Much of my venison meat ends up ground, and I know this is also true for many others.
There are so many fabulous dishes that can be made from ground venison such as chili, or bolognese.
However, cooking ground venison takes a little consideration.
On the face of it, you need to brown the venison at a high temperature and then lower the temperature to finish cooking.
Preparing Ground Venison
The first step on your journey to cooking ground venison. If you already have the venison ground you can skip down a bit to the cooking part.
If you don’t have your venison already ground, you’re gonna want to read this section.
Choosing the Cut
The first thing you will want to do is choose which cut of venison to grind.
Common cuts for grinding come from the hind leg or shoulder. If you are not using some of these cuts for roasts or stews they are good choices for grinding.
Most of these cuts are large and make up most of the meat on a deer.
Other options for grinding are trimmings. These are offcuts from trimming other muscle groups like the backstrap, or even leg cuts like round, shoulder, etc.
Once you have your cut selected you will need to trim it. Often people think if you are grinding it that it doesn’t need to be trimmed, this is not true.
While it’s okay to leave some silver skin on, you will still need to trim most of it along with bloodshot meat, membrane, and remove any glands.
Often people overlook the glands in venison meat. If you grind these with your venison it will create a very potent smell and flavor.
To trim the venison for grinding:
- Lay on a chopping board and pat dry
- Start by cutting out any bloodshot meat and removing any glands
- Next, remove any silver skin by making a slit underneath to reveal a flap
- Pull back the flap, place your knife against the base, and cut while still pulling
Now your venison is trimmed and you can move on to the grinding
Grinding venison is straightforward. First, cut the meat into cubes about 1-2 inches in size.
Choose which size plate you want to grind with. I tend to use a medium size for most dishes and a large size for a more rustic feel.
Ensure your venison is very cold before grinding. You can place it in the freezer for 20 minutes before grinding.
Feed the venison into the grinder. Often one passing is enough, but if you are mixing in fat you may want to grind it twice.
For some ground venison recipes, adding fat to the ground venison is crucial to the success of the dish.
Dishes like venison burgers, meatballs, or sausages will all need some fat added to bind, prevent from drying, and improve both texture and flavor.
The two most common types of fat are pork and beef fat. You can use the calculator to determine how much fat you need.
I usually use between 10-30% fat, depending on what I am making.
To add the fat when grinding venison you can cube it and place it in the freezer along with the venison.
Pass it through the grinder along with the venison ensuring you alternate to get an even grind.
Cooking Ground Venison
Now that you have your venison ground it’s time to focus on the cooking.
Ground venison can be cooked using a variety of methods. The most common methods for cooking ground venison are:
- Slow Cooking
While these 3 are the most popular methods you can still use other cooking methods, such as sous vide venison or air frying venison.
Ground Venison Soups/Stews/Sauces
It’s hard to go through every ground venison recipe and explain each cooking method, but most are similar.
For the purpose of this article, “ground venison soups, stews, and sauces” refers to any stew, soup, or sauce-type dish, like bolognese or chili.
These dishes are all cooked in a similar method, regardless of the recipe.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat
- Add the ground venison and season
- Reduce the temperature and cook according to the recipe
Many recipes may call for adding aromatics such as onions, shallots, or garlic beforehand.
You will usually season the venison during the browning.
You may need to cook the venison in small batches to prevent the pan from cooling too much.
This is usually evident by the meat not searing and releasing liquid instead.
Ground Venison Patties
The next type of ground venison dish is in the form of patties. These can be burgers, Salisbury steak, etc.
These dishes can be cooked in multiple ways with the most popular being on a pan or grill.
Venison burgers are typically eaten rare to medium rare.
Cooking venison burgers:
- Heat the pan or grill to hot
- Season the burger
- Place on pan or grill to sear
- Turn and sear the opposite side
- Reduce heat and cook to temperature
- Remove and rest
Salisbury steak is similar.
Ground Venison Sausages
Finally, the last type of ground venison dish is sausages. Venison sausages are cooked very similar to venison burgers.
The other methods of cooking venison sausages are in the oven or in the air fryer.
To cook in the oven
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Place sausages on a baking tray and place them in the oven
- Cook sausages for 15-20 minutes until they reach 160F internally
- Rest for 5 minutes