Venison Loin Bulgogi Pot Stickers
By Paul Rhoades
Makes 8 to 12 Pot Stickets
Inactive time: 48 hours
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
As a chef and avid outdoorsman, I always try to find new and creative ways to enjoy and honor my harvested meat. I like to come up with not so traditional ways of cooking venison. I can’t just wrap it in bacon and grill it or turn it all into ground meat. There are so many other options that should be explored when it comes to cooking venison and wild game in general.
Whitetail deer has truly grown on me over the years. Growing up hunting mule deer and antelope, I never had the opportunity to hunt whitetail as a kid. I didn’t start hunting them until I moved to the east coast back in 2004. Let me tell you, that was a learning curve. I got busted a lot! It took me the good part of about 3 years to really understand what I was doing in the woods and have my first successful harvest of a whitetail.
I have a lot of great memories from hunting whitetail deer since 2004, but one of my favorite hunts was a recent trip to Michigan with my buddy Sean (when I harvest the deer pictured above). We had been talking about me going up there to hunt with him for about 5 years until I was finally able to step away and make it happen.
The trip started off pretty rocky. I was scheduled to fly out at 7am, but I overslept, which caused me to miss my flight. Luckily, I was able to get the flight refunded and decided to drive. Which worked out much better anyway. As I was driving up there, Sean had harvested a nice buck during his evening sit. Because of that, he was tagged out with his buck so he was able to be on doe patrol while I hunted for my buck.
With only two days left to seal the deal, we put up an elevated blind in the lower part of the property and hunted it that evening. Movement was slow at first, but Sean spotted a nice buck in the brush about 100 yards into the neighboring property. We started running the bleat call and grunt combo, and after about 30 minutes the buck came in like he was on a string. I was able to harvest him at 30 yards. Everything worked out like you would hope for. With my buck down I had one more morning to shoot a doe – and I was successful. I was able to drive home with a great story and a cooler full of venison. I will always remember that hunt.
One thing about Michigan deer is that they are much bigger than North Carolina deer. Which is great because you get more meat. The flavor is a little different because of their diet up north, but still delicious. Though elk and antelope are still my top wild game meat choices, whitetail comes in at a solid number #3. If processed and prepared properly, the meat has a clean and rich flavor. The meat is also tender and very versatile to work with.
With this recipe I wanted to step outside of my normal cooking comfort zone. I usually migrate to Mexican, Mediterranean, French, Italian, or traditional American style cuisines. I don’t normally do much with Asian cuisines, so I really wanted to make something that complemented the venison, but also able to showcase the bold umami flavors of Asian cuisine.
These pot stickers are light, crunchy, and full of flavor. They are a perfect addition to any dinner table. They are fun to make with your kids as well. My kids loved rolling them out, stuffing, and sealing the dough. I am sure your children will enjoy doing the same. I hope you enjoy the recipe this holiday season. I will be adding this to my Christmas dinner table this year so I can add a little extra variety to our holiday spread. Cheers!!
Venison Loin Bulgogi Ingredients
- 12 ounces venison loin (backstrap)
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1 orange
- 1/4 cup less sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Korean corn syrup or honey
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 ounce minced ginger (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sliced green onions
Venison Loin Bulgogi Instructions
- Place all ingredients in a large Ziplock bag and mix well, massaging the marinade into the meat. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
- Remove the venison loin from the refrigerator and heat your grill.
- Reserve 1 cup of the marinade and transfer to a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a rolling boil for 90 seconds. (This will prevent any contamination and will make it safe to use before basting the meat while grilling.)
- Grill the venison loin, using the hot marinade to baste the loin as it cooks. This helps with caramelization. I recommend cooking the venison loin to a medium internal temperature.
- Let the meat rest and cool on a cutting board until it is safe to handle. Then, using a sharp knife, finely mince the venison loin.
Pot Sticker Filling Ingredients
- 12 ounces minced venison bulgogi (see recipe for Venison Loin Bulgogi)
- 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, minced
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced
- 3/4 cup cabbage, minced
- 1/4 cup green onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
Pot Sticker Filling Instructions
- In a large bowl, combine the minced venison and minced vegetables. Add the chili flakes, soy sauce and sesame oil and mix well. Note: I found that smashing the mix with your hands is the best way to incorporate the flavors and get the proper consistency.
- Place the mixture in the refrigerator while you make the dumplings.
- 1 3/4 cups bread flour + extra if needed
- 1/2 cup water
- Place flour in a mixing bowl and add water. Knead the dough until it forms. The dough should be firm and able to be pulled from the bowl easily. It should not be sticky or crumply. Note: Don’t be afraid to add a little more flour if the dough is to sticky.
- When dough is formed – flour down your work surface and knead until smooth – about 5 minutes. Once kneaded, place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, allowing for the dough to soften.
Dipping Sauce Ingredients
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon minced green onions
Dipping Sauce Instructions
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Set aside until ready to serve with pot stickers.
Pot Sticker Assembly Instructions
- After resting the dough, separate the dough into 8 to 12 equal pieces and roll each piece out into equal sized rounds.
- Fill each round with some of the potsticker filling.
- Take a little water and run it along the edge of half of each dumpling, then fold the dumpling over the potsticker filling, pressing the dry side with the wet side to seal the dumpling. Make sure to push out all the air from the center before sealing it completely. You will have excess dough on each side of the dumpling that look similar to wings. You can either leave it as is or curl them in to touch each other and press together making a round dumpling.
- Now it’s time to fry them! Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a sauté pan or wok. Place dumplings top side down and let sauté until golden brown. Turn them over and repeat on the other side. Once both sides are golden brown and crispy, carefully add 1/4 cup water, cover with a lid, and steam them for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove lid, plate, and serve with the dipping sauce.