For much of my life I have been lucky enough to have access to deer meat, usually called venison (although the term venison can also refer to antelope, elk, or other game meat). Venison has a richer flavor than beef, with a slightly gamey undertone. It also has fewer calories compared to similar cuts of beef and as much as 20% less fat, even when all of the visible fat is trimmed from the beef. It can be tough if it comes from an older buck, but giving it plenty of time to marinate will help tenderize it – I left these steaks in the marinade for over 10 hours. Furthermore, one should be careful when cooking venison, as its gamey undertones become very pronounced when it is cooked beyond medium-rare. However, there is a very easy touch test you can use to determine the doneness of your meat – whether beef or game.
Consider the fleshy area under your thumb a cut of meat. Using the following guidelines:
With your hand open and relaxed, press your index finger into that fleshy part of your hand. That is what raw meat should feel like.
Now, gently touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your pointer finger, this is what meat cooked rare will feel like.
With your middle finger and thumb touching, press the fleshy area under your thumb and you will know how meat will give under the touch test when it is cooked to medium-rare.
To determine if your meat has been cooked to medium, compare it to the give of your flesh when your thumb and ring finger are touching.
With your thumb and pinky tips touching, press the flesh under your thumb, that is what a well done piece of meat will feel like.
Now that you know how to test the doneness of your venison steak, follow the these simple directions to your perfect venison steak.
Beer Marinated Venison
1) In a Tupperware container large enough to hold all of your steaks whisk together beer, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic.
2) Place steaks in the Tupperware and let marinate for at least 2 hours.
3) Turn on broiler to high and place oven rack about 6-8 inches below flame. Line broiler pan with foil for easy clean up.
4) Place steaks on the broiler pan, I like to sprinkle a little of the crushed garlic from the marinade on top of them.
5) Place in oven, making sure the steaks are 3-4 inches from the flame.
6) Cook on the first side for about 3-4 minutes, then flip to the other side and leave under broiler until cooked as desired.
I served these steaks with fresh homemade French bread and steamed artichokes – simplicity at its finest.