This all-purpose venison marinade is perfect for tenderizing and flavoring whatever cut of venison you’re working with and it uses simple ingredients.
Ah, the all-purpose venison marinade. I’ve been messing around with venison marinades for some time now. I think it’s important to have something you can whisk together in a pinch. I’ve tried crazier ingredients like hot sauces, maple syrup, mustard, and more, but I keep coming back to this bright, fresh, and simple version. I love that it uses super simple pantry ingredients, too.
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This is a great marinade to use on a tenderloin, backstrap, chops, steaks—really any cut—and especially those that are tougher in nature. The acid helps break down the tissue and tenderize.
Does venison need to be marinated before cooking?
The above paragraph leads my to this first point – does venison need to be marinated? My answer – it depends.
Cuts like the tenderloin or the loin/backstrap do not need to be marinated if cooked properly in a hot pan or grill to medium rare and seasoned appropriately. Those are some of the most sought-after and tender cuts of the animal.
However, deer meat has less fat and a different flavor than commercially produced meat (like beef, bison, even farm-raised deer & elk) so there isn’t a lot of room for error.
If you’re impartial to the taste of venison or you’re a beginner in the world of wild game, I recommend you use this marinade recipe because it helps to both tenderize and flavor your meat, giving you a little more room for error and making the flavors feel more familiar.
For tougher steak cuts and cubed/stew meat that you’re wanting to use for grilling/kebabs, this recipe is a must. It helps break down the meat to tenderize it.
How long can you marinate venison?
With this recipe, I like to marinate for at least 4 hours if you can but up to overnight is just fine (8-9 hours). The longer the meat has a chance to sit, the more tender it becomes.
The 3 main components your venison marinade needs to have
We want to add some sort of fat to our marinade to enhance the lean meat that venison is. I like to use olive oil here but avocado oil would also work well.
Acid is so important when working with wild game. It brightens the flavors of the rich meat (sometimes referred to as gamey) and makes it more palatable and familiar. In this recipe, we’re using both red wine vinegar and lemon.
We also want to make sure our meat is seasoned appropriately with enough salt and pepper and flavor. In this recipe, I use Italian seasoning (a staple in my kitchen) and fresh garlic.
How do you cook the meat after marinading?
If you’re making steak, check out this post for cooking steak. I like to use this to make kebabs, too. Simply thread bite-sized chunks of meat onto a skewer with vegetables of your choice. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, rotating to all sides over medium-high heat on a grill or grill pan. Let rest and enjoy!Print
This all-purpose venison marinade is perfect for tenderizing and flavoring whatever cut of venison you’re working with and it uses simple ingredients. This recipe makes enough for 1-2lbs. of meat.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- ½ lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves, minced and smashed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
- Add all of the ingredients to a jar with a lid or a bowl.
- Shake or whisk together vigorously.
- Use as desired (makes enough for 1-2lbs. of meat).
For directions on cooking a venison steak – visit this post
To make kebabs – Simply thread bite-sized chunks of meat onto a skewer with vegetables of your choice. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, rotating to all sides over medium-high heat on a grill or grill pan. Let rest and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Sauce/Marinade
- Serving Size: 2 Tbsp.
- Calories: 144
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 441 mg
- Fat: 14 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 1 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 5 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: marinade, venison, meat
This post was originally published in 2019. It has been updated in 2022. Photo by Amber Rice