Baked Venison

” Season might pass without a singer ever coming to play for us, and there’s not a goldsmith on the island. Even meals became a trial. My cook knew little beyond his roasts and stews, and Lynesse soon lost her taste for fish and venison.” (Clash of Kings)

Medieval Baked Venison

Modern Baked Venison

Our Thoughts

Venison is a very lean meat that should always be cooked with a fat to retain moisture. The medieval venison recipe is something from heaven. As we all know, everything is better with bacon, and this venison was no different. We had small venison steaks available for this recipe. and the bacon taste overwhelmed the venison a bit, but this can probably be countered by using a larger roast type cut. The modern recipe really showcases the taste and texture of the venison. The added fat from the butter prevents the meat from drying out in the oven, but does not create a greasiness to the venison. Both recipes are certainly worth making, and don’t forget to save your leftovers for venison pie- it’s wonderful!

Medieval Larded Venison Recipe

To bake Veneson.

Take nothing but pepper and salte / but let it have inough / and if the Veneson be lene lard it through with bakon.

 A Propre new booke of Cokery, 1545


  • Venison steaks or roast
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Bacon
Rub the steaks or roast with salt and pepper. Wrap the steak with strip bacon and place in roasting pan. Roast in 400F oven till center temperature of 135F for medium meat.  We do not recommend cooking venison to well-done, as it has a tendency to dry out and toughen.

Modern Baked Venison


  • Venison steaks or roast
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Lemon, sliced
  • Onion, sliced
  • Line the bottom of a roasting pan with the sliced lemons and onions. Rub the venison with salt and pepper and place on top of the lemons and onions. Top the meat with a pat of butter for every two inches of surface area. Roast in 400F oven till center temperature of 135F for medium meat.

Leave a Reply

  1. What would a cookbook in 1545 mean by “bacon”? (or “bakon”) Looks like you used what’s normal in the US — bacon from pork belly. Would that be what they meant, or would they have used back bacon or some other type?

    I guess back bacon is not that fatty, so if you want to add fat to keep the venison from drying out, then pork belly is probably the better choice anyway. Would they have smoked it?

    Whatever the case, both recipes look excellent. If I locate some venison steaks I’ll have to try them. :)

  2. We eat quite a lot of venison – it’s actually cheaper than beef in New Zealand most of the time. While not a roast recipe – I can highly recommend using Venison Steaks (its often leg steaks we get) and frying them for just a few minutes on each side. Then remove them from the pan, add onion and mushroom. Cook, and then flame with Brandy and add cream. Add the venison back for a few minutes, then serve and tuck in.

    We usually aim for Medium Rare which seems to do the trick.

    I am so going to try roasting it in bacon though – never tried that before but as you say – everything is improved by bacon – even venison :)

    • That recipe sounds amazing! We’re coming into hunting season here, so hopefully the game recipes will be popping up more frequently for you all!

  3. Did you consider using Juniper berries? I’ll do venison stew with those (albeit in a tea-strainer since these tiny berries have tons of absolutely rock-hard seeds inside), and it lends a really pleasant sweetness.

    • I’ll try Juniper berries next time! Maybe adding them into the fruit and veg mixture that the meat is roasted on.

  4. I just came into a whole quarter of a wild elk cow, butchered, wrapped and in my freezer. I’m planning a big cookout with this stuff over a (yet-to-be-purchased) smoker/grill, and had a question for anyone who had done this before

    Elk cooks a whole lot faster than beef, but probably slower than venison, so I usually try to sear it quickly and turn the heat down. I really don’t want to destroy the texture of the meat with too much marinading or any lardoning, but smoking it would require a long while, with basting, all the while the meat’s cooking all-the-way through. I can’t figure any way around this without sacrificing either the juices or the texture.


    • We are so jealous of your elk! We haven’t been able to get our hands on any, so we have no first hand knowledge of how exactly it should be cooked. Hopefully someone on here can help you out! If not lardoned in any manner, we try to cook our venison in a similar manner, opting for a medium rare center in order to not dry out the meat. Perhaps some kind of heavy crust would help, something similar to the almond crust or even the clay we used for the trout. By sealing all the moisture in, we were able to let the fish cook on very low heat for along period of time without having to worry about it drying out. I think the clay option would be very neat, kind of similar to a Moroccan tajine.

    • If it’s not too late, I thought I’d throw in the only thing that comes to mind: I smoke my untrimmed beef brisket 5-8 hours. (usually 6 hours for a 18 lb brisket) Now, I’m in Texas, where smoked brisket BBQ is king. Mine is darn good. We use a wet rub the night before (brown sugar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce) which eventually forms the crust, and more importantly adds aromatics like crazy to the meat. To keep it moist, the first 4 hours it stays wrapped in commercial grade aluminum foil at a standard smoking temp. If you wrap it correctly so that none of the juices leak out, this also means it’s sitting in 2-3 inches of it’s own juices during that time. Ending moistness is not an issue.

      At the end of 4 hours, we very, very carefully unwrap it. (huge hunk of meat too hot to touch with about a quarter gallon of molten liquid leaking out of the bottom of the foil=careful) Reserve the juice to add to gravy, BBQ sauce, etc. We then throw it back in the smoker for two hours, regularly adding soaked wood hunks (not chips, big hunks will actually burn some and create even more smoke) to the firebox. Also, once it’s unwrapped we fill the drippings pan in the smoke box with a half gallon of apple cider and a bottle of good dark beer. (usually a Guinness or porter) Ends with a 1/4″-3/8″ smoke ring. Brisket is tender & moist, good smoke flavor without being overpowering.

      Earlier trials were failures:
      – straight smoking dried the meat out too much, regardless of the time/temp cooked.
      – using a mop sauce every half hour or so helped somewhat, but was impossible to get on the bottom where most of the heat hit. Generated a good crust, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. Too dry,
      – wrapping in foil except for the last hour lent too weak a smoke flavor, and we might as well have thrown it in the oven

      Ultimately, while not the way smoking is done traditionally, or even by most commercial smoking outfits here in Texas, I really, really like the results we get. There are 3 terrible things that can be done to meat: Seasoned improperly, cooked to the wrong temperature, and dried out. The foil solved the problems of the last two. I’m not sure exactly how this would translate to an elk leg, but I hope this helps in some way.

  5. So I’m here with my weekly tailgate questions/challenge… This time I thought it might be wiser to post before I try instead of after like my experiment with the Scotch Eggs at the first game…

    This recipe inspired me for my college football tailgate this weekend, but as you can see below I’m almost completely changing everything:

    We are playing Boston College (Eagles as their mascot) so I’m thinking of replacing the venison with lean chicken breasts/strips, wrapped in bacon and cooked on the grill. Out of curiosity, is anyone aware of any kind of marinade that can give chicken a unique or more gamy flavor? I’ll buy all the stuff Friday night after work and do the marinade overnight then do the final prep in the morning before heading out to the tailgate.

    Also, would using chicken and adding the bacon just make this way too fatty? If I sound like a cooking n00b I pretty much am–I don’t cook as a rule except for the occasional grilling out, and the Scotch Eggs from last week are by far the most unusual thing I’ve ever tried. Is there a leaner bird meat to use that might be easily obtainable in the local supermarket (don’t have the budget or much time to go chasing around the meat markets in town for much of anything too exotic).

    Any thoughts would be welcome.

    • You could do Cornish game hens wrapped in bacon! You can usually get them at regular grocery stores, they’re a little more exotic than plain old chicken, and they would be awesome wrapped in bacon. Don’t forget scallops wrapped in bacon if you’re a seafood guy, always good on the grill, and super easy to make!

  6. I’m in MN and my fiance is a regular hunter so always have an abundance of venison in the freezer (well as long as he bags a deer every year) anyway we had what we call “Experiment Dinner Night” which is basically I just invent a recipe based on what I have in the freezer and fridge at the moment.

    I did something similar but I did mine with a larger roast (I think it was a shoulder roast but I can’t recall for certain), around 2 lbs., coated the meat itself with a paste-like mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. I then wrapped the whole thing in some lovely thick cut bacon we had in the fringe, only three of four slices and sprinkled the top of the roast with a bit of coarse ground pepper. I tied up the whole thing with twine. I then filled the bottom of a small casserole dish with quartered onions and garlic with a little olive oil and some chicken stock for moisture but not so much that the roast was touching the liquid. I baked it at a low heat and finished it under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. It turned out lovely, so much so that I wish I had kept track of the exact measurements I did, but I thought I would offer this up. We have venison on a regular basis so I’ve gotten to work with it quite a bit.