Chimichurri Venison Tacos
A recipe by Ryan Lisson as featured in the Outdoor News Taste of the Wild
During the summer months when we are spending more time on the patio, I can’t help but crave street tacos. For a simple, at-home version, you need to try these grilled venison tacos. I like to use a section of backstrap (also called loin) for this. When grilled correctly (in my opinion), the smoky, charred crust on the outside pairs perfectly with the tender rare inside. But in a pinch, you can use individual steaks from the rear/ham.
Tacos are a great summer crowd-pleaser because each person can adjust the fixings to suit their taste buds. The simple chimichurri sauce adds a ton of fresh herby flavors and a zing of acidity by itself. But some other great toppings that work with this recipe include grilled onions, pico de gallo, avocado, a good crumbly cheese (e.g., queso fresco, cotija), or corn salsa. It’s the perfect summer meal to use up some of last fall’s venison and impress your friends.
Yield: 4-6 servings
1-2 pound section venison backstrap/loin
1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Corn or flour tortillas
2 cups each of fresh flat-leaf parsley and cilantro
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
1 cup red onion
5 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon each salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes
- Take the venison out of the refrigerator about 25-30 minutes before you plan to cook (i.e., while the grill preheats).
- Combine the chimichurri sauce ingredients in a food processor (a blender can work, but pause often to push ingredients to the bottom). Pulse until it reaches your desired consistency (slightly chunky works well). Taste it for seasoning and adjust as needed. Let rest at room temperature until ready to plate.
- Lightly rub the venison with olive oil, and liberally season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until internal temperature reaches about 145oF (for medium-rare). You can cook it further if you want, but it won’t be as tender.
- Loosely tent the venison with aluminum foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Cut the venison into thin slices (against the grain to keep it tender) or chop it up into smaller pieces. Note that the smaller pieces make it easier to eat and it adds to the smaller street taco vibe.
- Assemble tacos by layering venison and all the fixings you want. Top it with the chimichurri sauce and grab a napkin. Enjoy!
Check out Ryan’s recipe for Venison Shepherd’s Pie