Early this fall, before the trees were unbuttoning their leaves and sending them sailing in the breeze, I came across a piece of top round venison in the freezer at my brother’s. It was a big, handsome-looking steak from last year’s harvest. Knowing he would need to make room for the promise of this season’s bounty, Randy was generous in his offer to let me take it off his hands—but challenged me to try something new. The result? A sweet maple-seasoned marinade that produced not only a cast-iron seared, caramelized crust on a butter-tender, eye-popping, sub-primal cut of venison, but also an epiphany for my savory-prone taste buds. This recipe is equally suited for other species, particularly big game like moose, elk, bison, and antelope. Here’s how to make it.