Chili Rubbed Venison Steak Recipe

Have you ever tried to make flash-seared, fajita-style rubbed meat with deer, but found that the texture didn’t come out quite right? This recipe will show you how to take a roast and turn it into thin slices of tender meat, just like your favorite Mexican restaurant does.

The trick to getting that melt-in-your-mouth effect is using the right cut of meat. I use the top round because it has a long grainline and is very tender. Instead of cutting into individual steaks, I cut it in half lengthwise to get wide, flat pieces. It bears the closest resemblance to flank steak from a cow.

With a generous coating of this simple chili rub and a quick sear over high heat, you can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes. Serve it with the grilled corn salsa in tortillas, or on top of toasted bread for a steak sandwich.

Serving size

4

Time to make

45 minutes

Ingredients

1 whole venison top round (also called inside round)
1 tbsp. kosher or sea salt
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. chili powder
Lime wedges
Oil for cooking

Corn salsa
3 corn on the cob ears, with husks
2 poblano chiles
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
¼ red onion, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp. oil
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Also works with

Any ungulate

Special equipment

Grill and meat mallet

Method

1
  1. Using a sharp knife, trim off all the silverskin and cut the top round in half lengthwise so you’re left with two flat pieces. If you don’t have the roast whole, you can substitute with the backstrap. However, it won’t have the same texture when cooked.
  2. Even out the thickness of the meat by pounding it flat with a meat mallet. You want it to be about 1 inch thick.
  3. Combine the salt, brown sugar, and chili powder together. Rub this mixture over both sides of the meat to cover. You can cook right away or let it rest in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  4. Heat a grill over high heat. If applying the meat directly to the grill, coat the meat with oil first. Otherwise, use a large cast iron skillet and place a tablespoon of oil directly in the pan once it’s hot. Sear the meat for roughly 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Remove and let it rest before cutting.
  5. Slice the steaks thin, against the grain, and serve with lime wedges and corn salsa.

Corn salsa

  1. Preheat a grill over high heat. Place the poblanos directly over the flames to blacken. Use tongs to rotate periodically so that they char all the way around. Remove and let cool. Once cool to the touch, peel away the charred skin and discard the stem and seeds. Roughly chop the roasted poblanos and place in a large bowl.
  2. Soak each corn ear in water for a minute to absorb moisture. Place the corn on the grill with the husks still on, away from flames for indirect heat. Cook for about 10 minutes to let the corn steam within. Remove from the grill and let the corn cool to the touch. Remove the husk and the silk. Season the corn with oil, salt, and pepper. Place them back on the grill and rotate so that they char on all sides. Use a knife to cut the kernels away from the cob and add to the bowl with poblanos.
  3. Mix the jalapeños, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and oil into the bowl with corn. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and extra lime juice if needed. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will keep for a few days.

Serving size

4

Time to make

45 minutes

Ingredients

1 whole venison top round (also called inside round)
1 tbsp. kosher or sea salt
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. chili powder
Lime wedges
Oil for cooking

Corn salsa
3 corn on the cob ears, with husks
2 poblano chiles
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
¼ red onion, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp. oil
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Also works with

Any ungulate

Special equipment

Grill and meat mallet