These pan fried venison cutlets are dredged in a flavorful breading and cooked until golden brown and delicious. If you have an avid hunter in the family, this is the perfect recipe to use with any venison steak currently in your freezer. Best of all, you can have this meal on your dinner table in under twenty minutes!
What is a cutlet?
A cutlet is generally regarded as a thin cut of meat. These thin slices are often cut from the leg of the animal, breaded and fried.
Which cut of venison should I use?
This recipe will work wonderfully with any deer steaks you may have on hand. However, the venison backstrap and hindquarters will be the most tender. Using the front quarter of the deer for this recipe is still a good choice, but it helps to tenderize it with a meat mallet, similarly to making chicken fried venison.
How to prepare your venison
It is always best to bring your steaks to room temperature prior to cooking. However, this is not a deal-breaker if you don't have time. I also recommend lightly dusting each side of your cutlets with salt and pepper. Finally, as previously mentioned, feel free to tenderize the steak if needed, or pound it flatter with a meat mallet. But do this prior to adding seasoning.
Ingredients you will need
- Venison cutlets - Either cut ½" thick, or pound flat with a meat mallet. This recipe is written for venison, but it can be used for other wild game such as elk.
- Cooking oil - Any frying oil will work. My top choices are canola oil, peanut oil, or olive oil.
- Eggs - These are required to get a crisp breading to stick to the meat.
- Milk - This thins out the beaten eggs to a proper consistency.
- Hot Sauce - This is optional, but adds more flavor when beaten into the egg mixture.
- Flour - The base of any breading.
- Baking powder & Baking Soda - These create an airier breading.
- Seasonings: Kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
How to set up your dredging station
To batter and fry your venison, you need to start with setting up a dredging station to bread your steaks. This is simple to do.
First, beat two large eggs in a shallow bowl with milk and hot sauce added. The milk will thin out the consistency and the hot sauce will add flavor.
Your second dish will contain all of the flour and seasonings, including the baking powder and baking soda. This should be mixed well to ensure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed.
To bread your deer cutlets you will first dredge them in the flour mixture. This creates a thin coating for the egg mixture to stick to. You will then dredge in the egg mixture and let the excess drip off before returning the cutlets to the flour mixture a second time for one less dredging. This final dip into the flour mixture is what creates your crispy golden brown coating.
Continue to work in batches until all of the steaks have been breaded. I like to rest the breaded meat on wire racks until I am ready to start frying. I find wire racks allow for better airflow around the breading so it doesn't get gummy.
Tip: To keep your hands clean, use one hand for working in the wet mixture and the other hand for working in the dry mixture. This will prevent breading your fingers into a gooey mess.
How to fry venison
Add enough oil to coat the bottom of a large cast-iron skillet at least ½" deep. Set the skillet over medium heat and bring the oil to 325 degrees. I recommend using a digital meat thermometer to monitor your oil temperature, as it can make or break your meal's success.
Tip: Cast iron is recommended because its thickness keeps the temperature more consistent. However, using another large skillet will work in a pinch.
Gently place the breaded venison in the hot oil, laying the meat away from you as it sets down. This will prevent dangerous splashes. Add as many cutlets as will fit, but don't crowd the pan. You want a little space between each one. Fry venison for approximately 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
Tip: If you enjoy your fried venison cutlets a little more pink in the middle, increase the cooking temperature to 325 degrees. This will brown the exterior faster and cook the interior less.
What to serve with fried venison?
- Mashed potatoes - Either regular mashed potatoes or steakhouse mashed potatoes would be my first choice.
- Roasted potatoes and onion - I have always love the pairing of venison and onion. It is a fantastic flavor combination.
- Twice baked potatoes - Perfect to pair with any type of steak.
- Roasted mushrooms - Their earthy flavor pairs well with venison.
More great venison recipes
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Fried Venison Cutlets
- 2 pounds venison cutlets (½" thick)
- ¼ cup frying oil (or as needed)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning venison
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper plus more for seasoning venison
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Set up a dredging station with eggs, milk, and hot sauce beaten together in a small bowl. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and all seasonings in a separate bowl.
- Season room temperature venison with salt and pepper then dredge in the flour mixture to fully coat venison. Shake off any excess flour, then dip into the egg mixture and let any excess run off before returning the cutlets to the flour mixture for one last dredging.
- Continue working in batches until all of the deer steaks have been breaded.
- Add enough oil to the bottom of a large cast iron skillet to fill ½" deep.
- Heat the oil to 325 degrees then add breaded venison. Fry for approximately 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Then flip and cook venison on the other side until golden brown.
- Place fried venison on paper towels to drain while frying the remaining steaks.
- Serve your crispy fried venison cutlets immediately.