STEP 1: Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling to allow the meat to reach room temperature. Also, remove excess fat, as fat causes flare-ups.
STEP 2: Heat grill to 375 degrees. Test with a thermometer, or, if you can hold your hand 1 inch above the grates for only about two seconds, then it’s at the proper temperature.
STEP 3 : Lightly brush canola oil over steak. Place steak on grill. Grill until nut brown, rotating steak to mark. When well marked, turn steak over with tongs. Grill to nut brown, again rotating to mark. Continue grilling to desired doneness.
Try to turn the steak only once, because every time you turn it, the juices retreat to the top and evaporate. Do not puncture meat with a fork, both for food safety reasons and to keep juice in the steak. Because game has no marbling, it should be cooked rare or medium-rare to keep steak from drying out and becoming tough.
Grilled Drunken Venison Chops with Pommes Frites
8 double-cut loin chops (remove sinew from eye of meat)
1 cup Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (reserve remainder of bottle for drinking)
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 Tbs. cracked black pepper
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
2 sprigs thyme, cleaned
1 Tbs. crushed juniper berries
Pinch-plus of Kosher or sea salt
2 cups blended olive/vegetable oil
2-3 Idaho potatoes, washed and sliced lengthwise into 1⁄4-inch wedges and patted dry
1. Whisk together wine, garlic, pepper, olive oil, shallot, thyme and juniper berries for marinade. (Do not include salt!) Place chops and marinade together in large dish, making sure to coat meat thoroughly on all sides. Refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or up to 12 hours, turning meat several times.
2. Preheat grill to ensure that chops will be nicely seared. (The best fire for cooking is natural charcoal, but gas will do.)
3. Wipe excess marinade off chops before placing chops on grill to avoid flare-ups from olive oil (and chipped teeth from juniper berries!). Turn over only once on grill to help get nice grill marks.
4. When you’ve reached your favorite doneness for venison (preferably no more than medium), pull chops from grill. Let rest to set juices (5-8 minutes). Sprinkle with sea salt.
1. Heat oil slowly in deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Look for heat waves rippling across surface oil, or test a small piece of potato before adding all fries. (Oil that is too hot or too cold is your enemy–the ideal temperature is 425 degrees.)
2. Gently add potatoes to oil, browning on all sides to tender inside. Remove to baking screen or cookie sheet with paper towel and salt immediately.
Serve one or two loin chops per person with pommes frites, pour a glass of Stag’s Leap and enjoy!
Note: You can substitute any good-quality Cabernet Sauvignon for the Stag’s Leap in this recipe.