Asian Style Venison Meatballs

The hoisin sauce on these meatballs adds moisture and a bit of sweetness - and just a great flavor in general.
The hoisin sauce on these meatballs adds moisture and a bit of sweetness – and just a great flavor in general.

It’s springtime! We’re at the halfway point to when deer season opens up for another year. How’s your freezer looking? No more backstraps? Getting low on roasts? Have you even touched any of your ground venison yet? Don’t wait! You don’t want to get to the point where you are stuck with just one kind of meat. Sure there are lots of ground meat recipes, but here are some reasons I like to use my ground meat sooner rather than later:

  1. I don’t actually grind my venison before I freeze it – but what I usually dedicate to the grinder are the small scraps. The bits I was able to glean off the bone, or the parts that maybe I over trimmed a bit from the roasts… The point is that they are small bits of meat. Smaller pieces expose more surface area to air. This increases the potential for spoilage over time. Before it was froze, that area was all exposed to air and the cutting board – and potential microscopic nasties. In the freezer, the same extra surface area increases the possibility of freezer burn. Of course, properly handled and wrapped meat can last years in the freezer – but by it’s nature, ground meat has the highest risk of going bad the quickest – so use it up!
  2. I like variety in my cooking. While the loins might be my favorite cut, I’d rather have them less often so I can enjoy them throughout the year and not just the first month after deer season. So, break out the ground meat early on, so you can enjoy those choice cuts later on.
  3. You never truly run out of ground meat. If you have a grinder, and you have any cut of meat, you have ground meat. So use that trim meat as early as possible. That gives it the least time to spoil and since it’s the lowest quality meat, enjoy it at it’s best. Once it’s gone, you can always grind a higher quality roast – and you will be rewarded with a higher quality meal!

Here’s a meatball recipe to help you use that trim meat up. Don’t ever let your venison meals be boring and lacking flavor. This recipe is easy, it’s quick, and it’s TASTY.

Make the meatballs a little larger (1.5") to serve as a main course, or make them smaller (1") for some tasty appetizers.
Make the meatballs a little larger (1.5″) to serve as a main course, or make them smaller (1″) for some tasty appetizers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of ground venison
  • ½ cup of panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup of thinly diced green onions
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, or ¼ teaspoon of ground dried ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds

For Sauce:

  • ½ cup of hoisin sauce (found in the asian section of grocery store)
  • 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, or ½ teaspoon of ground dried ginger

Process:

Heat the oven to 400°.

Set aside some of the green onions to garnish the meatballs after they are cooked. Combine the rest of the onions and all of the meatball ingredients except the sesame seeds (also for garnish) in a large bowl and mix well. Roll into roughly 1″ meatballs and place on a greased baking sheet, and pop them in the oven.

Cook for about 10-12 minutes – or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.

While the meatballs cook, combine all the sauce ingredients and thoroughly mix.

When the meatballs are done, remove from the oven, and dollop the sauce on each meatball. Sprinkle the rest of the green onions and some sesame seeds over the top, and serve. Make up some wonton soup to go with them – you’ll use even more of your ground meat and it’s a great pairing!