Recipe: Venison Buffalo Bites With Raspberry Rocket-Pop Drizzle
This year, get away from the usual burgers and dogs and bring some venison to the table
When it comes to deciding what to grill for the 4th of July, it’s usually a no-brainer: burgers, brats, and dogs. But what about your guests who are tired of the same-old menu, year after year? Independence Day is not a day to rest on one’s grilling laurels. If you’re the type to always pick out something new and exciting at the fireworks stand, chances are you’re open to a fresh idea for what to put over the fire.
After dogs and burgers, the next most-American menu item has to be buffalo sauce. Any worthwhile restaurant/bar in America has some form of buffalo-sauced dish on their menu—usually wings. With this recipe, we are using venison chunks instead of chicken wings, and making a sweet raspberry sauce to go with them.
This recipe is incredibly simple because on the 4th you should be relaxing versus working in the kitchen or manning a fire. If you don’t have any venison and want to make this with upland game or wild turkey, you can do just that. Just make sure to cook breast meat to 155, and legs and wings closer to 180. You can also use beef for this. Top-round chunks should work best.
- 2-pound venison roast or backstrap, cut into 1-inch-by-1-inch chunks
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Sunflower or peanut (or similar high-heat) cooking oil
- 1 cup Frank’s RedHot
- 1 tablespoon pureed chipotle in adobo sauce (more if you want spicier)
- 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
Raspberry Rocket-Pop Drizzle
- 6 ounces fresh raspberries
- 1/4 cup Bonne Maman (or another brand) raspberry preserves
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 ounce fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Bleu cheese crumbles
- Fresh basil, cut chiffonade
Cut 1-inch-by-1-inch venison chunks from a hindquarter roast (either sirloin tip, top or bottom round, ideally not eye of round) or even backstrap. You could use chunks from the front quarter or neck or even trim, but you’ll likely find, even when cooked to medium, those pieces will be a bit chewier. Lightly salt and pepper (coarse, freshly cracked black pepper is best here). Let the chunks sit in the fridge overnight.
Before cooking, pull the venison chunks and lightly dab off excess juices with a paper towel, to help the meat sear better. Allow the chunks to sit out at room temp for a half hour.
To make the buffalo sauce, puree a small can of chipotles in adobe sauce. In a medium saucepan on low, add Frank’s RedHot sauce and freshly minced garlic along with 1 tablespoon of pureed chipotle. You can indeed add more chipotle if you’d like, but I’d recommend taste-testing the sauce first before doing so. Once the sauce is warm, gradually stir in the butter. Let the saucepan sit on very low until ready to serve.
To make the raspberry drizzle, puree all ingredients and add to a squeeze bottle, if possible, and let it sit in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. The drizzle is indeed sweet, and you may want to serve it on the side for dipping versus overtop of the bites. Some folks may just want the heat and no sweet, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
To cook venison chunks, heat a (preferably cast-iron or mild steel) skillet or flat top on high heat, around 600 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a grill with a narrow-enough grate so chunks won’t fall through, you could grill them as long as it can get up to 600 degrees. Don’t crowd the skillet, flat top, or grill.
Rub a very, very thin layer of cooking oil over the chunks and add to the skillet. Sear each side for approximately 30 seconds, just enough to add a crust. You want that hearty sear, a caramelized exterior, on all sides, ideally. Err on the side of undercooking, them, as they’ll continue to cook as they rest.
Allow the chunks to rest in a large bowl for 5-10 minutes. Add the buffalo sauce after resting and serve immediately with crumbles of bleu cheese overtop. Fresh basil, as a garnish, is optional. And it’s your call whether you want to drizzle the raspberry sauce over top or serve on the side.