My wife was raised in the south and she still enjoys some good southern comfort food. Since we only eat wild protein, I’ve had to adapt some southern classics to fit our venison-rich diet. Country fried steaks are one of her favorite meals and it wasn’t hard to come up a venison version of them. Our kids love it too and this trophy meal has become a regular in our household dinner rotation. “Backcountry Fried Steak” is easy to make with just about any horned or antlered game. You can use steaks cut from backstraps and the round or sirloin roast found on the hindquarter. I’ve also used breast fillets from grouse, pheasant, and wild turkeys.
Backcountry Fried Steak Recipe
1-2 lbs venison steaks for 4-6 people
1 cup flour
1 cup panko crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup game stock or water
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Start by cutting your meat into 6-8 steaks about ½ an inch thick. Next, you’ll need to pound each steak down to half that thickness. Place individual steaks on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and pound with a meat hammer until ¼ inch thick. In a casserole dish or bowl, cover steaks with buttermilk and let chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
While the steaks chill, make your gravy. Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour a couple tablespoons at a time and mix to make a thick roux. Add salt and pepper. Next, slowly add milk and stir as you go. Add water until the gravy reaches your desired consistency. Turn heat to low and keep gravy warm while you cook the steaks.
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and shake off excess buttermilk. One at a time, dredge steaks in seasoned flour. You can do this in a one-gallon Zip-Loc or on a plate. Shake excess flour from steaks and coat in a mixture of beaten egg and water. Now dredge each steak in panko crumbs.
Place a couple of steaks at a time in an iron skillet filled with about ¼ inch of peanut preheated to about 350-375 degrees. Don’t overcrowd the skillet. Each steak should cook quickly. Fry 3-4 minutes one side, flip and fry 1-2 minutes on the other. You want a crispy, golden brown coating but be careful not to overcook the meat. Keep an eye on your cooking temperature and lower it if you notice the breading turning dark brown. If you are making a large batch, you may need to add a little oil throughout the cooking process. Shake excess oil from each steak, add a touch of salt, and put into the warm oven on a wire rack.
When it’s time to eat, drizzle a generous amount of gravy on each steak. Serve with mashed potatoes, and sauteed brussel sprouts or steamed green beans. Finish up with a slice of pecan pie for a true, southern wild game meal.
Brody Henderson is a hunter, fly fishing guide, writer, wilderness production assistant for the MeatEater television show and MeatEater‘s Community Manager