How to Prepare Salt-Brined Venison

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You don't have many options for flavoring and tenderizing venison. Sure, you can smother it in a spice rub or let it bathe in a marinade for a few hours -- if you only want to season and tenderize the surface. Salt brines, on the other hand, season and tenderize venison almost to the center of the cut -- not through contact, but through diffusion and osmosis, or the absorption and exchange of liquid.

How to Prepare Salt-Brined Venison
(Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Kosher salt
  • Aromatic ingredients, such as spices
Step 1

Heat a 16-to-1 ratio of water to kosher salt, or 1 cup of salt for every gallon of water, on the stove until it dissolves. Chill the venison in the refrigerator until needed.

Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media
Step 2

Add aromatic ingredients to the brine. To temper venison's gamey, feral taste, use a standard game-meat combination of 1 or 2 bay leaves, a few black peppercorns, celery seeds, mustard seeds, hot pepper seeds and juniper berries. Add additional ingredients, such as garlic and onions, if desired.

Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media
Step 3

Bring the brine to a boil and take it off the heat; let the brine cool to room temperature.

Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media
Step 4

Set the venison in an airtight food container. Pour the cooled brine over the venison until it's covered by at least 1 inch. If the venison floats, set a plate on it to keep it down.

Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media
Step 5

Brine the venison in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours per pound, not to exceed 24 hours. Turn the venison over halfway through brining.

Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media
Step 6

Rinse the venison when you finish brining it and pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.

Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media
Step 7

Rest the venison uncovered for 24 hours in a shallow dish in the refrigerator. The sodium in the meat equalizes during the rest period.

Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media

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