We all know the best deer steaks are cooked over an open flame, but sometimes that's just not practical. If you run out of briquettes (or, shudder, propane) or it's just too cold outside to stand over the grill, this super-simple technique turns out perfectly cooked, killer tasting deer steaks right out of the oven.
There are two requirements to this recipe. First, you need a heavy oven-proof pan, preferably cast iron. You also need thick-cut deer steaks. An inch is best, though you might be able to get away with 1/2-inch cuts if you're careful. Any thinner and the steaks cook so quickly you might as well skip the oven step and transfer them directly from pan to plate after searing. If you're still with me, here are six steps to cooking the perfect deer steak in the oven.
1. About an hour before you plan on eating, pull the deer steak from the fridge and let it rest on the counter until it comes up to room temperature.
2. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven and set the temperature to 450°.
3. Using a paper towel, blot any surface moisture and blood off steak. Rub both sides with canola or vegetable oil. Sprinkle heavily with salt and cracked pepper, pressing the seasonings into the meat with your hand.
4. When the oven comes up to temperature, carefully remove the hot pan to a stovetop burner set to medium-high.
5. Place the steak in the pan and sear one side quickly, no more than 30 seconds. Flip the steak and transfer the pan back into the oven. Cook about two minutes per side for medium rare, but no longer than 3 minutes per side.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the steak to a plate. Let the meat rest for about five minutes before slicing. Use this time to deglaze the pan with a little red wine or stock to make a quick, easy pan sauce.