Venison kebabs are a firm barbecue favourite, allowing Cai ap Bryn to bang the drum for Britain’s plentiful and sustainable wild meat supply. Serves two or three.
Everyone loves a good barbecue at this time of the year. I always keep plenty of venison in the freezer, whether it’s chops or mince for smash burgers. (Read our tips for freezing game here.)
However, one of my favourites has to be venison kebabs. These always prove to be very popular when we serve them at the annual Northern Shooting Show.
For this particular recipe, I use a cut from the haunch of a fallow deer. You can also use loin if you prefer, though it is a little more expensive if you aren’t sourcing your own venison. Whether you butcher your own or get an expert to do it for you, make sure to remove all sinews and connective tissue so that the steak chunks are as lean as possible. This will help make the venison tender. (Find out which deer species has the most tender venison.)
Though I use fallow, it is possible to use any species for venison kebabs and it’s guaranteed to work equally well. We have more available venison than ever before, and deer numbers have gone through the roof because of the lack of a market and hunters being prevented from reaching their quota by COVID-19. I would, however, always recommend that people purchase venison through a game dealer as they will almost certainly be supplying customers with wild British venison. It is fairly cheap to buy direct from a butcher or dealer and it is both plentiful and sustainable. We soon lose our eco-friendly label when we start to import venison from other countries, such as New Zealand or Spain.
It’s such a tragedy that we are struggling to sell our own venison, while overseas farmed varieties are filling up our supermarket shelves. Where is the sense in that? I hate to think about that carbon footprint. Aside from the venison, the other star of the show in this recipe has to be the garlic mayonnaise. With hints of paprika and lemon, it is the perfect complement for these quick and easy kebabs.
Ingredients for marinade
- 2 tsp each of smoked paprika, garlic granules and ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cumin
- 4 tsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
For the kebabs
- 500g lean venison, cubed
- 1 large white onion, diced
- ¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 3 or 4 flatbreads
- 1 large pepper, diced
For the dip
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp garlic puree
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Freshly chopped coriander’
- Mix up the ingredients for the marinade. If it seems a little dry, add a few more drops of olive oil. Rub it all over the venison pieces up to an hour before starting to cook. Assemble all the ingredients on a skewer at this point and leave somewhere cool.
- While the meat is marinating, add two teaspoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to the cabbage and mix through.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the dip — the mayonnaise, the garlic puree, the lemon juice and the coriander. Add a little sprinkle of paprika, too.
- Either on a barbecue or under an oven grill, brown the kebabs on all sides, leaving the meat around medium inside. The temperature should be hot enough to add colour and char the edges of the vegetables.
- Warm up the flatbreads and serve. It is possible to make some flatbreads — there are plenty of recipes online for this. However, buying in a good-quality supply will be fine. I like to serve this dish with a light beer. It is a delicious recipe and I would always advise doubling the quantity if there are four people.