Ready to sink your teeth into plump, tender, juicy venison steak? These Buttermilk Marinated Venison Steaks totally change the game when it comes to enjoying a succulent slice of medium rare venison.

Overhead shot of 2 plates with venison steaks, one sliced, lemon wedge and roasted broccoli.

These delicious venison steaks will receive a 5-star rating from the whole family! If you’re looking for the perfect hearty meal to serve during the colder months, this recipe will rock your world!

Venison is one of those meats that we don’t get to enjoy nearly enough. When serving it people either love the experience or claim it has a ‘gamey taste,’ so we wanted to see if we could create a venison recipe with delicious flavor that wow-ed even the most skeptical critic.

That’s why we suggest marinating your meat in buttermilk. This step isn’t mandatory, but it helps a lot! Especially if you have people who are averse to venison. Due to its low acidity, it benefits the deer steak without causing it to become mushy, like a marinade that is high in acid could. The buttermilk marinade will leave you with an incredibly juicy, tender cut of meat.

Plate with roasted broccoli and cooked venison steaks.

What is Venison?

Venison typically refers to deer meat, although it also encompasses elk, antelope, or any big game animal with horns. In this case, we are using wild game deer meat. Venison is red meat that is butchered into cuts of meat similar to the cuts you’d find with beef.

If it’s your first time trying any of the wild game meats, you might be surprised by the gamey flavor, but this venison recipe is a perfect introduction and just might end up being your favorite way to prepare your deer meat.

These tender venison steaks are a good choice if you have deer meat on hand you’re craving a hearty steak dinner. The key to getting this recipe right is in the marinade, a hot frying pan, and of course, not overcooking the meat. You don’t want it to end up overly chewy.

Venison is lean meat that benefits from proper cooking methods. When it comes to cooking wild venison, finding the right delicious marinade will leave you with a perfectly tender, smooth cut of meat and help to introduce your pallet to something new.

Like all proteins, when cooked right, venison can easily become your new favorite meal. If you have surplus deer meat on your hands, this venison steak recipe is a great way to use it up. Plus, it’s so simple to make and pairs well with many side dishes!

Ingredients for buttermilk marinated pan seared venison steaks.

Buttermilk Marinated Venison Steak Ingredients 

For the marinated venison steaks: 

  • Buttermilk 
  • Venison Steaks aka Venison Medallions

For the pan sear:

  • Oil – any neutral cooking oil works
  • Butter – we always use unsalted butter
  • Salt – we always use kosher salt
  • Pepper – we use course ground black pepper

Serving:

  • Butter 
  • Lemon 
  • Chives – or other fresh herbs

How to Make Buttermilk Marinated Venison Steak 

Ready to make the perfect venison steak? Let’s dive in!

Marinate the venison:

Pat the venison steaks dry with a paper towel and place them in a shallow dish or resealable bag to marinate the venison in buttermilk. Allow the venison to marinate covered entirely for 3 hours. 

Once the 3 hours are up, remove your steaks from the marinade and pat dry again. You can discard the buttermilk marinade. 

Next, place steaks on a wire rack and allow them to air dry in the fridge for another hour. A dry cut of meat and a properly heated pan will help the Maillard reaction, aka, how well your crust forms.

Pan sear the deer steaks: 

When you are ready to begin cooking, preheat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat with oil and butter. Liberally season the venison with salt and pepper on top of each steak. Flip and be sure to season the bottom as well.

Add each piece of meat to the hot cast iron skillet, working in batches if needed not to overcrowd the pan. 
Allow your steaks to sear for 2 to 3 minutes until a thick crust forms and the meat cooks. Be careful not to pull, wiggle, or move the meat during this period or you can tear the meat and ruin the crust. If the meat pulls or resists at all when moving with cooking tongs, let it be for a moment.

Flip and fry for 2 to 3 minutes longer until the steak reaches 125 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer. 

Next, remove the grilled steak from the hot pan and place a small dollop of butter over each. Tent the steaks with aluminum foil and let the meat rest for 5 minutes. 

4 venison medallions, cooked, on a plate with butter on top resting.
Pro tip: I always finish my meat in fat. This adds a depth and succulence to every bite.

Serve: 

After the meat rests, place the steaks and garnish with a sprinkle of flaky salt, a spritz of fresh lemon juice, and minced chives. 

Serve the steaks with your favorite side dishes!

GirlCarnivore Pro Tip: Want more flavor? Try sprinkling some of my Ooomami powder on these venison steaks. The powdered mushrooms really help boost the natural umami taste!

Close up of sliced venison steak showing red, medium rare, center.

Storage 

If you find yourself with some leftover venison steak, place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 3-5 days. If you prefer a long-term method of storing, you can place your leftover steaks in freezer bags and store your leftovers for up to 3 months, but we feel once the steak is thawed and cooked, it’s best enjoyed immediately.

Reheating Leftovers

If you are working with frozen venison, allow it the thaw before reheating. To reheat your steaks, you can either place them in the oven at 350 F and cook until they reach an internal temperature of about 140 F with a meat thermometer, though since they have already been cooked, you simply need them warm enough to enjoy. This should take about 10-15 minutes unless you have a larger steak.

These Buttermilk Marinated Steaks are a great option if you have an avid hunter in the family. They are easy to make and even easier to eat. There are many different ways to enjoy venison like, venison stew, venison roast, and even venison burgers. If you are looking for more tasty deer meat recipes, give our Juicy Ground Venison Burgers a go! Let us know how your venison steaks turned out—leave a comment below!

Overhead shot of venison steaks on a dark plate with broccoli and garnished with minced chives.

What to Serve With

There’s no shortage of things that pair well with venison steak. We show it with roasted broccoli. Or try serving your marinated buttermilk venison steaks with:

FAQs

How do you cook venison so that it’s tender?

Venison tends to be a naturally lean cut of meat. Marinating it, especially in something like buttermilk, is the best way to achieve a tender, juicy steak. 
Making sure not to overcook cuts that need a quick sear, like venison medallions or steaks, also helps. Some meat will need to be braised or stewed, just like beef cuts, to help the tendons and fibers break down.

Why is venison not sold in stores?

Venison is becoming available in more retail outlets. Law prevents hunters from commercially selling their meat, but, there are online stores now selling a variety of venison cuts.
We have tested and reviewed several and recommend Wild Fork Foods and Fossil Farms for sourcing quality products.

Plate with sliced venison medallions and cooked broccoli.

More Delicious Recipes with unique cuts

Buttermilk Marinated Venison Steaks

5 from 16 votes
Prep: 4 hrs 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Resting Time: 5 mins
Total: 4 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 2
These venison steaks are marinated and then pan seared for an incredibly delicious dinner! Quick, easy and the best way to cook a deer steak!

Ingredients  

For the marinated venison steaks:

  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 lb venison steaks aka, venison medallions

For the pan sear:

  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Serving:

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • Chives minced

Instructions 

Marinate the venison:

  • Pat the venison steaks dry and place in a shallow dish or resealable bag.
  • Marinate the venison in buttermilk, covering entirely for 3 hours.
  • Remove from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the buttermilk marinade.
  • Arrange on a wire rack and allow to air dry in the fridge for another hour

Pan sear the deer steaks:

  • When ready to cook, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with oil and butter. Liberally season the venison with salt and a light sprinkle of pepper.
  • Add the steaks to the pan, working in batches if needed to not over crowd the pan.
  • Sear for 2 to 3 minutes until a thick crust forms.
  • Flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer until the steak reaches 125 degrees F.

Rest the steaks:

  • Remove the steaks from the pan and place a small dollop of butter over each.
  • Tent with foil and rest for 5 minutes.

Serve:

  • Place the steaks and garnish with a sprinkle of flaky salt, a spritz of fresh lemon juice, and minced chives.
  • Serve the steaks with your favorite side dishes

Notes

We marinate the venison medallions in buttermilk which helps to tenderize the meat and pull out the gamey flavor. This step isn’t mandatory but it helps a lot! Especially if you have people who are averse to venison. Due to it’s low acidity it benefits the deer steak without causing it to become mushy, like a marinade that is high in acid could.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 743kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 73g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 253mg | Sodium: 1598mg | Potassium: 1091mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 902IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 9mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Kita Roberts
Keyword: venison steaks

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