Recipes; As Jeff Daniels said, “It’s deer camp”

My own Tequila-Lime Venison Steaks. I know, I know … no self-respecting hunter would ever eat this with celery and carrots …

As on each and every November 15th, Michigan’s firearm deer season opened this morning. Even yesterday morning, we ran into a friend at the gas station we went to. Like many hunters here he was already on his way up to the Ludington area to establish his deer camp and be on the hunt at 12:01 a.m. today.

While a lot of states have a firearm deer season, Michigan’s is … well, hunters take an average of 450,000 deer each year in this state. The reason? Can you imagine how the deer population wuld be if they didn’t take these deer?? The source of the venison you see here, and a lot of the venison that goes through our kitchen, is a friend of my parents. One package we got from him last year held eight pounds of processed deer venison. He’d taken four animals … two without even leaving his own fenced-in back yard. He’d watched as the deer had jumped the fence to get into the yard.

Most important for this year is the $500M tourism dollars the annual hunt pumps into the state economy. With GM apparently abou ready to shut down for good, and Ford not too far behind, anything will help. Besides, the hunt helps take automotive workers’ minds off the financial problems of their employers, at least for a while.

Here are a couple simple and inexpensive recipes for deer venison. Sure, I’ve posted these before but with the season just beginning I felt these would bear repeating.

Dave’s Venison Rub

1 cup Kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ground black pepper

Sift all the ingredients together, sifting multiple times to ensure everything is combined well. Make sure your game is clean and dry, and rub a generous portion of the mixture on each piece. Either smoke the game slowly at 200 degrees F, or grill it at 350 degrees F. The best way to cook it is to sear the game in extra virgin olive oil over high heat, grill or bake (at 350 degrees F) until the game is cooked to your desired doneness, then letting it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Feel free to modify or add to this recipe, using dried and ground berries or fruits, or other items such as ground or crushed hot pepper, rosemary, thyme, etc. Even adding a small amount of hot sauce to the rub, enough to just moisten it, makes for an incredible flavor.

Dave’s Tequila-Lime Venison Steak

1 – 2 lbs deer venison
3/4 cup tequila
3/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp minced garlic
Bottled hot sauce (Tabasco, etc.)
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Lay the deer venison on some paper towel or a lint-free cloth. Pat the meat dry and set it aside. 

In a glass mixing bowl, whisk the tequila, lime juice and orange juice together. Add the minced garlic and a few splashes of the hot sauce, and whisk again. Finally, add some of the Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and give it all a good final whisking.

Pour some of the marinade into a flat container having a lid. Lay the deer venison in the marinade, then pour the rest of the marinade over the meat. Close the lid and refrigerate.

For stronger marinade flavor, marinade for at least three hours before grilling. For lighter marinade flavor, marinade for 30 minutes before grilling.

Note: for a much lighter marinade flavor, use 1/4 cup of each of the tequila, lime juice and orange juice.


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  1. DAMN! (can I say that on your blog?) . . . your posts and photos just get better and better!

    I (and even my prissy wife) love venison. While I no longer will hunt or kill an animal, I am still a devout carnivore, especially a “red meat” carnivore.

    Deer are so thick here in Maryland that the politicos have talked about placing a bounty on them, and harvesting them and providing venison to the foodbanks (I’m serious!).

    Point is, dropping a hint around here will get you a freezer full of venison.

    Your post has inspired us to “beg” a few steaks from a friend or two, and try out your tequila-lime treatment.

    Good job, Guy.

  2. Like Doc, my DH no longer hunts, but he’s an incurable carnivore. And this sounds and looks so good that I feel compelled to save it. Thanks!
    As always, delicious looking pictures, with or without the celery sticks [G]

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