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Four Creative Ways to Use Venison

  • 12/10/2014 8:24:00 AM
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Four creative venison recipes: French dips, jerky, rarebit burgers, spareribs | Iowa DNR

If you harvested your first deer this season or maybe are just looking for new ideas to put on the table, try our time-tested favorite recipes, pulled from the pages of Iowa Outdoors magazine and the Iowa Game Wardens’ Cookbook.

For more wild game and camping recipes, visit our Outdoor and Wild Recipes board on Pinterest.

Venison French Dips

1 venison roast or backstrap, 3 to 4 pounds
1 12-ounce can cola
1 packet dry beefy onion mushroom or onion soup mix, or 1 can condensed French onion soup
1 large onion
One large green or red bell pepper, sliced
8 slices provolone cheese
1 package crusty hoagie buns
Garlic powder, seasoned salt and black pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Season roast with garlic powder, seasoned salt and pepper. Sear in hot pan with a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil. Place in slow cooker. Add cola and soup or soup mix. Cook on low for 6 hours. Add peppers and onions and cook on low another 1.5 to 2 hours. Slice meat. Layer meat on one side of the bun, veggies and cheese (in that order) on the other. Broil until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown. Save liquid for au jus dipping sauce.

Featured in the March/April 2010 issue of Iowa Outdoors magazine, courtesy of managing editor Alan Foster

Matt’s Deer Jerky

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black powder
1 teaspoon MSG
1 pound deer meat, sliced thin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon white pepper

Mix all ingredients other than the meat into a bowl. Place sliced meat in the mixture. Cover container and place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Dry in dehydrator to desired texture, usually three to six hours, depending on thickness of meat and dehydrator function.

Featured in the Iowa Game Wardens’ Cookbook, courtesy of Officer Matt Rush

Venison Rarebit Burgers

1 pound ground venison
½ medium red onion, chopped finely
½ small green or red pepper, chopped finely
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients together and form into four patties, then grill or broil to your liking. Serve in hamburger buns and with this rarebit sauce:

1.5 cups milk
1 cup American cheese, shredded or in small pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend all sauce ingredients until smooth. Cook in a double boiler over medium heat until thick. Pour sauce generously directly over the top of the hamburger bun. 

Featured in the Iowa Game Wardens’ Cookbook, courtesy of Officer Deb Howe

Barbecued Venison Spare Ribs

2 sheets lean venison spare ribs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup ketchup
½ cup tomato puree
3 pieces celery
1 cup water
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic
½ green pepper
Juice of 1 lemon

Cut ribs into serving portions and place in a baking dish. Blend other ingredients and pour over ribs. Bake in a moderate oven for 1 hour, turning and basting often.

 Featured in the Iowa Game Wardens’ Cookbook, courtesy of retired officer Mike Sells