Got venison? Now is the time to feast

Luke Clayton
Chicken fried venison is possibly the favorite method of putting venison steaks to use. Luke prepared this platter of steak using a method he’s perfected through the years.

Deer season is well underway and I’m betting many of you have a freezer full of venison. What would you think is the most popular method of cooking venison?

Maybe chicken fried steak?

I’m betting the old standard fried backstrap or ham steak is very high on the list. I’ve enjoyed chicken fried venison since childhood and thought I’d share with you my method of preparing it.

 It’s important to keep in mind that venison is a very dry meat and what fat the steaks have should be trimmed away. Pork or beef fat is a good thing that adds to the meats flavor but venison fat must be trimmed otherwise the “off” or gamey flavor that some associate with improperly prepared venison.

 Both the backstraps and cuts from the upper hams make excellent chicken fried steak. Make sure and trim all the connective tissue from the hams as well as fat. When sliced fairly thin, most backstrap steaks are very tender but ham steaks might require some additional tenderizing with a meat hammer or tenderizing machine.

 Once the steaks are cut and trimmed, I dust them liberally with my favorite dry seasonings. This can be anything from salt and pepper to a prepared dry mix. We love garlic and I always use a garlic based blend or add additional granulated garlic to the steaks.

 In order for the flour to adhere to the meat, I sprinkle a liberal amount of Louisiana hot sauce on the steaks and allow them to marinate with the dry seasonings and liquid sauce for a few hours or overnight. Most cooks use milk instead of the hot sauce but I’ve found the hot sauce adds a little extra flavor. 

 I fry my venison is a cast iron skillet with lid. About an inch of cooking oil is all that’s needed; heat it until a fit of flour sizzled when sprinkled into the skillet. Make sure the steaks are moist. If they aren’t, sprinkle a bit more Louisiana hot sauce on them and coat thoroughly with flour. I press the steaks into the flour to make sure they are well coated. Drop the battered fillets into the hot oil but don't overcrowd them.  Allow them to fry about four or five minutes on each side. If using tougher ham steaks, place a lid on the skillet for a few minutes to help tenderize them but keep the heat at least at medium, otherwise the batter will separate from the meat.

When the steaks are crispy around the edges and golden brown, remove them from the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Drain all but a couple tablespoons of oil from the skillet and leave all the bits of crispy flour in the skillet. Why not reserve some of these steaks as chicken fried steak and smother the rest?

 Into the small amount of oil, add about 3 tablespoons of flour and brown, stirring continually to avoid scorching. Pour a little milk into the skillet and incorporate with the flour, oil and crispy bits of flour. Toss in a handful of chopped onion, add more milk and stir continuously until you have gravy. Now, add some of the chicken fried steak fillets and possibly a bit more milk or water; you don’t want the gravy to stick to the skillet. Turn the heat to low, place the lid on the skillet and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll probably want to season with a bit more black pepper and salt to taste.

 Cook a pot of rice and you will have the bases covered with TWO meat dishes prepared simultaneously. Your guests that desire chicken fried venison steak can put a little of the gravy on their steaks or use a steak sauce. Those that prefer smothered steak with rice should also be happy!  

 New product keeps waterfowlers dry and safe

I remember a few years ago when I shot a mallard drake that fell in some six inch deep water with what appeared to be adjacent solid ground. I stepped out onto the “solid” ground and promptly sunk to my waist. I was wearing heavy insulated waders with heavy boots.

Without my shotgun to use to drag myself out of the muck, I would have been in dire straits. I knew then there had to be a better and safer way to stay dry when duck hunting.

There is. I recently discovered the only dry suit made for hunting. The full body suit, made by Predator Gear, is made from four layers of waterproof breathable polyester laminate in Mossy Oak camo patterns. With neoprene neck seal and latex wrist seals, only the hunter’s hands and head are exposed. Stocking foot waders with soles are slipped on over the sealed feet of the suit. These dry suits are not cheap but when compared to the price of purchasing waders, footwear and insulated clothing, I consider them a bargain. Check them out at

Striper bite steady at Texoma

Guide Larry Sparks rates striper fishing as excellent with lots of schooling activity. Live shad fished along the submerged river ledges is a very productive method of catching easy limits on most days. The artificial bite using Sassy Shad under gulls kicked off a couple weeks ago when dropping water temperatures triggered the annual fall feeding frenzy. Now is the time of year many striper anglers eagerly await. For more information on fishing at Texoma, give Guide Larry Sparks a call at 580-916-2293 or visit the web site

Listen to Outdoors with Luke Clayton each week on radio stations from Nebraska to Texas.