-Dec-23
longsprings 03-Dec-23
Catscratch 03-Dec-23
longsprings 03-Dec-23
longsprings 03-Dec-23
Catscratch 03-Dec-23
Timex? 03-Dec-23
longsprings 03-Dec-23
Catscratch 03-Dec-23
Stekewood 03-Dec-23
Norseman 04-Dec-23
fuzzy 04-Dec-23
walking buffalo 10-Dec-23
Zbone 10-Dec-23
Stoneman 10-Dec-23
Catscratch 10-Dec-23
Zbone 10-Dec-23
From: Catscratch
27-Nov-23
I m very happy with the flavors I get when cooking deer. Like it very rare so I'm not over cooking it. I would love for it to be more tender though. What prep can I do to get less chewiness? Anyone got secret methods?

From: steve
27-Nov-23
do you marinate it?

From: Fuzzy
27-Nov-23
age 2 weeks btw 34 and 38 degrees F

From: steve
27-Nov-23

steve's embedded Photo
steve's embedded Photo
like butter!

From: JohnMC
27-Nov-23

JohnMC's embedded Photo
JohnMC's embedded Photo
My daughter's elk this year was a little tough bought this and it has been super tender since using.

From: Jaquomo
27-Nov-23
Tenderizer like John shows. Mine is a Jaccard, but same thing. Also use a marinade that is acidic to break down the fibers. Red wine, vinegar, lemon juice, etc. as part of the marinade.

Interestingly, many people also do a wet brine with baking soda that supposedly really tenderizes it. Baking soda is an alkaline. I've never tried that but many swear by it.

From: btnbuck
27-Nov-23

btnbuck's embedded Photo
btnbuck's embedded Photo
I like to marinate it in McCormicks seasonings. I always use lemon juice in the marinade. Don't overcook it for that will make it tough for sure.

The most important part is...Harvest the small ones. They're always tender. ;-)

When I harvest an older deer I'll use it for jerky/sausage/meat sticks or summer sausage.

From: Stix
27-Nov-23
I use something similar to what JohnMc suggests. Tenderizes even the most toughest cuts like shoulders etc.

From: Grey Ghost
27-Nov-23
My favorite marinade/tenderizer is a cup of cold coffee, a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a teaspoon of Kosher salt. Let the meat soak in a ziplock for at least 15 minutes, a couple of hours in the fridge is even better. The acid in the coffee breaks down the meat and eliminates any gamey tastes. Be sure to get the meat to room temp before cooking.

Matt

From: Bou'bound
27-Nov-23
Shoot younger deer

From: buckeye
27-Nov-23
Even two days aging in the fridge can make a noticable difference. Soy sauce as a marinade also helps.

From: DonVathome
27-Nov-23
That tenderizer JohnMc mentioned is great. I like my steal rare or blue (below rare). Nature never introduces something bad you have to cook out but man does. Eating a rare steak is a lot safer then eating a raw steak - even though a rare steak center is raw. The outside is cooked which is where the man introduced issues are. That tenderizer can push things into the meat that will not get cooked. I am reluctant to use it on a steak I am cooking blue or rare.

Your best bet is aging as long as possible at 1/2 a degree above freezing. Hard to do but it works great if you can.

A meat hammer also works and does not push into the meat as much.

Shoot younger deer helps. Luckily you are not cooking past rare.

From: RJ Hunt
27-Nov-23
I have found aging on the bone (hanging the skinned deer) for a week or two yields a much better venison steak. Also I have noticed since I cut my own game the benefits have been compounded

From: Shuteye
27-Nov-23
Four hours in a crock pot and it will be very tender.

From: Aspen Ghost
28-Nov-23
Jaccard, long sous vide at about 125 (depending how rare you like it), and a quick sear.

From: bluesman
28-Nov-23

bluesman's embedded Photo
bluesman's embedded Photo
Marinade : 1/4 cup oil , 2 tbs vinegar, 2 tbs water , 2 tps red wine , 1 tbs garlic salt or 2 cloves , 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp worschtishire , tsp soy sauce , 2 tbs brown sugarc Generous amount Steak spice of your choice .( I use chicago and maple bacon steak spices ) Mix in glass pan with 2lbs of steak 24 hrs. Then sit at room temp before grilling for 2 hrs . Cook medium rare . 4 minutes a side on BBQ, or 5 minutes for thicker steak .

From: bluesman
28-Nov-23
Garnish with buttered garlic mushrooms

From: bluesman
28-Nov-23
Because venison is so lean , you eat it rare . The flavor of meat is better rare . If you cook cold meat it gets shocked . Let it sit 2 hrs outside fridge before cooking Another trick is a little butter on the steak during grilling .

From: bluesman
28-Nov-23

bluesman's embedded Photo
bluesman's embedded Photo
Forgot .. cold IPA BEER ..LOL

From: bluesman
28-Nov-23
I hunt for the meat, doe or young bucks preferred . But who can't resist a big buck once in awhile? Older deer marinate longer , 2 days . Or make sausage with older deer .

From: bluesman
28-Nov-23
Correction on marinade above , (sorry from memory. Add seasoning salt , and should be 2 tbs red wine not tsp. I use a smooth red blend .

28-Nov-23
Fuzzy x2.

From: x-man
28-Nov-23
Step One: Shoot does, not bucks.

Step Two: Shoot deer less than 3 years old.

Step Three: Cool the meat asap, do not let it hang unless you have the proper temperature controlled environment. In early season my venison goes from field to freezer in less than two hours.

Step Four (perhaps the most important): don't shoot deer during the rut.

Follow these steps and you won't need gimmicks to tenderize.

From: Catscratch
28-Nov-23
Man, some good looking pics got on here!

I do marinade, usually in a ziploc bag with meat tenderizer and soy sauce. Might leave it in there for a 2-5 days before washing it off and cooking. I also like to dry it, then leave it on a rack in the fridge for up to a week. Always get it to room temp before cooking. Always cook rare.

I haven't tried vinegar, wine, coffee, or baking soda marinades. And I haven't tried the blades of furry torture device thing pic'd, but willing to give it a go.

More likely to grab a Fat Tire or a dark of some sort, doesn't even have to be cold.

Thanks for the comments guys, and pic never hurt!

From: Catscratch
28-Nov-23
Sorry x-man. I fail at steps 1, 2, and 4... but I'm great at #3!

From: carcus
28-Nov-23
I grind it all, deer, moose, elk, If I want a steak I buy a AAA grade ribeye

From: Timex?
28-Nov-23
I'm on a couple deer processing & venison cooking groups on fb. The different opinions on these subjects are unbelievable............. In general deer should be chilled a minimum of 48 hours to allow the muscles to (relax) before processing.

Before I built my deer hanging cooler I used a commercial fisherman's type ice box. Or even a 120qt cooler, a big doe will easily fit in a 120qt cooler. Lay in cooler back down push rear legs forward, hindquarters will be where guts were ,front legs backwards, shoulders will be beside ribs, head/ neck to side , Couple 20lb bags of ice, drain open,,, before ya say ""BS"" give it a try, I've been doing it for 30+ years

Marinades ???? Especially overpowering ones, Depends on if ya want your deer to taste like deer or taste like the Marinade.

In general the premium cuts, loin/ backstraps get spg, & seared in a HOT iron skillet.

I do have a flank steak recipe that's awesome, cut a top or bottom round (the flat roasts in hind quarters) in 1/2 horizontally so ya have 2 equal sized steaks roughly 1" thick. Meat pounder optional, I usually do but don't get carried away. A simple Marinade = oil, red wine, spg, thin sliced onion All ingredients in zip lock in fridge for a couple hours then on smoking hot grill to desired doneness, let rest then slice thin cross grain. This will blow your socks off.

From: Bow Bullet
28-Nov-23
Bluesman - you had me until "IPA" lol

From: fuzzy
28-Nov-23
Bow bullet I agree lol

28-Nov-23

Tradman and Huntress's embedded Photo
Tradman and Huntress's embedded Photo
The secret to having consistently tender meat is in aging it for three weeks before it is ever frozen. We have been aging our venison for over twenty years with great success, and the results are indisputable! We remove our cuts from the carcass and then let them sit uncovered in a refrigerator for 24 hours to chill and dry slightly. I then vacuum pack them and place back in the refrigerator for a full three weeks. The key is to keep the temperature between 34 and 37 degrees so the enzymes can break down the fibers properly during this time. Freezing the meat kills the enzymes and stops the aging process, while too high a temp can allow bacteria to grow. After aging three weeks the meat can be frozen. I guarantee once you try this method, you won't want to eat venison that hasn't been properly aged!

From: RonP
28-Nov-23
this has been a good thread, i appreciate the tips.

as carcus posted, "I grind it all, deer, moose, elk, If I want a steak I buy a AAA grade ribeye.".

i do the same mostly. wild game is overrated. probably because of the cost per pound we try to justify. :)

i often wondered how tenderloins got its name.

some of the meat shown in the photos above is too raw for me. i like it cooked a bit more.

28-Nov-23
Fuzzy x3 - after his canning thread I take anything he says regarding the cooking of game as the gospel.

Last year I shot a mature buck in early November that was 100% rutty, aged it a little over a week as the weather allowed and it was the best venison I’ve ever eaten

From: Jack Harris
28-Nov-23
I use the sharp spiked tenderizor for steaks, cutlets, cube steaks.... NEVER for loins though. Loins, just dry rub and grill rare to less than medium rare. Rare occasion will mariniate loins but when grilled perfectly with a nice dry rub, it's just my favorite dish of all. The natural juice it produces when you slice it is heaven on earth.

28-Nov-23
I use a tenderizer like the Jaccard and marinate in Italian dressing overnight. It seems to make good steaks melt in your mouth, and lessor steaks or ones from older deer much more tender.

From: Jaquomo
28-Nov-23

Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Aspen Ghost, we like ours cooked to 127 in the Sous Vide for at least an hour and a half, then a quick HOT sear in clarified butter in cast iron. Always perfect, more tender than on a grill, with or without the Jaccard. Wife likes 129 degrees, I like 125, so 127 is our compromise.

From: bigeasygator
28-Nov-23
What cut are you talking about? Some cuts should be tender and best suited to being cooked like a steak (backstrap, tenderloin). Some cuts are going to be tough and will cater to longer cooking methods to break down interconnective tissue and fiber that makes it tough (roasts, ribs, etc). I've generally found that if you match the cooking style to the meat you'll solve 95% of the problems.

From: Catscratch
28-Nov-23
I'm thinking specifically chunks of backstrap that I'd like more tender, but I'm assuming any effective method will also work to some degree on any cut.

We always have a freezer full of home-grown beef so deer is a nice bonus, but I LOVE well marbled beef.

From: bigeasygator
28-Nov-23
When you say chunks of backstrap, are you talking more bite size pieces or chunks that are closer to steak size? I think you need to be very careful with bite size chunks if you're sauteing them as they cook so quickly that they are easy to overcook or undercook.

From: Catscratch
28-Nov-23
Actually I love bite sized cubes of backstrap. Barely cook them and they are great, but like you said easy to over do it.

I'm thinking more about whole backstraps. I normally marinate them, pan sear them, then finish them in the air fryer.

From: x-man
28-Nov-23
"then finish them in the air fryer."

There's your problem...

From: x-man
28-Nov-23
I leave the backstraps in lengths of about 8-10" with a very light dry rub. Traeger low n slow till it reaches 120 inside(usually takes a couple hours) . Slice into steaks about 1-1/4" thick(this is when I remove the silver skin) and sear in butter on hot cast iron. You can cut it with a wooden spoon.

Leftovers, if any, are sliced thin and dipped in Ole West Dipp'n Sauce. I warm the sauce, not the meat(everyone who's tried this will never go back to anything else)

From: Grey Ghost
28-Nov-23

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
I can't imagine grinding all this delicious meat into burger.

From: Catscratch
28-Nov-23
"Air fryer". I've finished backstrap over open fire, oven, cast iron, and smoker. The air fryer is by far the easiest to insure I don't over cook it and get the exact internal temp I want. Would love to try a Sous Vide, I've heard great things!

I've got a pellet smoker and have used it on deer but usually over cook it. I should try that again. In fact, I'm starting to think I should thaw out a beef brisket around Christmas and throw in a some deer while it's on.

From: Catscratch
28-Nov-23

Catscratch's embedded Photo
Catscratch's embedded Photo
The air fryer strap from Thanksgiving...

From: Jaquomo
28-Nov-23

Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
I just did a bison brisket and it is wonderful. Marinated overnight with a dry rub. Then injected heavily with beef stock, red ale, apple juice, worchestershire, melted butter. Five hours in the pellet smoker (with an extra smoke tube) until it stalled at 165. Then foiled and mopped with the rest of the injection in the oven for five hours until it hit 195. Then wrapped in butcher paper and rested in a cooler for four hours.

Our friends who are new to wild game were totally raving about how tender and juicy it was. They expected something tough and chewy, and it was just thr opposite.

From: Grey Ghost
28-Nov-23

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grilled bacon wrapped venison tenderloin from a few nights ago. My wife doesn’t like any blood, so I have to overcook it, but it was still incredible.

Matt

From: Jaquomo
28-Nov-23
Matt, explain to her that it isn't "blood", but rather a mixture of protein and water, colored red, called myoglobin. May not work, but so many people believe it's "blood" and are grossed out.

When I used to grill 45 T-bone steaks a day for our big calf branding parties, there were a couple guys for whom I had to put their steaks on the grill 15 minutes before everyone else. If there was any pink in the meat at all, they had to go back on the coals. Criminal.

From: Stekewood
28-Nov-23
Nice work Jaq, that looks amazing!

From: Mint
28-Nov-23
I'll second the air fryer after searing in a screaming hot cast iron pan or even doing a reverse sear and putting in the air fryer at 200 degrees until it hits 100 or 105 and then searing in a cast iron. Always comes out the perfect medium rare.

From: Stekewood
28-Nov-23
I'm fortunate to have a walk in cooler where we can age our deer, hide on, in a controlled environment. I know there are those that say you don't need to age deer, and you don't, but there is absolutely no comparison between the meat from a deer hung in the cooler at 36 degrees for 14-21 days and that from one that is skinned and butchered immediately. Just don't try it with gut shot or improperly field dressed deer.

From: PECO2
28-Nov-23
The other night we took some hind quarter steaks. Pounded them out and made chicken fried steak. It was awesome, tender and juicy. The would have probably been a little tough on the grill.

From: PECO2
28-Nov-23
Shoot a yearling deer?

From: Mertyman
28-Nov-23
"I'm thinking more about whole backstraps. I normally marinate them, pan sear them, then finish them in the air fryer."

I soak them in milk or buttermilk overnight in the fridge. Simply rinse the milk off and let it come to room temp before cooking. That way the meat gets tenderized from the reaction to the milk, but doesn't take on the taste of some of the other marinades. Season to your liking and cook as you normally would.

From: BillyD
28-Nov-23
Wet aging (14-21 days) our venison has had a positive impact on tenderness and overall flavor profile. Adds an extra step to processing but well worth it imo. Might be worth a try for those that don’t have access to a temperature controlled environment required for dry aging.

From: 12yards
30-Nov-23
Well this was the wrong thread to look at at lunchtime. LOL. Now salivating.

From: Will
30-Nov-23
Surprising to hear this... I find venison is normally really tender - at least compared to say cow or buffalo. Even older deer...

Beyond that, this thread reminds me to butterfly the backstrap in the fridge. Thanks!

From: Timex?
01-Dec-23
Will... I agree with butterfly backstraps,,,,,rarely do I cook them whole, unless a small deer. Fancy cooking is fine,,, If I had to choose only one way, without question it would be 1" thick a little spg, 2 min tops, each side in a smoking hot iron skillet. 1/4" sear on the outside, 1/2" rare on the inside.

The perfect combination of char & rare.....or at least it is for me.

From: Catscratch
01-Dec-23
Been a great thread and I've learned plenty (like Velveting... I'd never heard of it before this thread got me researching baking soda)! Pics are good every time a food thread pops up. Thanks for the input guys!

From: longsprings
03-Dec-23

longsprings's embedded Photo
longsprings's embedded Photo
From most articles I have read venison needs no ageing. I personally dont but do get the hide off as soon as possible. I have a great recipe Knorrs veggie soup mix Sprinkle a portion on foil Lay roast in the powder. Now sprinkle the remainder on the roast spread evenly as possible. Wrap in foil , I triple wrap it and put in roast pan covered with just a tad if water in bottom. 250 for like 5 hrs And you can tear it apart with a fork. Delicous

Biggest factor we have found is that not every deer is tender but most are. Mmmmmm

From: Catscratch
03-Dec-23
I tried the baking soda velveting thing on a beef roast last night. It makes a significant difference, not sure I like it though. The wife and youngest both said what I cooked the other way was better. Probably won't do it again.

^^^ That soup seasoned roast looks great!

From: longsprings
03-Dec-23
Please try it Its a winner

From: longsprings
03-Dec-23
I make very sure its well trimmed , no fat or anything other than red meat

From: Catscratch
03-Dec-23
I took a screenshot of your instructions and put dry soup mix on the wife's shopping list. It'll be tried soon.

From: Timex?
03-Dec-23
Just my 2 cents on the subject.

There's exceptions but in general I like venison cooked either hot, fast, rare......

Or in some form of liquid/sauce until falling apart.

Anything in between ya may as well eat a leather boot.

For instance the recipe above with knorrs veggy soup coated roast wrapped in foil sounds/looks delicious , but I'd be more likely to modify the recipe to the crockpot with some type of stock or tomato / wine based sauce.

The exceptions for me are various cured / smoked specialty meats such as venison pastrami, corned venison, salt pepper sugar cured venison ham etc.

From: longsprings
03-Dec-23
Liptons onion soup mix also works but knorrs is my personal favorite

From: Catscratch
03-Dec-23
^^^ It will be whatever brand the wife finds.

From: Stekewood
03-Dec-23
“From most articles I have read venison needs no ageing”

Beef doesn’t need aging either but we all know how much it improves a steak.

If you want to try next level venison, aging is the way to go.

Not so much for a low and slow or braised recipe like what you posted, which looks great, but it makes a world of difference on a fast cooked premium cut.

From: Norseman
04-Dec-23
For steaks dont cook until meat is near room temp. Then sear or grill on high heat and let rest for 5-10 before eating.

Not the cure all but definitely helps with tenderness.

And dont over cook folks. If its medium….its over cooked.

From: fuzzy
04-Dec-23
I'll see your "articles", and raise you 40 years of butchering and eating deer, over 250 of em. Lol

10-Dec-23

Ricky The Cabel Guy's embedded Photo
Ricky The Cabel Guy's embedded Photo
this is how we like to tenderize ours...

10-Dec-23
Catscratch

You never mentioned how you process your deer before cooking. Do you age it, and if so for how long? Deer or beef, if butchered while the muscles are still in rigor mortice will be tough unless cooked forever.

The same applies to birds. Lots of people say wild fowl is chewy. Almost no one ages their birds anymore, which is unfortunate as the difference is remarkable.

From: Zbone
10-Dec-23

Zbone's embedded Photo
Zbone's embedded Photo
How to age wild fowl?

Don't understand the banging pm air fryers, mine is a small el cheapo but I luv it...

Have cooked venison tenderloin many different ways through the years and the past few years after butchering rather than cutting them into butterfly chops, I trimming the ends and leave them solid but cut them in half for servings of 2 and slice deep cuts about 2" apart, flip it over and stagger the cuts on the other side then add my spices prior to bagging them for the freezer so all I have to do is thaw them out and throw them on the grill... Not sure, but maybe pre-spicing may help marinate into the meat while freezing... I know it make it simpler to grab, thaw and cook...

Bacon wrapped with cream cheese with his one...

From: Stoneman
10-Dec-23
Zbone I’d eat that with one hand tied behind my back!

From: Catscratch
10-Dec-23
Walking Buffalo, I've processed every way possible. Use to have a friend with a walk-in cooler, they hung for 14-21 days. Would hang them in the garage if temps permitted. And now I just process them and get them in the freezer as quickly as possible. To be honest I believe I see more differences in individual animals than I did in different techniques. Used to hang all our ducks, geese, and pheasants too.

Now since I don't hang or age them I usually put meat on a drying rack in the fridge for 1-2 weeks after thawing, sometimes longer before I cook them. I often end the fridge aging in a marinade for a day or 3.

That looks damn good zbone!

From: Zbone
10-Dec-23
Thanks guys, it was very good...8^)

  • Sitka Gear