Debate: Use a Marinade for Your Deer Meat?

Summer is a great time for cranking up the smoker to create some delicious roasts, ribs, shoulders or sausages. If you planned ahead and have some deer shoulders or roasts to use, that’s great. If not, a good beef brisket, ribs, pork roast or some store- bought sausages are great options before deer season gets here.

Some marinades have an array of ingredients while other folks like a simple dash of salt and pepper.

Some marinades have an array of ingredients while other folks like a simple dash of salt and pepper.

There seems to be two camps for marinades and rubs. One camp loves a lot of various flavors, herbs, spices or mixes. If you’ve ever watched Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives you’ve seen host Guy Fieri whistle at the array of rub or marinade ingredients some of his guests use. The other camp is more minimal, perhaps using just a couple of ingredients in a rub or marinade. And some folks just want salt, pepper and nothing else.

That’s what makes food and dining so much fun. Uncle Bob’s “special rib sauce” he never discusses might include just one secret ingredient or five. Aunt Susie might be more of a throw-it-all-in type and through the years has figured out what works best, even if she couldn’t write down the ingredients to save her life. It’s also hard to beat a well-smoked roast with just salt, pepper and natural flavors. To each his own, of course.

Here, for example, is a marinade for one a recipe on the great Weston blog for stir fry venison and an example of simple things that work together:

2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon red wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon peanut oil
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ginger

That’s about as simple as it gets. Seven ingredients, combining the savory (soy sauce, ginger) with the sweet (honey) and a few additions. There’s nothing outlandish, fancy, too expensive or far-out “can’t-get-it-here-in-my-store” type of ingredient that can’t be found. Heck, you probably could find almost all those items in some of the larger mini-mart gas stations that have a food section when you’re going to or are at deer camp.

Fresh garlic is outstanding, of course, but it’s not cheating to save some prep time by using pre-cut or minced garlic, peppers, onions, carrots or other items available at your grocery store. Minced garlic comes in small and large jars, and for marinades, it’s a lot simpler to add a couple of tablespoons (hey, we love garlic) to a mix than to have to peel and slice (or mince) umpteen cloves.

Refrigerate the jar of garlic, and you’ll have it ready next time to mix with a little red wine and honey before brushing on the venison steaks for the grill. If you’re going to camp for a work weekend or later on in the season, pack your pre-cut items in something like a Yeti cooler with ice to keep them cold and fresh.

The rugged Yeti Hopper Flip is perfect for short trips or special things you may want to keep cold.

The rugged Yeti Hopper Flip is perfect for short trips or special things you may want to keep cold.

You also could make your marinade a day before, pack it in the cooler and have it ready, or even use a vacuum sealer to secure the marinating venison for the cooler. Plan ahead and the cooking time will be easier.

If you’re doing the latter and don’t need a gigantic cooler, the new Yeti Hopper Flip 12 is a great option. It’s constructed of the same incredibly tough materials as the larger Hoppers, has an antimicrobial and mildew-resistant liner, is 100 percent leakproof and puncture resistant, and keeps ice for days. It’s also small enough to pack for a quick hunting trip or football weekend with some sandwiches or brews.


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