This week's recipe brought to you by:
Annie Weisz with Peak to Plate
You know those backstrap ends that are so small, they're almost impossible to cook properly? Well, I have a solution for you - don't cook them! Ok, hear me out here. When I cut into the backstraps of my whitetail doe, I thought "hey, that looks a lot like ahi tuna." Ever since then, I've been dreaming of making a sashimi style recipe. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait and I would make it a thousand times over again. Yes, it's that good. If you’re into sushi, you’ll love this recipe!
Is it safe to eat raw deer meat?
Well, that depends on your definition of "safe." I feel a heck of a lot better about eating raw venison that only I touched rather than some ahi tuna that came from who knows where and has been sitting in a restaurant cooler for who knows how long. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy sushi and sashimi, but there are risks involved. There are a few questions I'd ask myself before choosing to eat raw venison. If the answer is no to any of the questions below, I wouldn't eat it raw. But even if you answer yes to all the questions below, there is still risk involved with eating raw meat.
- Did the animal appear healthy? This isn't a sure way to know if the meat is safe to eat raw, but it's a good start.
- Did you kill the animal with a clean shot? If you gut-shot the animal, don't eat it raw. The meat could be contaminated with E. coli and other harmful microorganisms.
- Did you butcher the animal safely? Were your knives and cutting boards clean and did you keep the meat cold?
- Did you freeze the meat? Freezing the meat for at least 48 hours (preferably longer) kills parasites that could be in the meat.
What cut of meat should I use for venison sashimi?
I don't know about you, but I have a hard time cooking the small backstrap ends from a deer. They can be so small, that they're easy to overcook! Especially if they came from a smaller animal like a young doe. This makes them the perfect cut to slice into sashimi. If you don't have the backstrap ends, I would use another tender cut from the rest of the backstrap. The tenderloins may also seem like a good choice but the potential for contamination is greater due to their location on the animal. Since you don't have the opportunity to tenderize the meat, it needs to be tender on its own. It also helps to use the meat from a younger animal, if possible.
How do you cut venison for sashimi?
Keeping the meat mostly frozen makes it much easier to get thin slices. The thinner you can slice it, the better. Like I said above, you don't have the opportunity to tenderize the meat. Keeping it as thin as possible will help with the tenderness. I almost always thaw my meat on paper towels, no matter what I'm using it for. The paper towels help soak up the myoglobin that leaches out of the meat due to the freezing and thawing process. This removes off flavors from the meat and keeps it from getting too wet. This is especially important for this recipe because you want the meat to soak up all of that delicious ponzu sauce.
Venison Sashimi with Ponzu and Chili Crisp Recipe
Prep Time: 20 mins
6 oz venison backstrap (preferably from a young doe)
¼ cup ponzu sauce (recipe below)
1 tbsp chili crisp
½ jalapeno, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp bonito flakes
½ lime, zested (other half used in ponzu)
½ mandarin orange, zested (other half used in ponzu)
pickled ginger, for serving on the side
3 tbsp soy sauce (high quality preferred)
1 tsp rice vinegar
½ lime, zested (other half used for garnish)
½ mandarin orange, zested (other half used for garnish)
1 tbsp lime juice (freshly squeezed)
1 tbsp mandarin orange juice (freshly squeezed)
1 tsp sugar
1" piece dried kombu
1 tbsp bonito flakes
- Combine all ingredients in a small glass jar. Refrigerate overnight. Strain out solids and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Note: you can also use store-bought ponzu sauce instead of making your own.
- Thaw meat slightly. It should still be fairly frozen when you slice it. Slice meat against the grain into paper-thin slices. Place slices on a paper towel-lined plate in a single layer. Cover and refrigerate until meat is fully thawed and paper-towels have soaked up some juices from the meat.
- Arrange meat in a single layer on a chilled platter or sushi dish. Pour ponzu sauce over the meat. Arrange chili crisp, jalapeno slices, bonito flakes and lime and orange zest over the meat. Return dish to the fridge for 15-20 minutes to chill completely. Serve with pickled ginger on the side.