Yes, you can turn venison into tender fajita meat. It just takes a little elbow grease.

Oh, fajitas. I live in Texas, the likely birthplace of fajitas. It’s a staple of Tex-Mex cuisine yet incredibly easy to make at home. We grew up on fajitas for Sunday dinners, which is probably why I rarely order them at restaurants. Why order something you can make yourself?

I think a lot of people stay away from cooking fajitas with venison because it breaks the cardinal rule of cooking venison: low and slow because that was one tough old deer. The nature of fajitas is a pretty quick sear on the grill and if your meat is too tough it results in people chewing… and chewing… and chewing. Sometimes the meat is so tough you can’t even really take a bite of your fajita without pulling out the whole slice of meat. These are not quality fajitas.

This is where the bludgeoning comes in. Beat your meat, people! Grab a rolling pin (or even a hammer), put your round steak in a plastic bag and get out some aggression. It’s fun and functional. And, it really only takes about 10 minutes.

elk fajitas

I put a spin on the traditional fajita marinade (lime, cumin, chili powder) by using chipotles in adobo sauce and puréeing them in the blender to create a paste. Chipotles can be deal-breaker hot, so be sure to open them up and remove the seeds before you blend them. Yeah yeah, you may say you like spicy, but trust me. Just do it.

I also tried my hat at medium rare fajitas. This idea kind of spurred from a little splurge. This year for my birthday, instead of socking away my birthday money I thought it would be fun to buy something foolish. Enter the sous vide circulator. I don’t use it every day, but I love it. It’s an especially handy tool for wild game since even slightly overcooking wild meats can result in something leathery and dry. We cooked the meat in the sous vide circulator at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, give or take. Then the plan was to literally slap it on the grill just long enough to char. Unfortunately, we were at my parent’s and my dad’s grill just doesn’t get hot enough. (Insert plug for charcoal over gas grills; long live the Weber!) We did the best we could. The fajitas were still delicious.

Chipotle Fajitas

Ingredients

  • 2lb venison round steak (or other flat venison steak, tenderized with a mallet or rolling pin)
  • corn or flour tortillas (for serving)
  • salsa (for serving)
  • shredded cheddar or crumbled cotija (for serving)
  • guacamole (for serving)

For the Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo (pureed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Step 1
First, take your chipotles out of the can of adobo sauce and pull the seeds out. If you like extra spice you can leave some in. Then purée it in a blender, sauce and all. Use about 1-2 tablespoons of the purée and set the rest aside for another use. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the tenderized meat and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to four hours.
Step 2
Heat your grill to super hot. Remove the fajita meat and put it directly on the grill until it sears on each side until the desired doneness is achieved. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Step 3
Serve with tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and cheese for people to build their own fajitas.

Non-game substitution: Skirt steak!!


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Marlys

I tried this using the poor-man’s sous vide, a cooler. It worked out great! Round streaks turned out perfectly cooked, tender and no gameyness whatsoever. I will definitely be using this method to cook game again!

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