Easy Deer Meatballs Recipe

Meatballs Without the Grease

You have the deer meat in the freezer but what can you do with it? Meatballs are an easy recipe that are delicious, fast and can be "re-purposed" into spaghetti, sandwiches or just popped in the microwave for a quick snack. This recipe is for venison but other meats could be substituted. However, for those of you who have found that you can't handle the grease of beef, I highly recommend you try this recipe with venison. I have Crohn's disease and have found that by using venison, and other wild game which is naturally lean meat, I have far fewer issues than with the storebought meat.

Preparation of venison meatballs, or Bambi balls, as we call them here, begins with a pound of ground deer meat. This will make about 20 meatballs.  Be sure it's thawed and then spread it out flat about an inch thick in a large bowl. Then take about a cup of either broken-up croutons or 1/2 a cup of broken up crackers, I like oyster crackers for this. An easy way to break up the croutons or crackers is to put them in a Zip-lock bag and hit the bag with a heavy spoon, you don't want to powder them, leave some larger chunks. You can also use any hard bread, like a french loaf, that's been toasted. Spread the croutons out over the meat and then season with the following:

1 tbsp Paprika

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp dried mustard

1 tbsp sea salt

8-12 grinds of white or black pepper

1/2 tbsp ginger

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp fennel

4 tbsp olive oil

1 egg

Then work everything together by hand until well mixed and let stand for thirty minutes.

Deer meat is very lean and easy to dry out when cooking. This is why I add olive oil directly to the meat. Some people will add pork fat to venison, but personally, one of the reasons my family eats so much venison is because of the low fat nature. You can also leave the egg out if you like, the meatball will still hold its shape very well.

While you have the meat sitting, heat up a skillet over medium-high heat and add a few drizzles of olive oil. I prefer cast-iron for cooking as the heat is so evenly distributed it prevents burning, however any large skillet will do.

While you're waiting for the pan to heat, you can start making the meatball. Don't roll the meat up tight and squash the life out of it, just roll it in your hand so that they're about an inch to an inch and a half thick. Also don't get hung up on them being perfectly round, just get them together so they can be picked up without falling apart.

Once the skillet is heated up, start adding the meat balls leaving a couple of inches between each one. Cooking times will of course vary but I usually roll them three times, about 4-5 minutes apart while cooking uncovered.

About two or three minutes before you are ready to remove them from the heat, put about 1/2 a tbsp of sweet and sour sauce on each one for a nice glaze.

One of the great things about deer meat is the fact that it's not greasy so there's not really a need to put them on a rack or towels after cooking. Just plate with your favorite sides, keep a little sweet and sour sauce handy for dipping, and enjoy!

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