Archive for October 18th, 2011

Venison always tastes best in the fall, so we like to pair it with apples and bourbon – a classic American flavor combination. Like the meat of most game, deer meat can be fairly lean and tough, but a brine changes all that. It allows the proteins in finely grained deer meat to retain more moisture during cooking so that the meat tastes juicy when served.

Prep: 10 minutes
Brine: 2 to 6 hours
Grill: 10 to 14 minutes.

– Long-handled spatula.

For most people, venison means deer meat. But it can also refer to the meat of related animals, such as elk, caribou, moose, and reindeer. That’s probably because the term “venison” comes from a Middle English word meaning “to hunt.” Any type of venison meat will work here, and you could also use buffalo or antelope.

Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (400° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

1 cup apple cider
½ cup bourbon
½ cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary
2½ pounds venison leg steak, about 1 inch thick
¼ cup hazelnut or walnut oil
Oil for coating grill grate.

1. Combine the cider, bourbon, water, salt, peppercorns, thyme, and rosemary in a gallon zipper-lock bag; seal and shake until the salt dissolves, about 30 seconds.
2. Place the bag in a bowl just large enough to hold it snugly. Open the bag and add the venison. Seal the zipper, leaving about an inch open; push on the bag to release any trapped air through the opening, and close the zipper completely. Massage the liquid gently into the meat and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and no more than 6 hours.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Remove the venison from the marinade and discard the marinade. Pat the surface of the venison dry with paper towels and coat with the hazelnut oil.
5. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the venison on the grill, cover, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat registers between 130° and 140°F, 5 to 7 minutes per side. If your grill has an external temperature gauge, it should stay at around 450°F.

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