Saddle of Venison

tyringham hall

tyringham hall

March 16th, 2012

I had a really interesting day out yesterday. In the morning I saw the fabulous David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy (thanks to Audrey) and in the afternoon/evening I visited Sean at a stately pile in Buckinghamshire.

deer park

I did volunteer (ad nauseum) to shoot a whole deer and roast it in a pit, as you can see, there were deer to hand and a cupboard full of guns…

saddle of venison

Instead, I was presented with a saddle of venison, so I shut up and got on with the job of cooking it!

cross section

There’s very little fat on venison, so adding fat helps with the cooking and flavour. It’s quite common to wrap venison joints in bacon or barding fat.


I browned the saddle in smoking hot goose fat, on the hob before roasting in a hotish oven for a fairly short period of time. I suggest seasoning with a little salt and pepper and a cooking time of 20 minutes plus 10 minutes per pound at 225º C. If you add a glass of red wine and a splash of red wine vinegar, about half way through, it blends with the juices for gravy. Venison should be served rare (or at the very least pink) – if it’s cooked for too long it will become tough.

roast potatoes

Rest the joint in some foil for up to half an hour, while finishing off the roast potatoes and cooking the vegetables – I did carrots and spring greens. I also prepared some vegetable stock beforehand to mix with the juices and make gravy.


When rested, stir any juice and blood that has come out of the joint into the gravy.


Carve and serve with some robust red wine, such as Carta Roja from the Jumilla wine region in Spain.

Other Venison posts


About Mad Dog
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37 Responses to Saddle of Venison

  1. I love venison, and it looks like you’ve done this lovely saddle real justice. Perfectly pink, I bet it went down a treat.

  2. rutheh says:

    I am going with the delicious roast potatoes and the large glass of robust wine, although your post on the saddle is thorough and informative, and photographed well.

  3. I’ve never really got into venison as it always seems so dry. However, the sliced shot reveals perfectly cooked meat. Nice work.

    • Mad Dog says:

      I think you have to under cook and rest it – even though I’d poured the juices into the gravy the sliced meat was moist and succulent 😉

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    Now this is how a roast should look when sliced! Perfectly done, MD. Add a bit of your wine/vinegar gravy and I can only imagine how delicious this must have been.

  5. Audrey Evermore says:

    “tis a wonderful world which we do live in
    where a painter is torn from the working classes
    and a cook saddles deer in a stately kitchen
    whilst drinking fine wine from crystal glasses

    let me know when you are digging the hungi…x

  6. zestybeandog says:

    This looks fantastic, venison is one of my favs!

  7. Have never cooked venison and I can´t honestly remember the last time I ate it 😦 Am getting very jealous over here!

  8. You are my hero today! Love venison (and David Hockney…and wines from Jumilla – even though they are so slamming on the alcohol that I have to tread carefully!)

  9. This meal looks lovely! You sure are consuming a lot of goose fat though, you really put it in everything in this dish. I wonder if I can get some here and see the allure.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks – goose or duck fat is the best thing for roast potatoes and contains good cholesterol, very similar to olive oil and has a high smoking point.

      An alternative would be to wrap the venison in bacon for flavour and moisture while cooking. I was cooking for someone who doesn’t eat pork 😉

  10. Mad Dog says:

    Yes my butcher sells it – the most common in the UK is a French brand in tins – La Truffe Cendrée. If I cook duck or goose I pour off the fat – it will keep for months. Likewise the fat from duck confit.

  11. Nice job!
    Better to shut up and cook than to shoot a deer… 😉

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks – I’m quite happy to cook and kill my own food. Deer have to be managed or the herd gets too big and destructive for the land it lives on (which does makes me see a parallel with humans living on the earth).

      • Ok. But don’t you remember how sad Bambi was when “The Men” shot his mama? 😦
        I’m kidding, I’m totally fine with hunting. I’ve never tried, maybe never will, but I don’t judge

  12. That looks delicious! Perfectly cooked. I’ve never had saddle of venison, but used to enjoy other cuts when I lived in Wales. Don’t see it much here, though.

  13. peasepudding says:

    Love venison, particularly if served very pink. Maybe next time you can get a whole dear? We had a hangi (moari method of cooking in a pit oven) last week but only managed legs of beast not the whole thing.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks – I’d dearly love to cook a whole deer – Audrey’s very keen, I think she’s cooked a big hangi before. I’d quite like to do a pig too!

  14. Karen says:

    When we travel in Europe, especially Germany and Austria, there is always deer on the menu during our fall visits. I love the saddle…the meat is tender and delicious. Your recipe sounds wonderful.

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