Have you ever tried a venison recipe that ended up being dreadfully wrong as your meat was extremely overcooked?
The recipe picture looked incredible, and the method seemed great.
However, at the end of the day, you still ended up disappointed and without a world-class cuisine as you struggled to watch your guests choking down your venison roast out of a sense of obligation. Well, you are not alone.
Unfortunately, many people tend to avoid cooking venison, even though it is one of the healthiest red meat a person can consume.
This all changes today because, in this article, you will learn some fantastic tips and tricks on how to keep your venison moist.
Don’t Cook it Like Beef
Beef has a lot of fat that allows this type of meat to stay succulent when being cooked.
Venison, on the other hand, is incredibly lean meat that needs a little help with moisture when cooking.
When you cook beef, the melted fat and moisture get leaked out into the pan. This is not the case with venison.
Venison has little moisture that rises like invisible smoke, leaving your roast completely dried out.
Therefore, it is important to find a way to trap all available moisture. One way to do this is to sear the venison.
The are two methods for searing venison. One is the regular sear that you will do before placing the roast in the oven. The second method is reverse searing; this is searing after the meat has rested.
Both methods of searing are the same, with the only difference being the time of searing.
When searing, use stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Heat the pan over high heat and use high-temperature oil.
Reverse searing is a little better for moisture and gives a more even cook, but either method will work.
Be Careful When Adding Salt
Salt draws water out of food and dehydrates it. If you season your venison like you would season a normal steak, you might be surprised when your venison roast turns to jerky in front of your eyes.
One way to salt your venison correctly is to do it lightly or salt it after the roast is cooked.
Cover it up
It doesn’t matter whether you cook the roast in your oven or outside over a campfire.
Roasting is a dry heat and pulls water content from food. With this in mind, roasting without a lid means that all the moisture will dissolve through continuous heat and leave behind a dry, tough piece of meat.
A trick to keep your venison roast succulent is by browning it quickly before you roast it.
Afterward, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. The tightly sealed foil package will help keep the juices in the meat and provide a natural baste.
If you have cooked your venison to the desired temperature, cover it loosely instead of tightly as it will continue to cook.
Marinades Only Add Limited Moisture
Yes, basting does help to make your meal look like a shiny 5-star main course, but it doesn’t magically reintroduce lost water back into the meat cells.
To get a moist venison roast, your goal has to be to try to keep all available juices from escaping the meat in the first place.
Did you know that marinade can only penetrate red meat a few millimeters?
Acidic marinades (for example, vinegar, soy sauce, wine, or tomato) break protein bonds while attracting water and can therefore cause moisture retention.
This can cause a perception of tenderness. However, if you leave the meat for a long period in the marinade, the water bonds that were formed will break, and the fibers in the meat will bind up again, leaving you with a tough roast.
The same limitations apply when using marinades that feature yogurt or pineapple.
It is therefore important to watch out for traditional recipes that call for a very long marinade time (for example, up to three days), as this might cause your meat to collapse.
Marinades must be understood as a vehicle to add flavor to venison rather than enhancing moisture.
When marinating your venison roast, you want to use a marinade that consists of oils or fats, as these types of marinades will help seasoning penetrate muscle fibers and can greatly enhance the flavor of your dish.
Remember to limit the time that your meat rests in the marinade (no longer than 24 hours).
Don’t overcook it
When it comes to roasting venison, overcooking is a common problem. As it turns out, there are quite a few factors that can cause a person to overcook it.
These factors include
- not enough moisture
- not enough fat
- too high heat
- forgetting to set your timer
- forgetting that the meat continues to cook when removed from the heat
- the fear of diseases caused by undercooked meat. Yes, ground meats must be cooked thoroughly.
However, quality cuts that are handled correctly are less likely to spoil.
When you are afraid of pathogens, it is essential to gain confidence by using a thermometer when you cook your meat and make sure that the internal temperature reaches the correct number without causing the meat to overcook.
Internal temperatures should reach 125°F to 140°F and should never exceed 160°F. You don’t want to cook out the pink color, as the pink color indicates that the roast is still moist and succulent on the inside.
Let it rest
Do you want your venison to melt away in your mouth like butter? Then it might be a good idea to let it rest.
If you let the roast rest for 10-15 minutes before you slice it, juices are allowed to disperse evenly, and the moisture is wicked up into the meat.
It is also very important to allow the meat to cool off enough; otherwise, it will fall apart when you cut it.
On the other hand, if a ‘pulled’ venison sandwich is what you are after, you can slice it warm.
The last tip to remember is that the simplest recipes are often the best ones.
When the venison is cooked correctly, it only needs a few (simple) added ingredients to accompany it to make a great meal.
Keep the tips and tricks from this article in mind when cooking venison, and you will certainly avoid a tragedy in the kitchen.
And if you are someone who hasn’t done it before, give a venison roast a go.
It’s delicious, seasonal, sensational, and above it all, it’s packed with nutritional benefits.
Rusty enjoys connecting food and nature and has done so since a child. He was fortunate enough to explore cuisine worldwide and work at great European restaurants. He now enjoys thinking up new recipes that he can find around him in nature in North America.