Venison Stew

Chef's notes:

Being a country boy, I grew up eating a lot of venison. There are many ways to cook venison, but I was never really a fan of any of them until I got a little older. Venison is a very strongly flavored meat and to a child these flavors can be quite overwhelming. Of course we were eating middle to late-aged whitetail deer, which could have also contributed to my dislike. Younger deer, as with all animals, taste better. This is something I now take into account when I draw a bead on a whitetail. I think to myself, “I wonder how this one will taste?” If the answer is “delicious,” then well you know – click click pow.


  • 2 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 2 pounds venison, cubed
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 carrots, coined
  • 4 red potatoes, quartered, peeled if you want
  • 8–10 mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 4 cups water or other stock

Venison Stew Recipe: Stewed with Potato, Mushroom, Bacon, Onion, Celery, Carrot, and Herbs in Beef Stock

  1. Acquire some venison. If you have the ability and/or resources, I recommend you acquire your own venison meat. If you’re unfamiliar with hunting, you should find a teacher or guide. Otherwise you can buy it from a specialty store or co-op. Venison is raised commercially in Australia as well as in the U.S.
  2. Prep the ingredients for the venison stew. Trim the venison of any fat or connective tissue before cutting it into cubes. That stuff needs to be removed because it does not taste very good. Use a fillet knife or boning knife to remove the silverskin and other connective tissue. Cut up the rest of the stew ingredients and put them into bowls.
  3. Brown the venison in the bacon fat. Venison is a very lean meat so we use a bit more fat than usual when cooking it. I like to use bacon fat for frying it. If you don’t have any, use butter or olive oil in its place. Heat up the pan over medium-high heat and melt your lard, butter, or oil in the pan. Once the pan is up to heat, season the venison with salt and pepper and fry it until it’s a nice brown color.
  4. Add the butter, onions, and celery to the meat. First, melt the two tablespoons of butter in the pan with meat. Then add the onions and celery. Yes, it is a lot of onion, but it will also cook down a lot. Once the onion reduces itself by at least two-thirds, you may begin adding the other stuff.
  5. Put the rest of the ingredients in the pot and stew it. Add enough water so the stew is soupy and watery. This will make it easier for the ingredients to cook and the water will evaporate as it stews. If you need to stew it longer, you can add more water. If it’s done stewing but there is too much liquid, you can thicken it with a roux, arrowroot, or gelatin. Stew it covered on medium-low heat. Don’t stir it too much. Once all the ingredients are tender and delicious, 1–2 hours, it’s time to eat.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you are having trouble finding venison, try using elk, bison, lamb, or beef.
  • Make sure you trim off any fat or connective tissue before you cook the venison.
  • If you have a choice as to what type of venison to use always go for young venison. It’s the best. Also, red deer are less gamey than whitetail—if that matters to you.
  • This stew is very simple and yet it tastes really good because we are using good ingredients. One thing that is going to make a huge difference is using your own homemade beef stock. Seriously, it makes a big difference.
  • Remember, don’t stir the stew too much.
  • If you use store-bought stock you will almost certainly have to add a thickener of some sort, like a roux.
  • If your stew isn’t thickening up, try adding a roux, potato starch, arrowroot, or some other sort of thickener a little at a time. Otherwise use a starchier potato next time.
  • I think a cup of dark beer would have also been good in this stew. Or you could just drink it while eating it.