This is for that person in your life that likes ketchup on their steak. Or ketchup on their ketchup.

It was my mom’s birthday. I told her I would make her whatever she wanted on blog cooking day, and do you know what she said? “I want steak and ketchup!” You see, she is one of those people. Those ketchup people. We all know one or two people that would put ketchup on everything if they wouldn’t be endlessly ridiculed. I remember one time we were at the Chop House in Chicago. I actually sent my steak back because I ordered it medium rare and it came out medium, and I’ll be damned if I get an overcooked steak at that nice of a place. That night, I was too fancy to for an overcooked steak. Then I turn to my mom and ask how she liked her steak and she got this impish little grin and said, “It could use a little ketchup.” How did a ketchup lover raise such a food snob? I must get it from my dad.

venison recipes

Cut to today. I’ve been meaning to do a rendition of Salisbury steak but the endless stream of images of mushroom gravy just do not look appealing to me. Yes, gravy is difficult to photograph in an appetizing way, but still. Blech. Then I thought hey – this is perfect to try out homemade ketchup with!

venison recipes

Yes, we were drinking champagne with our steak and ketchup, thankyouverymuch.


Making your own ketchup isn’t really all that hard, isn’t that involved, and doesn’t even take as much time as you’d think. Heat up pot. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar. Simmer until jam-like. Blend, cool, serve. In about an hour, you can make ketchup. I did have house-made ketchup once at a restaurant that wasn’t blended. It was very rustic, but kind of fell off the fries. At any rate, we had a little ketchup packet floating around the kitchen and did a taste test, and do you know what? Homemade ketchup tastes just like Heinz ketchup.We tried to tell ourselves that my ketchup had a little “je ne sais quoi” but really it tasted almost exactly the same. It was a fun little experiment. Will I make it again? Probably not, unless I want to make a specialty ketchup, like chipotle or curry ketchup or something decidedly more fancy.

Salisbury Steak with Homemade Ketchup


For the Ketchup

  • 4lb fresh tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • pepper to taste

For the Steaks

  • 2lb ground venison
  • 1/4 red onion (minced)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 cups panko
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat, clarified butter or oil


For the Ketchup
Step 1
Combine the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down to a jammy consistency (mine took about 45 minutes). Take off the heat and let cool. Add the worcestershire sauce, then using an immersion blender or carefully using an upright blender, blend until smooth. If you want it even smoother, strain until you reach your desired consistency.
For the Steaks
Step 2
Combine the ground venison, onion, spices and egg and mix well. Form into oblong patties, kind of like an egg-shaped hamburger patty. Heat a pan on medium heat and add 1 Tablespoon of the fat. Put the panko on a plate and coat a patty in the panko, then add to the pan. Repeat until there is no more room in the pan (should be about half the patties).
Step 3
Pan fry, flipping half way, until cooked all the way through (about 5-7 minutes per side). Wipe any burned bits out of the pan with a paper and add the remaining butter or fat. Then panko the other patties and fry again. Serve with the homemade ketchup.

Non game substitution: Ground beef!

Posted in Venison
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