Add Some Venison to Your Holiday Spread

Add Some Venison to Your Holiday Spread
Keep venison recipes on the mild side in order to complement the flavor instead of overpowering it.

Introduce the fantastic flavor of venison to friends and family this holiday season with these venison recipes

It's hard to believe, but the sound of whitetails stepping in dry leaves is about to be replaced by that of reindeer hooves clicking on rooftops.

As an avid hunter and father of seven children, I have mixed feelings about this time of year. On one hand, in late season whitetails tend to be on fairly predicable patterns. On the other hand, I have to buy so many presents I can't afford to go hunting half as much as I want. Regardless, there's one great bonus all successful deer hunters can enjoy at this time of year: fresh venison for their holiday tables.

Through my journeys as a professional chef, I've found many folks aren't familiar with how to properly handle wild meats. If you have any doubt as to what you should be doing, follow this general rule: Don't do anything to your venison you wouldn't do to a cut of expensive beef.

In stating this, I'm sure to start quite a few disagreements, but I stand by my statement. It really is that simple. And especially so for holiday meals. Keep the recipes on the mild side; you want to complement those wild flavors, not overpower them.

The two holiday venison recipes I've created for you have very appealing flavors and dress up quite well. And that second point is nearly as important as the first; people absolutely eat first with their eyes. When it comes to holiday meals, you want everything to look as great as it tastes. Some people who dine with you over the holiday season might not be accustomed to eating venison, so the better it looks, the more likely they are to want to sample it.

Of course, when they try it, it needs to be tender and not overly gamey. So use the best cuts from the right deer. Obviously, the backstraps and tenderloins off a young doe are the absolute best. Save the meat from that rutting buck for your own use later.

The simple fact of the matter is that if you don't share your bounty with loved ones, you're missing out on one of the most rewarding gifts we hunters can pass along. For that reason, I chose these two simple but extremely appealing recipes for you to make for your family and friends this season. But don't take my word for it, give them a try and let us know how they go over at your own holiday table.

Venison Pot Pie Recipe

Venison Pot Pie
This Venison Pot Pie Recipe has a lot of ingredients but is super easy to make. (Jeff Kuhl photo)

Cut a large slice of this Venison Pot Pie Recipe, or make them in individual soufflé dishes for a tasty wild-game take on the traditional chicken pot pie.


  • 2 pounds venison stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 teaspoons basil paste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup green peas
  • 1 cup diced, canned new potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons beef base paste mixed in 1 cup water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup green onions
  • Prepared pastry dough

Get the Recipe: Venison Pot Pie Recipe

Venison Gorgonzola Salad with Fried Eggplant Croutons Recipe

Venison Gorgonzola Salad with Fried Eggplant Croutons Recipe
Your guests will think you picked this Venison Gorgonzola Salad with Fried Eggplant Croutons Recipe from a 5-star restaurant! (Jeff Kuhl photo)

This venison salad recipe is topped with crispy fried eggplant croutons and drizzled with a flavorful homemade Gorgonzola dressing.


  • 2 pounds whole venison backstrap
  • Buttermilk
  • Fresh basil
  • Garlic
  • 3 ounces olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pink sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon basil powder
  • 1 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 8 ounces spring mix
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Red onions
  • Balsamic vinegar to drizzle on top
  • Dried apricots, dates, prunes, cranberries (optional)
  • 2-3 cups shredded carrot, cabbage, veggie blend (optional)
  • 1 cup pickled banana peppers (optional)

Fried Eggplant Crouton Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Get the Recipe: Venison Gorgonzola Salad with Fried Eggplant Croutons Recipe

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