Recipe: Cast-Iron Seared Venison with Maple Marinade


Time to make some room in the freezer for the 2017 fall hunting season? Here’s a scrumptious maple marinade recipe for a cast-iron seared venison, elk or other big game steak that produces a caramelized crust on a plush, butter-tender, eye-popping, sub-primal cut of meat.

Are you hungry yet? Use it on a freezer steak, or save this one for a fresh cut from deer camp.  Either way, start off with super sharp knives so you can carve juicy, succulent slices of tender, tantalizing medium-rare meat for any steak sandwich you want to create. That is, if you don’t gobble them up hot off the grill first!

Maybe you are thinking a VBLT (venison, bacon, lettuce and tomato) as shown in the photo above, or maybe elk sliders? In the past, I’ve combined the tongue wagging slabs from this recipe with thick-cut bacon, heirloom tomatoes, griddle grilled sweet potato, lettuce, and a peppered wild plum aioli spread for a VBLT.

I’ve also used them to make elk sliders that will knock you silly. Build this sandwich on mini pretzel buns with a double soft cream cheese, slaw, and an onion ring for garnish. This maple marinade is well suited for venison, elk, pronghorn, mountain goat, moose, bison or any other large game animal.

How to Make the Marinade:

Ingredients for Vermont Maple Seasonings Marinade (for approximately 1.5 pounds of meat)

2 tablespoons brown sugar­­

1/8 teaspoon fennel

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon sage

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1 pinch cayenne

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

5 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 jalapenos quartered lengthwise

Mix all ingredients into a paste. If desired, add more seasoning according to what your taste buds are telling you. Halve the mixture and then massage into meat tissue on each side. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.

When you are ready, heat the griddle to medium high. You don’t want it too high or your brown sugar and maple syrup components will burn. When the griddle is hot, drizzle some olive oil on the pan and lay on the steak, searing the first side. Don’t flip flop the meat from one side to the other. Leave it alone.

After 5-7 minutes, turn the meat and allow to char for another 3-5 minutes. The absolute best way to serve this cut is medium-rare to rare, so take care of that steak you worked so hard to harvest!

Throw on the jalapenos, seeds and all, and char. A bite of one of these along with a jigger of whiskey, or Kentucky bourbon, will warm you like nothing else when you come in from your deer stand or down off the mountain.

Remove steak and jalapenos and let rest for about 5 minutes. Slice thin and devour. Or, prepare this succulent bite as the hero ingredient in a steak sandwich of choice (below).


Sidebar: Keeping Knives Sharp

If you are looking for a sharpener to add to your gear this fall, I recommend the Chef’s Choice Xtreme 317. It was developed specifically with the outdoor enthusiast in mind. I find it to be the ultimate time-saving solution to apply super-sharp edges on virtually all my knives, including the heavier and thicker hunting and tactical knives we use for field-dressing and butchering. It will keep you from jockeying between the field, camp and kitchen with an assortment of knives and with little time for sharpening.

About the Author: Raised a Minnesota farm-girl in a hunting family, Krissie Mason (below) is an outdoorswoman, food enthusiast, and has been reconnecting with her culinary country roots and family hunting traditions of late. She is the brains and brawn behind Scratch + Holler media, and a regular contributor to several outdoor websites. Krissie fully supports a field-to-fork wild food chain, and especially enjoys expanding pantries and stretching wild game palates with her ambitious and delicious wild game recipes. Be sure to visit Krissie’s website to check out her blog and much more.



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