Smoked venison (deep red) and pork (foreground) kielbasa make for a tasty finger food. Credit: Kevin Bennett

We’re getting to the point in deer season when the state’s top question — “Get your deer yet?” — is being answered in the affirmative much more often. In fact, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 19,801 deer have been tagged thus far, with nearly two weeks of the regular firearms season remaining.

With all that meat in the freezer, it seems another question is in order: How do you like to cook up your deer meat?

That’s right. We’re looking for some culinary options, and we’re hoping some of our more creative readers have some ideas we might not have thought of.

Please note that I’m using the words “deer meat” and “venison” interchangeably. Hopefully that will satisfy the angry reader who reached out a few years back to share his opinion that using the word “venison” was just plain uppity, and proved that I was “from away.”

Any true Mainer, he told me, would have simply said “deer meat.”

So, though I grew up here and though generations of my family have lived in Brewer since the late 1700s, I’ve decided that arguing over the words we use to describe a delicious meal makes no sense at all. Therefore, I’m looking for any recipe you’re willing to pass along.

If it calls for venison, I’ll understand. And if it calls for good ol’ deer meat, I’ll start cooking (as long as I can get a donation from one of you hunters who has already tagged out).

Otherwise, I’ll be left cooking up moose, and pretending it’s venison. Or deer meat.

Some hunters opt for simplicity, and say that there’s nothing better than a deer steak cooked in a cast iron pan, with nothing but butter, salt and pepper to season it.

Others are much more adventurous. Either way, we want to see what’s on your menu.

Please feel free to send your recipes to me at If you took the recipe from another source, be sure to credit it. I hope to offer up some of your suggestions in a future story.

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...