Venison Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes are a great combination of burger and cheesesteak, with loads of flavor in every bite. Get your napkins ready!
If you asked me five years ago if I would ever eat game meat, I would tell you that you were insane. My parents are from Trinidad and I grew up a city girl, so it was never even a consideration.
About three years ago, Bob convinced me to try a bison burger at The Garage, one of our favorite restaurants in Stillwater. I was very hesitant, but he assured me that I would like it. He was right, and now bison is the only burger I order there. A few months later at a tailgate, Bob’s mom made chili. After I ate a bowl and said I really liked it, they told me it was venison.
GAME MEAT RECIPES IN MY KITCHEN? YOU KNOW IT!
Two years ago Reilly founded Hero Outdoor Products. Never in a million years did I think I’d ever be remotely involved with a hunting/outdoors company. But I worked a couple of trade shows, learned more about hunting in general, met some great people and completely changed my tune. Reilly then recommended that I make game meat recipes to expand my niche. Eating game meat is one thing, making it myself is a completely different ball game. After a lot of hesitation, I gave in and made Venison Cheeseburgers with Jalapeno & Guacamole…and they were absolutely fabulous. Of course, I immediately planned to make game meat recipes at least once a month. Of course, that never happened.
I recently decided to finally get back on the ball with game meat recipes. I wanted something simple, and something that would come together pretty quickly for lunch or dinner. And that’s how Venison Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes was born
I mean, seriously…how good does this look?! It’s a burger, a cheesesteak, and sloppy joe all in one. There is so much delicious flavor in every single bite. And if you didn’t know it was venison in the beginning, you won’t know it’s venison as you eat. Every time I make these Venison Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes I have to stop myself from eating it straight from the skillet. I’ve tried several different buns…to me the soft, buttery Brioche works best. But let’s be honest. If you don’t have burger buns, and just want to eat a bowl of Venison Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes, go right ahead. Or, make a big batch for a crowd and do them as sliders.
Traditional sloppy joes use ground beef, so venison is an easy substitute. I found both venison and elk meats at Sprouts Farmer’s Market in the frozen meat section. I’m sure other grocery stores carry it as well. Of course, if you know a hunter, they can get you as much venison as you need.
HOW TO PROPERLY FLAVOR VENISON
Game meat is extremely lean, which means it’s healthier than regular beef. But that also means it needs help from proper seasoning and added fat.
- Worchestershire Sauce. This is one of those sauces that I don’t know exactly what’s in it, but I really like the flavor. And if you don’t add the sauce when a recipe calls for it, the recipe won’t taste the same.
- Cooked bacon: I use thick-cut bacon, and cut it into very small pieces. I also add just a little bit of the bacon fat
- Fresh parsley: I use fresh herbs as often as I can, and parsley adds a really nice fresh flavor to the meat
- Salt, pepper, fresh onion, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder
Normally, I would add in the onion and garlic with the venison while it rests. However, for these Venison Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes I omit the garlic and cook the onions separately.
After the venison mixture rests for about 30 minutes, it’s time to prepare the sloppy joes. The process is quite simple, and comes together in about 10 minutes.
The combination of broth, ketchup, and Worchestershire sauce create a wonderful, silky texture. The mixture of broth and cornstarch helps to thicken the sauce. I’ve used beef broth, but I have also used my homemade vegetable broth and it works just as well. I really like the twist of cheesesteak, as the bell peppers add a wonderful crunch.
YOU CAN’T HAVE VENISON CHEESESTEAK SLOPPY JOES WITHOUT THE CHEESE
Of course, you can’t have cheesesteak without the cheese. The first couple of times I made Venison Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes I melted the cheese in the skillet, but then you couldn’t see the beautiful melty cheese at the end. And what’s the point of having cheese if you can’t see it?! After some trial and error, I melted the cheese in the microwave for about 30 seconds, and that did the trick. Traditional cheesesteaks use provolone cheese or even Cheez Whiz. However, I use the Cabot Cheese I received. I got several varieties of cheddar cheese, and am still making my way through it all. The Alpine Cheddar might be my favorite for it’s sharp bite, but I also really like the Farmhouse Reserve.
My friends keep bugging me to make some of my recipes for them. I will definitely be treating them to these Venison Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes, and I know they will be a hit. And this is just the push I need to continue to expand my horizons and branch out with more game meat recipes.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO COOK VENISON?
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- 1 lb ground venison meat
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 Tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
- 1/2 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup beef broth or vegetable broth
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- 1 Tablespoon ketchup
- 1/2 Tablespoon butter or margarine
- 8 ounces cheddar or provolone cheese
In large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove, and drain bacon on paper towels. When cool enough to touch, cut bacon into 1/4" dice. Discard bacon fat, and wipe skillet clean.
Break up venison in bowl. Add onion powder, garlic powder, bacon, 1/2 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce, and parsley. Mix together until well combined. Let rest in fridge for 20 minutes. Remove from fridge and let sit out for 10 minutes
Add venison to skillet and cook over medium heat, until venison is brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Add butter. Once butter is melted, add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add bell peppers, and saute for another 3-4 minutes, until peppers are just soft.
Return venison to skillet. Add ketchup, Worchestershire sauce, salt & pepper, and combine well. Mix cornstarch and broth together in a separate bowl, and add to skillet.
Allow broth to absorb, stirring occasionally. You don't want it to completely absorb, or it won't have the traditional "sloppy" texture. You want it to absorb about 75%.
Melt the cheese in microwave for about 30 seconds. Portion sloppy joes onto buns, and add melted cheese on top of each sandwich.