I am always on the lookout for new ways to use wild game, I have a few go to recipes that I have made over and over but for the most part I am always trying something new with my wild game. I usually have a lot of venison every year and this year was no different, although the means of me getting my venison this year was different. I didn't shoot a deer this year but I was given almost a 100 pound s of venison from friends who were willing to share. About 60 pounds of that was ground venison.
My wife prefers the ground venison because she feels more comfortable cooking with it. She likes to use it in everything from hamburger helper to her Shepard's pie and we really enjoy it in a good venison burger or chili. Because we have so much ground venison I am always looking for new ways to use it. One of my most popular post on this site is for a venison burger so in the upcoming months I am going to be making a couple of different kinds of venison burger. I am also trying to figure out how to use ground venison in an egg roll of some sort.
Recently I was going through one of my cookbooks by Kevin Gillespie called Fire in My Belly. In the book he has a recipe for Ground venison Kabobs that looked amazing so I figured I would give them a try. His kabobs have a very middle eastern flare to them and that is another thing I really want to do this year is try more middle eastern cuisine and try cooking it more. I have always felt that venison and goat and lamp could be interchanged in most recipes so venison could be substituted for many of the middle eastern dishes I have read. I used venison in my version of Kibbeh and it turned out beautifully.
There isn't a lot of fat in venison and ground venison can dry out very quickly so if you are going to use venison make sure you don't leave it on the heat for to long. If you grind your own venison you can add fat to it when you grind it to give it a little juiciness. I haven't tried it yet but Hank Shaw who is a well known wild game chef likes to use bacon ends to grind into his venison giving it a little boost of fat and flavor. I will definitely be trying that this year if I get a deer.
I changed the recipe just a little bit from the book version by adding a few things. First I added just a bit of cinnamon, cinnamon is a fairly regular ingredient in many middle eastern dishes but I also feel that it goes so well with venison that add it to almost all of my venison dishes. I am also a huge fan of cumin and it seemed to fit right in with this dish so I added some of that as well. When you grill these it is a good Idea to keep a thermometer nearby because they will cook very quickly. you don't really want it to go up past 145 degrees or it can start to dry out. In the book he has a tomato jam that goes along with these kabobs so I made some and it wasn't bad but I think these would go really well with some tzatziki and some naan or other type of flat bread. This same recipe could be used to make some pretty outstanding meatballs if you didn't want to use skewers.
Ground Venison Kabobs
makes 6-8 kabobs depending how big you make them
2 lbs ground venison
2 tablespoons ice water
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped mint
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons Za'atar (middle eastern spice blend made with dried sumac, thyme, sesame seeds and salt)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2. Form into logs around your skewers and brush them with olive oil.
3. Grill the Kabobs for 3-4 minutes per side until they reach 145 degrees, serve immediately