Monday, April 05, 2010

Spring BBQ - Venison and Asparagus

My "deer" husband took out a lovely, brown-paper wrapped parcel of sirloin tip venison steaks from the freezer the other day with the hopes that I, his lovely wife, would figure out a way to prepare and cook them.  After searching the Internet and a few wild game cook books that I have on hand, I arrived at what can only be described as a combination of various ideas and recipes that seemed to peak my interest.  

In regards to the preparation of wild game, we have, as of late, been brining the meat in a simple salt water solution before marinating to not only draw out any remaining blood, but to also add a little juiciness to the meat.  As we all know, wild game tends to be quite lean which, while being quite healthy for you, is often dry and flavorless once cooked.  As with holiday turkeys, brining can help add that desired juiciness and slight flavor that makes for quite a memorable meal!  

Having said all that, I have never, (and perhaps to my error) followed a brine recipe per say, rather, I have just plopped the steaks or roasts in a bowl then filled it with cold, cold water, (enough to thoroughly cover the meat) and added a full handful or two of  kosher salt to the mix.  Once the bowl is covered, it is placed in the fridge for any amount of time between 12 and 24 hours.  Of course, the longer the meat bathes in the salt water, the more beneficial the brine becomes.  Always be sure to thoroughly rinse the meat under cold running water before marinating or cooking to ensure that any excess salt on the surface is removed.  Forgetting to rinse the meat can be quite detrimental as you will end up with an overly salted dinner that can't be corrected once cooked... and that would be quite a waste.  

On top of that, and many may shake their heads in protest at this next bit, wild game; steaks, tenderloin, the breast meat of fowl, for instance, are best cooked to rare or even medium rare.  Overcooked meat becomes tough, dry and ridiculously flavorless, so, I am giving proper warning, do not cook certain cuts of wild meat to medium or well done.  It will be disastrous.  Just trust me when I say this, rare is the way to go, and if you are not, nor have ever been preferential to rare or medium rare meat, perhaps wild game is something to avoid. 

Once you have brined and then rinsed the meat, prepare the marinade.  

The Marinade:

4 sirloin tip venison steaks

3 - 4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated (grated seems to work best)
1/2 cup honey (whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
2/3 cup ketchup
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients together in a deep bowl and add the steaks, cover the bowl and allow to marinate in the fridge for 3 - 4 hours.  

Once fully marinated, pull the steaks out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature while you preheat the BBQ to high heat.  Remove the steaks from the marinade and blot each side dry with paper towel.  Drizzle each steak with a little olive and season both sides with salt and pepper. (Don't add too much salt as the soy sauce tends to do much of the seasoning for you in the marinade.  Alternatively, sprinkle a little flaked sea salt or fleur de sel on the meat straight off the BBQ as a finishing touch.)

Once the BBQ is searing hot, lay each steak on the grill and cook for roughly two minutes per side for rare to slightly medium rare.  

Remove from the BBQ and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing thinly, or serving.  

All I can say about these Venison steaks is that both my husband and I have never had such tender or flavorful meat, and it will certainly mark the first of many venison BBQ's to come this season.  


A Canadian Foodie said...

It must have been GREAT meat, too. I have definitely nursed along some venison in my day and was never satisfied with the flavour. I went completely off of it until I was at Indulgence last year, and the venison there was outstanding. Mind you, it was farm raised. So happy to hear you have found the magic to make this gamey meat delectable. It absolutely looks it in your wonderful photos, Nikki!

nazarina said...

My friend would love this post. Her husband is a big game hunter. Your picture of this barbecue looks extremely delicious!

Nikki said...

Thank you both for your awesome comments! I have to say that wild game is certainly hit and miss in terms of how "gamey" it tastes, but these venison steaks were top shelf indeed! Glad you like the photo!