Venison Meatballs

Venison Meatballs

 

venison meatballs and pasta

This was the first spaghetti meal with venison meatballs.

In the previous post, “the hunt continues,” I mentioned doing a series of posts on venison meals from my first deer. So, let’s start making venison meatballs!

Venison meatballs turned out to be a favorite way to use ground venison.

There’s two ways I prepared venison meatballs and I’ll share with ya the recipes below. First, we’ll go over the part that’ll make or break your venison meatballs: cooking time.

 

Cooking Time
For venison meatballs, 10-12 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees will get ‘er done. Anything over 12 and you start losing flavor, drastically. Less is more when it comes to cooking time, especially if you plan to reheat wild game meals for leftovers. This leads me to the next point: cook venison meatballs closer to 10 minutes so microwaving won’t over cook leftover venison meatballs.

venison meatballs

Prepare a 9×13 pan with butter or extra-virgin olive oil. Then place rolled venison meatballs, with ingredients added, in the pan. Place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

You always need to be attentive and near the grill, oven or stove that you’re using to make a wild game or fish meal. Stand by the cooking source, do not leave it.

Two Venison Meatball Recipes To Try

Recipe 1) Using seasoning:.

  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1 lb ground venison

What you do:

Roll up ground venison with your hands. While rolling, shake on Italian seasoning and garlic powder. (*No measuring of spices required. This way, you’ll find some meatballs  will have more garlic, some more Italian season. Each one will have it’s own flavor, a surprise in every bite!) Place meatballs in a 9×13 pan pre-treated with either butter or extra-virgin olive oil (extra-virgin olive oil is meant for baking at high temps). Put pan in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

Recipe 2) Using fresh onion and garlic:

  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 minced small onion
  • 1 lb ground venison

What you do:

Mince garlic cloves and small onion. Mix together the minced garlic and onion on cutting board. Roll venison meatballs into a ball with your hands. While rolling, sprinkle in minced garlic and onion mixture. Add as desired. Place meatballs in a 9×13 pan pre-treated with either butter or extra-virgin olive oil. Put in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Venison Meatballs-garlic and onion

Note: a butcher knife is the recommended knife for mincing. A sharp knife is a must.
I do not have a butcher knife, the knife pictured did the job becuase it was sharp!

(Before cooking my first deer, I had no desire to mince anything. Yet, when seeing minced garlic was an ingredient to making venison chili, I learned by watching “how to mince garlic” YouTube video. To me, hunting and fishing create a willingness to learn more about cooking.)

 

Next Venison Meal: Grilled Deer Heart 

 
 

The Hunt Continues

The Hunt Continues After The Shot.

(Second blog post on my first deer.)

Remember, the hunt continues after the shot. After the shot, the deer will need to be gutted. After gutting, the deer will need to be skinned and processed. It’s why hunters say, “the shot is just one part of hunting.”

My dad, grandpa and I worked to skin and quarter my first deer. (The quartering process was another part of the hunt that made memories.) After skinning, I took the meat to be processed. Taking the meat to be processed took priority to getting the head and hide to the taxidermist.

Cooking Your Trophy Is the Greatest Trophy

In my book, the meat was the trophy. I say this because when fishing and hunting, obtaining a meal is my main objective. The goal of my previous deer hunts was to obtain deer meat. Going 13 years without shooting a deer, made each meal of my first deer it’s own trophy. With my first deer, I’m able to cook meals with meat from a deer I shot myself. (Achieving the goal set when obtaining my hunter’s safety license.) At each meal, memories of those who have helped me come to life again.

grilled deer heart

Grilling the heart of my first deer. Eating the heart brought the hunt full circle that much more.

When eating wild game from your hunts, the hunt is prolonged. Each time I sink my teeth into venison, I relive the shot, as well as, gutting and skinning the deer.

First deer mount

The European mount of my first deer was a bonus. Trophy from the hunt: venison and sharing time with family

Gain Responsibility 

It’s a fact that hunting also teaches how to be responsible with the game you kill. Hunters should remember this; anti-hunters must learn to understand this. Therefore, as a sportsman, I want to respect the animal by making sure the meat does not go to waste. This is why hunting teaches responsibility. Hunters learn the value of life and what it means to be a steward of the land.

Learn Cooking Skills

Just as fishing helps me cook, hunting teaches me about cooking as well. In the next series of blog posts I will be sharing meals and recipes made with the venison from my first deer taken during the 2013 Wisconsin bowhunting season.

Here’s a few venison meals – more meals to be added to this list:

The Hunt Continues

Above all, I’ll continue to look forward to future hunts and meals with wild game and fish, and, yearn for the next hunting season. It’s why “the hunt continues.” And if I don’t get anything, that’s alright too. My passion for the adventure and the thrill of even finding sign is what drives me. Read more on the following posts:

After The Catch

After the catch, from the lake to the plate.

Do you fish? Do feel the fishing and cooking connection? Patience and persistence are mentioned the most when it comes to fishing. Something that happens after the catch should be caught as well, cooking.

after the catch

Bluegills grilling with green peppers and onions.

There are few more rewarding things than eating the fish you catch. While eating my catch, I remember a few things: being on the lake baiting my hook -or- casting a lure, and feeling anxious for when your bobber will go under -or- strike will occur.

Now, you’re eating the fish that took your bobber under. It’s why preparing your catch brings the fishing trip full circle.

Cleaning fish has always been part of my fishing experiences, thanks to my Dad who taught me ways to clean and prepare our catch. After cleaning the next step is cooking, therefore, the work begins when we decide to keep the fish for dinner, and was finished when we did the dishes after enjoying our catch.

Life Lessons
Cleaning fish teaches responsibility because if you wait too long to clean fish, they’ll spoil. This responsibility leads to being a steward of the land and to make sure you wisely use what you take from the water.

Thus, this connects fishing to cooking. I need to learn how to cook so I can eat my catch. Fishing prepared me for when I’d be living on my own.

When I fish I see an opportunity to catch a meal, and because I am on my own I need to be able to cook on my own. This is why I come to the conclusion that fishing is my bridge to cooking.


By Josh Schwartz 2013. This is the second part of how fishing’s a bridge to cooking. Fishing is Josh’s favorite activity in the outdoors. Catch and release and a responsible harvest are practiced.

Fishing’s A Bridge To Cooking

Fishing’s A Bridge To Cooking

The reason why fishing’s a bridge to cooking is because I’ve picked up on certain aspects of cooking from eating the fish I catch. The lessons below are what I have learned from making fish and can be applied to other game dishes. Read on!

Fishing's A Bridge To Cooking

Crappie are some of the best eating fish. Sometimes I just just use olive oil and a little lemon pepper.

How Not to Overcook
You can tell when fish is done when the flesh is flakey and white. Use this as a measuring stick whether you’re grilling, baking or pan-frying. It’s good to know when fish/meat is done so you know the warning signs of when it’s starting to overcook.

Simply, keep an eye on your food and check it often. You’ll have better success grilling if you don’t “grill it and forget it.”

For deep-frying, when the breading is a light brown it’s done. If it’s a dark brown it’s going to be over cooked. Watch the fish as it’s in the fryer so you can see the different color phases.

Cleaning Fish
Learning to fillet fish comes in handy when cleaning other game since the concept of following along the bone to remove as much meat as possible still applies.

You can scale and gut your catch. Simply scale the fish. Cut off head. Gut it. When cooking, you can stuff the fish with vegetables and seasoning of your choice.

Variety Of Techniques
I’ve used a stove, deep fryer, grill, and oven to make fish. It taught me what to use to make fish, and how to use appliances. I’ve use the these skills to make other food.

Grilling fish introduced me to using tinfoil and oil for cooking.

Learn As You Cook

  • Cutting up vegetables is something I learned when preparing fish.
    Cook your fish with green peppers and onions for great flavor. The flavor is not too strong since you can still taste the fish itself.
  • Side dishes complete meals, and rice goes great with fish.
  • Lemon Pepper seasoning is great with fish. Less seasoning is better while cooking. This allows people to season as they desire while eating fish. You can’t remove excess seasoning from cooked food.
Fishing's a bridge to cooking

Fish seasoned lightly with lemon pepper, in a tin foil boat ready for the grill.

Ask questions and experiment with different spices, methods, and species of fish; it’s the only way to expand your cooking ability, and understand the flavor of each fish. Some stomach meat on fish is good, others not so much.

A great resource for fish cooking ideas is Sporting Chef Scott Layeth; check out his list of fish recipes.

Try the spices and ingredients you have in your pantry and garden to use them in new ways. This is why fishing is a bridge to cooking. Once you cross the bridge to cooking you’ll start knowing what methods you prefer and can share with other fisherman.

Tight lines and good eatin’!

By Josh Schwartz 2013. This is the first of a two part series on how fishing’s a bridge for cooking. Read the second post on Connecting Fishing To Cooking. Fishing is Josh’s favorite activity in the outdoors. Catch and release and a responsible harvest are practiced.