Most of my non-hunting friends and family are extremely supportive of hunting but have been hesitant to try venison for a variety of reasons. Whether it is due to their misconceptions from popular culture or social media, or just their unfamiliarity with wild game, I always do my best to educate them on the health benefits and sustainability of wild game and offer to cook them a meal.
This has led me to explore new and different recipes to help ease them into the world of wild game. This smoked venison queso dip is one of my gameday favorites and is the perfect way to incorporate venison into your tailgate menu. It’s also a great introductory recipe for new deer hunters who are wondering how to prepare meals from their first deer.
What you need:
- ½- to 1-lb. ground venison with no added fat
- 1 block of Velveeta
- 1 large tomato, diced
- ½ large white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- Two large jalapeños diced (deseeded if you aren’t a fan of spicy)
- 1 cup sour cream (optional)
- Preheat your smoker to 225° F. (you can also cook in the oven at 225° if you do not have a smoker. Add a small amount of Liquid Smoke to taste if using the oven)
- Brown the venison in a cast iron or regular skillet and season as desired. My favorite is Cabela’s Maple Jalapeño, which I put on just about everything.
- Place the block of Velveeta, venison, tomato, onion, bell pepper and jalapeños into a large pan or cast iron.
- Place on the smoker uncovered and cook for about one hour. I like to add some mesquite or hickory wood chips here to boost the smokey flavor.
- After an hour, add 1 cup sour cream (optional) and stir. Stir the mixture even if you do not add sour cream.
- Return to smoker for another 15 to 30 minutes or until the edges are crispy.
- Stir well and serve.
This dip can be served in a variety of ways, but nothing beats a classic tortilla chip nearly breaking in half under the weight of this uniquely flavored appetizer. It goes great as part of a veggie tray, and if there’s any leftovers (which there probably won’t be), use it to top the remainder of the chips and make a mean pile of venison nachos. On Superbowl Sunday, this recipe won over our neighbors who had never eaten venison, and I hope it helps you win somebody over too.