Karen’s granddaughter, Presley, at her family’s ranch.

Hello to all of our readers that are hunters and those that don’t hunt but just love wild game, especially venison. Deer season officially starts here in Texas Nov. 7. Be sure you have your licenses in order and your deer lease reserved.

My entire family has loved venison ever since we moved to the Gulf Coast in 1978.

I want to share with you my father’s deer hunt story. It is true and a really comical family memory. It is a bit of a travel adventure where lots of money and hunting was involved.

Here is a cost breakdown for the purchases needed for the trip. New motorcycle — $2,500. Round trip shipping motorcycle to Wyoming — $700. Mountain deer hunting adventure midlife crisis cross-country hunting trip room and board — $3,000. Rifle and license for trip — $2,000. Cost for guide and hunting privileges — $1,600, and of course the mount cost $300. Processing and shipping the meat — $300.

The results of the trip? Gifting all of the deer meat to our poodle, Gigi. She ate ground venison for over a year and, boy, was Dad quick to point that out *$#@! Gigi’s gourmet venison dog food cost, including miscellaneous expenses, was about $10,000 — over $50 per pound for meat from a 200-pound large mule deer buck that was about 35 inches tall at the shoulder, or so he said.

Now cooking the meat before it was donated to our dog was a culinary comical disaster in itself, funny to all but our poor dad. No one in the family had ever had deer meat but dad seasoned it and threw it on the grill. Wow, it looked delicious and smelled a bit weird but we were anxious to try it. OMG, no one could even chew it! No amount of ketchup, barbecue sauce or A-1 could help. And that is how Gigi ended up with all of the venison meat from that 200-pound deer.

We spread lots of empathy his way to console him. I’m sure you can imagine how angry this usually happy, gregarious, Greek man got … VERY angry! We didn’t help the situation because the rest of us couldn’t help but share the hunting adventure details over and over again to all who would listen.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that when they got to the hunting lodge, they couldn’t take their motorcycles up the mountains or on the deer lease. They had to ride horses and ride in jeeps they had to rent!

Oh my, I totally forgot to add those costs in!

But we, his loving family, put on our best smiles and acts of enthusiasm when his trophy deer head mount arrived from the taxidermists. We, well, all but mom, genuinely were just as excited as him as we walked all around the house trying to decide where to hang Dad’s trophy $10,000 mule deer head. It ended up in his office until our YiaYia moved in and the office was remodeled into a guest room.

And the deer head? It was sent down to the basement pool table game room destined to stay there forever, until about four years later.

Phil and I were married and had just moved out of an apartment and into our first house. About a year after moving, we received a big surprise. We were gifted that doggone deer mount. It was hung in our basement game room over the huge 6-foot wet bar and there it stayed until we sold the house in 1980. We then gifted it to another family member, but for the life of me I can’t remember who ended up with it. If I were to guess, I would say my baby brother hung it proudly in his hippie apartment! But if not him, I’m sure it stayed in the family!

So, with that I’m telling you I am a wiz at cooking venison.

Our youngest daughter married a 10th generation Texan and they own an exotic game ranch right here in Texas about two hours from our house.

We are so blessed to get venison sausage, tenderloins, stew meat, ground meat and more. I have been out there but I haven’t shot any animals yet.

“Please Join Our Table” as I fix y’all a few of my great venison dishes.


Karen’s Venison Pepper Steak

A great cool evening venison comfort dish!



2-pound venison steak, cut in strips or chunks

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (APF)

3/4 teaspoon salt,

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup shortening, but you can use oil

1 16 ounce can stew tomatoes, drained, reserving liquid or Rotel tomatoes

2 cups water

1 medium onion, chopped or 11/2 tablespoons minced dried onion

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 beef flavored bouillon cubes

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 large green peppers and 1 large red pepper, cut in strips


DIRECTIONS: Melt shortening in large skillet. Roll venison in flour mixture, using all the mixture. Brown meat in hot shortening, add the reserved liquid, water, onion, garlic powder and bouillon cubes. Cover and simmer 1½ -2 hrs. Uncover, stir in Worcestershire sauce, add pepper strips, cover and cook 10 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are hot (about 5 minutes). Serve over hot cooked noodles or rice. Serves 8.


Karen’s Venison Tacos Al Pastor

This is the best recipe of venison al pastor I have ever had. You absolutely have to let it marinade for 48 hours, or the meat will not be as tasty or tender. You have probably had tacos al pastor in Tex-Mex restaurants. If you have, then you know it is always made with pork so this recipe was a bit tricky to convert.



2 pounds venison steak or stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon course ground mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoning 17 or seasoned salt

4 ounces chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

3 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or EVGOO

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 16 ounce can pineapple tidbits

8-10 flour tortillas


TOPPINGS: cilantro, onions, avocados, salsa, etc.

DIRECTIONS: In a blender, combine chipotle peppers, 1/2 cup of the juice from the can of pineapples, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, garlic cloves and all of the seasoning ingredients except the bay leaves. Blend until chipotle peppers form a sauce. In a container with a leak proof lid combine venison, pineapple tidbits, the bay leaves and the sauce you made from the blender. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes and up to 3 hours. Remove venison from marinade, and throw away all but 2-3 tablespoons of the marinade. Cook in a cast iron skillet stovetop or on the grill. Heat the cast iron skillet on high heat. Add grapeseed oil or EVGOO. Once hot, add the marinated meat to pan and cook. You want a good sear, baste with the marinade you saved, flip and repeat on the other side, basting that side, too. Cook for a total of about 8-10 minutes, until meat has browned and any liquid has evaporated. Remove from stove and tent with foil; let it rest 5 minutes as you warm up the tortillas. I like to heat up the tortillas on a clean cast iron skillet or in the oven. Serve with warm tortillas and pass the toppings. Serves 8.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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I Will have to share these, my nephews who hunts.

Denise Cecil Miller
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