Whether they involve roasting, grilling, stewing or frying, the final outcome of most venison recipes is a spicy- or savory-flavored dish.
While these preparation methods are certainly mouthwateringly delicious, another means to enhance the meat's taste is to add another note of flavor: sweetness.
Sweet-savory balances are a hot ticket in the food world right now, with dishes such as honey-glazed bacon and salted-caramel coffee beverages rising in popularity. Why not bring this taste sensation to the table with your next venison-centered meal?
Try the venison recipes below to dip your toe into the sweet-savory trend:
Sweet Bacon-Wrapped Venison Tenderloin
2 lbs venison tenderloins (A single deer loin or moose, elk, pork or beef.)
1/2 lb bacon (Plain, thin-sliced bacon is best.)
3 cups dark brown sugar
2 cups soy sauce (Regular, NOT low-sodium. You'll want the saltiness.)
1/4 cup white sugar (Optional, for added sweetness.)
Mix brown sugar and soy sauce together in a bowl. They should combine nicely into a soupy soy liquid.
Put deer loin in a cooking tray and pour brown sugar/soy sauce mixture over loin. Roll tenderloin over in mixture, completely covering it.
Let meat marinate in mixture at least 3 hours or overnight in fridge. It's best to marinate for 8 hours if you have the time. Also GREAT to use a Food Saver or other vacuum device to vacuum pack/seal the meat with marinade. With this method, you can achieve overnight-level marinade in just a couple hours!
Remove loin from tray, and place on a slotted bake sheet with a drip pan or aluminum foil below to catch dripping. Don't throw away marinade.
Wrap a piece of bacon around the very end of the tenderloin, securing the bacon strip with a toothpick.
Repeat this process until the entire loin is wrapped in ten or so bacon "loops." The tenderloin should look like an arm with a bunch of wrist watches on it -- the watches being the bacon strips.
Drizzle remaining marinade over deer loin. You can continue to baste the loin with the marinade throughout the cooking process with either a brush or a turkey baster.
Place on center rack in oven and bake at 350°F for 30-40* minutes. *This should cook the meat to about medium. For those of you who prefer rare meat (like me), cut the time to 25-30 minutes and then follow with the "OPTION 2" step below regarding searing.
OPTION 1 -- With about 10 minutes of cooking time left, you can lightly dust the top of the loin with white sugar. This creates a sweet crust on top of the bacon, though it might be too sweet for some. Try doing it on just HALF of the loin to see if you like it!
OPTION 2 -- For a crispier crust and crispier bacon, remove loin from oven and place the loin(s) directly on a grill over medium-high heat to sear the bacon and outer loin. (Thanks to all of you reviewers who taught me this. It's a great step for those of us who like a cooked crust and a pink center).
Remove from oven and place on cutting board. Using a knife, cut the loin between each strip of bacon so that you have many pieces of meat, each with their own toothpick.
You can eat these pieces directly from the toothpick or remove the toothpick and eat like steak. You can thank me later.
The next day, try the leftovers on a wheat bun with spicy BBQ sauce for an awesome leftover sandwich.
Venison and Sweet Potato Stew
2 lbs venison or beef roast
¼ cups flour, approximately -- used to dust venison or beef before frying
2 Tablespoons oil, approximate, to sauté' venison or beef
8 ounces, weight mushrooms, washed and sliced
3 whole sweet potatoes, medium size, washed and sliced with skins
¼ cups Worcestershire sauce
3 cups beef bouillon
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 Tablespoon basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut venison into one-inch cubes and dust with flour, salt and pepper.
Heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the meat, being careful not to overload the skillet. I browned the meat in three batches. Cook each until the meat cubes are browned (they don't have to be done all the way – you'll cook them more in a minute).
Add the browned venison to a Dutch oven along with the mushrooms, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon, onion powder, celery salt and basil. Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat over medium heat until the sweet potatoes are cooked but not mushy -- about 45 minutes to an hour.
Venison Kabobs with Sweet and Smoky Sauce
1/4 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, sliced thickly and crushed
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons liquid smoke 3 Tablespoons honey or molasses
1 cup tomato puree
2 lbs venison, cut into 1-inch cubes
20 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 lb mushrooms, halved
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Stir together onion, mustard powder, pepper, pepper flakes and sugar in a large bowl. Add garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, liquid smoke, honey and tomato puree; mix thoroughly. Toss venison with marinade, cover, and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes to overnight.
Preheat a grill for medium heat.
Skewer the venison pieces, alternating with red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, mushroom and cherry tomatoes. Grill until the venison is no longer pink, about 15 minutes, depending on the grill. Alternatively, the kabobs may be baked in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for about 10 minutes.
How do you like to prepare your venison?