There are all kinds of tasty ways to cook venison, but many think the choice cuts of deer steak are best when prepared as simply as possible. These thin steaks were seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then cooked in butter. Served with a kale salad and some organic carrots, they made a fine meal. Credit: John Holyoke / BDN

Before we get started, let’s get one thing straight: Many Mainers will read this headline, see the word “venison,” and start firing off comments about how the BDN has gone all uppity, and has lost sight of its roots. Those commenters will tell us (again) that real Mainers don’t use the V-word. Instead, they’ll insist, what we really meant to say was “deer meat.”

If you’re among those who’ve stated that preference to me — forcefully — in the past, you win. Almost. For the rest of this story, I won’t use the V-word once. I promise. From here on out, we’ll only talk about good old-fashioned deer meat recipes.

Personally, I don’t think the phrase “deer meat” rolls off the tongue as smoothly as the V-word does, but who am I to judge? I’ve never actually tagged a deer, and the only V-word-steaks I ever get to cook are the ones that someone donates to me out of the goodness of their heart.

Either way, I’m eager to hear how you like to cook up your deer meat. Do you fry it in a cast iron pan, old-school-style, with just butter and salt and pepper? Do you have more elaborate ways to prepare it? Stews? Casseroles? Mincemeat? Or do you can it and store it away for later?

Whatever you do, we want to hear about it. More importantly, so do your fellow BDN readers. You’re welcome to email your responses if you like, but we’d rather you just comment at the bottom of this story. That way, all of your fellow readers can add their own input, and we can sit around our own collective wood stoves and have a conversation about the matter.

One of my editors observed that when he was growing up, it seemed like the most common way to cook wild game meat was to find a way that disguised the fact that it actually came from wild game. Grinding it up like burger meat or turning it into sausage were the favorite methods, but stews and sauces were also useful in that regard.

Maybe you go about things differently. Perhaps you truly love the taste of wild game, with no trickery involved. And maybe you’ll pass along your favorite ven … I mean, deer meat recipe.

I’m eager to hear what you come up with. And so are your fellow BDN readers.

Got a deer story to tell? You can send it to us at

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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...