15 Ground Venison Recipes
Rich stews, spiced chilis, and savory roasts become regular menu items during the fall season, and game meat enthusiasts know that venison, with its earthy flavor, smooth texture, and lean profile, lends itself especially well to robust autumn fruits, vegetables, and aromatics. Whether you're a seasoned eater of deer meat or are just discovering this protein for the first time, venison in its ground form proves especially easy to incorporate into recipes, and these 15 ground venison recipes make excellent use of the meat's unique and nuanced personality.
Minnesota Hunter's Chili
"Not terribly spicy, this hunter's chili can be kicked up with hot sauce for those who like it hotter, but is pretty flavorful. Beef can be used instead of game. Freezes well and makes a wonderful day-in-camp campfire meal," says recipe writer Danno of this substantial venison stew. It includes seasonings like cumin and paprika to highlight the natural umami flavor of the deer meat.
Venison-Bacon White Chili
This tomato-free white chili allows the chiles and spices to stand in the foreground, while the venison and bacon provide a musky, smoky foundation. The addition of cinnamon and nutmeg gives it an especially autumnal vibe.
Juicy Deer and Bacon Burgers
Venison fans often compare the flavor of deer meat to a leaner, bolder version of beef. Therefore, ground venison is a sensible choice for an alternative burger base. These patties combine ground venison with Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and a splash of stout beer, and each burger gets topped with a crispy slice of bacon.
This whimsically-named spin on the Sloppy Joe is another example of the ease with which ground venison can sub in for ground beef. Diced jalapeños add a hint of heat to this recipe, and commenter ValkyrieHunter insists that "[the] family loved it and said we [should] have it again soon. No leftovers!"
Savory Venison Meatloaf
Packed with bacon and glazed with barbecue sauce, this meatloaf recipe goes all in on the "smoky flavors pair well with venison" school of thought. The sweetness in the glaze and in the meatloaf itself comes from toasty brown sugar, which contributes to the campfire energy of this satisfying dish.
Elk Shepherd's Pie
This version of shepherd's pie takes a great deal of creative license; for instance, it replaces ground lamb with ground elk. Elk tends to be a bit leaner and less strongly-flavored than venison, but if you're open to a bolder gustatory experience, you can easily use venison in place of the elk.
Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs
In the introduction to her recipe for this craveworthy party snack, writer Johanna Novak insists that "everybody loves meatballs at parties, and this recipe won't let you down! Seasoned beef meatballs are simmered in a sweet and spicy sauce. You can also use ground venison instead of the ground beef."
Johnny Marzzetti with Ground Venison
A retro throwback to the 1960s, the Johnny Marzetti is a baked pasta layered with tomato sauce, ground meat, vegetables, and melted cheese. This version uses venison in lieu of the more common ground beef, and if you're looking for an easy way to introduce venison to your kids (or your pickier friends), then you've found it in this crowdpleasing dish.
Venison Mostaccioli Casserole
If you enjoy both venison and baked ziti, then you'll find a lot to love about this "casserole." Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil, and mostaccioli pasta come together in a baking dish, with ground venison fortifying the sauce. "My three- and six-year-olds love it, and it isn't gamey tasting at all!" recipe contributor IronChefLaurie says to ward off any concerns about how the flavor of venison might work in this classic Italian-American dish.
Venison Italian Soup
Recipe creator Joelene Craver describes this tomato-based soup as a "hearty all-in-one-meal soup which contains vegetables, meat, and pasta. Served with mozzarella-garlic bread, it makes a great meal on a cold winter day." Pinto and green beans add extra protein, and the venison picks up aromatic notes from garlic, oregano, basil, and black pepper.
Guluptsie (Cabbage Rolls)
Based on a dish of Eastern European origin, guluptsie are cabbage leaves stuffed with ground beef, pork sausage, ground venison, and rice, then rolled into compact parcels and baked in the oven. The flavor of the venison works in harmony with the pork sausage, ground beef, and cabbage to create a comforting meal for a chilly autumn night.
Venison and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffed Pumpkin I
The mellow flavor of pumpkin makes it an excellent canvas for rich ground venison, spicy dry mustard and black pepper, fragrant sage, and smoky bacon grease. "This is a beautiful dish to serve as a centerpiece to your holiday celebration," says recipe creator ONEMINA, and we're inclined to agree.
Bulk Venison Breakfast Sausage
Looking for a lower-fat breakfast sausage, but with more robust flavor than you'll get from turkey sausage or veggie sausage? Follow this recipe, which balances the higher fat content of ground pork with lean ground venison.
"Hunter's hash" is an appropriate name for this fortifying potato hash, which includes not only ground venison but also venison livers and venison heart. "A very simple and delicious recipe handed down to me from my Canadian grandparents. This is a very robust recipe and makes great leftovers," states recipe creator Army Man Dave.