Jeff Benda
No Meat Meals

Cast Iron Venison Steak

Serves 5

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

This Friday is a solemnity, so we have a special no meat meal!

There is no such thing as a perfect steak! But I honestly prefer a lean and protein-packed cut of venison cooked in a cast-iron skillet. Cast iron cooking a beautiful cut of venison steak is a true delicacy. The rich and gamey taste is impossible for me to resist. In this easy-to-follow recipe, I’ll teach you how to prepare, season, and cook it properly so you’ll sink your teeth into a tender and delicious venison steak that’s extremely healthy and bursting with flavor. The combination of meat, heat and cast-iron produces a beautiful crust and a juicy steak – no rubbing, marinading, or grilling required.

If you are getting together with family this weekend, this is a perfect Easter Sunday recipe. Why stick with the same old ham and scalloped potatoes when you can share some of the wild game in your freezer. I love grilling steaks out on the patio as much as the next person, but if you are part of the Midwest living crowd, you might be in the path of another giant “winter” storm like we are. If we get another two feet of snow like they are expecting, I won’t be doing any outdoor cooking like I wanted. So let’s fire up our stovetops, grab our aprons, and let’s get ready to enjoy a wild game meal for any occasion – from weeknight dinners to special celebrations!


  • 2 pounds venison loin, about 2-inches thick
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme


  1. Place the steak on a cutting board and tenderize using a Jaccard meat tenderizer.
  2. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and then let the steak sit on a plate at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will help it cook more evenly.
  3. Pat the meat dry again with paper towels if necessary, and then season both sides of the steak generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and place a large cast iron skillet in the oven for about 5 minutes until it’s smoking hot. Turn on a stovetop burner to medium-high heat.
  5. Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the hot cast iron skillet from the oven and place it on the hot stovetop burner. Add the canola oil to the skillet, carefully swirl it around to coat the pan, and then add the venison steak.
  6. Let steak sizzle for about 2 minutes, then use tongs to flip it over and cook about 2 more minutes. Press down gently to ensure even contact between steak and pan. When the steak has developed a dark brown crust on both sides, add the butter, garlic, and thyme to the skillet and immediately transfer the skillet to the oven.
  7. After 3 minutes, use an instant-read thermometer to insert into side of steak to check the internal temperature. For medium-rare meat, 125 to 130 degrees is ideal. Keep checking the steak every 90 seconds until you reach the proper temperature.
  8. Once you’ve reached a perfect medium-rare temperature, remove the steak and transfer it to a cutting board and tent lightly with foil. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. The steak will continue cooking after being removed from heat.
  9. Serve in 6-ounce pieces or thinly slice with a sharp knife, cutting away from your body and with the top edge of the knife leaning toward your body. Make sure to slice across the grain of the meat.
  10. Serve immediately with your favorite sides such as French Fries, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, or asparagus.