Now that the firearms deer season is in the books, it’s time to start thinking about deer meat.

With any luck, successful Pennsylvania deer hunters have been blessed with a freezer load of prime venison to enjoy, with a wealth of culinary options for doing so. Here are a few of my own personal favorites.


Gunpowder Dip

This ground venison recipe is super easy and tastes absolutely delicious. You can kick the spice up a notch by adding chopped jalapenos or some crushed red pepper flakes. Consider making it in the crock pot for family gatherings, as a holiday appetizer or while cheering on your favorite football team.


  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds Velveeta Cheese, cubed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 large jar salsa of choice
  • Chopped peppers (optional)


  1. Brown the ground venison in a pan with butter and add chopped onions, cooking until slightly translucent.
  2. Transfer cooked meat and all other ingredients into a slow cooker, stir well and cook on high until cheese melts and everything is thoroughly heated. Turn to warm and serve with bread or corn tortilla chips.


Shrimp-Stuffed Venison Tenderloin

A deer’s tenderloins are by far the prize cut of the harvest. Celebrate this delicate meat with a surf-n-turf inspired recipe that uses a delightful wine sauce to bring about a fusion of flavors to tantalize your taste buds. You’ll be out trying to fill another deer tag in no time.

For the meat:


  • 1 whole venison tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 12 whole shrimp, cooked and peeled
  • 1/2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 or 2 slices bacon


  1. Cut loin lengthwise to within 1/2 inch of bottom to butterfly. Place loin in Italian dressing to marinate for at least 4 hours.
  2. Cook shrimp in water seasoned with Old Bay and peel.
  3. Place shrimp end to end inside loin.
  4. Melt butter, add lemon juice and drizzle over shrimp.
  5. Close meat around shrimp and secure with toothpicks (or string), placing bacon strips over the open seam.
  6. Place loin on a rack in broiler pan and roast at 400 F for about 45 minutes or until medium-rare. Meanwhile, prepare wine sauce.
For the wine sauce:


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Melt butter.
  2. Sauté onion, mushrooms and garlic until tender. Add wine and Worcestershire sauce and simmer slowly to reduce to about half.
To serve
  1. Slice loin, remove toothpicks/string, and spoon on wine sauce. Serve with roasted veggies, baked brown rice and baked apricots — all of which can be placed in the oven while the roast cooks.


Venison Parmigianino

Lean steaks of varying sizes can be easily cut out of a deer’s hind quarter. This recipe puts an Italian spin on preparing those steaks and pairs it with pasta for restaurant-quality fine dining.


  • 2 lb. boneless venison steaks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


  1. Pound or butterfly steaks into 1/2-inch thickness and cut into serving sized pieces
  2. In a shallow bowl, beat egg and milk
  3. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese
  4. Dip venison in the egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture.
  5. In a large skillet, brown the breaded meat in oil on both sides. Place in a greased baking dish and sauté the tomato sauce in the drippings, pepper, salt, sugar and marjoram. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Pour over venison.
  6. Cover and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until meat is tender.
  7. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve with al dente spaghetti, a tossed salad, fresh garlic bread and your favorite red wine.

Frantz is board chairman for the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association. Contact the writer: