5 Best Venison Marinades to Please Your Taste Buds



By now, you may have received your venison back from the butcher, and perhaps you’re debating how you should cook that first meal from your harvest. Maybe you want to get a little extravagant and try something new, or just go with a classic recipe because you know it tastes good every.single.time.

Whichever side of the fence you’re on, I’ve included five venison marinades below that I’ve experimented with in the past, and I stand by each one. Give them a shot this fall, and let me know what’s cooking!

Italian Dressing

This tried and true classic never fails to improve the flavor of most meats, and you bet it does the same to your favorite cuts of venison, too! Let it sit over night, or just an hour makes a huge difference. And you can even make your own if you prefer. Just toss the following ingredients into a bowl or mason jar:

  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic – mashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (you can use oregano if you’re in a pinch)

Then, you’ll want to emulsify the marinade, which sounds exciting but you’re just shaking the jar until it’s mixed together. You can also just whisk it in the bowl if you went that route.

South Carolina BBQ

This is a great BBQ sauce to try in lieu of a red sauce, and there’s even a similar recipe to use when cooking roasts. Even if you’re partial to other styles of BBQ, I promise this one will change your mind:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ onion, grated
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste

For cooking a venison roast with a South Carolina twist, first place the meat in a crock pot. Then add a packet of onion soup mix, a packet of ranch mix (like Hidden Valley), 8 pepperoncini peppers and some juice from the peppers. Cook on low 10 hours.

Carne Asada

I wrote about some delicious carne asada tacos I was cooking up all summer long, but this recipe takes it to the next level. If you have a taco lover in your home, this is going to become an instant favorite. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • You can also throw in a shot of tequila if you feel like getting crazy


This one is right up there with Italian dressing in terms of classic marinades. You CAN use a store-bought version, but I’ve found them to be too sweet and just not quite right. The high heat of cooking leaves an off-putting flavor, not to mention what it does to a fry pan or grill grates. This is a good Asian inspired marinade that adds great flavor when you’re looking for something new to please your taste buds:

  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup mirin, a Japanese sweet wine
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sugar

Red Wine (editor’s choice)

Red wine pairs perfectly with game meats, and boy does a backstrap love to soak in a bath of wine for a few hours! This recipe is delicious, unexpected, and adds a nice earthy, fall season tang to your meat. It’s my personal favorite at the moment, and earns ‘editor’s choice’ for a reason.

  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of allspice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Marinade Essentials

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