Break Out of Your Rut with Different Venison Recipes

Several years ago on a vacation to the beach our son and I were wrapping up an afternoon of golf at Gulf State Park and fresh seafood at one of my favorite spots, Doc’s.

Smokey Lettuce WrapsWe stopped at Perdido Pass on the way back to the hotel to see if anyone was catching anything. The pass is the chute between the “back bay” area where folks fish, swim, boat, have homes and such and the Gulf of Mexico. Wide, deep for big boats and lined with giant rocks, this tidal-influenced pass sometimes has incredible action for redfish, flounder and other species.

The tide was ripping and we found a line of anglers on the sidewalk rail hoisting bluefish over by, literally, the bucket-loads. A school of bluefish had moved into the pass and was set up in the water on the edge of the darkness created by the dim glow of the last vapor light on the sidewalk. It was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like that there before.

Our son was tired and so i took him back to the room, got my fishing rods and lures, and returned to try to fish. More than five hours later I crashed on our room couch tired, ecstatic, finger-bitten (the damned things have sharp teeth!), smelly and ready for more fishing. Fishing was slower the next night and the third, the blues were gone.

Why the fishing tale? Because I was told by other anglers there that bluefish “were terrible to eat” and “not good” and “bloody, oily and nasty.” So despite having a little kitchen area in our condo, I gave away all the blues I caught to other folks there. When they left, I removed the fish — carefully — from my hook and tossed them back.

This nice, short story and video in The New York Times Food section made me think of that fishing trip and my ignorance. I listened to others instead of doing my own thing. And that reminds me of what too many deer hunters do today with their delicious deer meat each hunting season.

They drown it in Italian dressing and wrap in bacon and think everything else anyone does is wrong. Or they soak it in a cooler of salted ice water until it’s gray “to get the blood and gamy flavor out!” and have dull, flavorless meat. Or they cook the beejeebers out of it until it’s hard, add too much pork or beef fat when mixing burger or sausage.

If you like it those ways, fine. But don’t be afraid to experiment. Seriously. Break out of the rut, try something new and see how things turn out. You may find out that you like something better.

Give these Smoky Lettuce Venison Wraps a try this summer with fresh corn. Good stuff!

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 4.5 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. venison roast
1 head of romaine lettuce/bibb lettuce
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Chatellier’s Rare Game Sauce for basting

Marinade
1 orange, juiced
1 lime, juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup Chatellier’s Rare Game Sauce

Sage Corn Salsa
1/2 cup red onion, diced
5 ears of corn
5 Roma tomatoes (or any kind on hand)
1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation

1. Remove all silver-skin and fat from venison roast. Cut roast(s) accordingly so that they’re 3/4 – 1 inch thick. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.

Removing the “silver skin” eliminates chewy bites. (FoodForHunters.com)

2. In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients: orange juice, lime juice, 2 garlic cloves minced, 1/8 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup Chatellier’s Rare Game Sauce. Mix well.

3. Place venison roasts in a resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade and marinate for 4 hours. Flip bag over after 2 hours.

4. Prepare grill.  Brush olive oil over corn. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Score an “X” into one side of the tomatoes. Brush olive oil over tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Grill corn until lightly golden all over. Grill tomatoes until slightly softened, covered. About 15 minutes. Allow tomatoes and corn to cool.

6. Remove venison roasts from marinade. Discard marinade. Grill until medium done-ness, about 5 minutes each side. Baste each side with Chatellier’s Rare Game Sauce. Let meat rest for 5 minutes.

8. With a serrated knife, slice venison thinly against the grain. Fill lettuce leaves with sliced venison and corn salsa. Enjoy like tacos!7. To make the salsa, slice kernels from corn. Chop flesh of tomatoes. Since we used Roma tomatoes, seeds were not a big problem so we didn’t bother removing. In a medium-size bowl, combine corn, chopped tomatoes, red onion, red wine vinegar, olive oil, chopped sage and Serrano chili pepper (optional). Add salt and pepper, to taste.

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