Oh, compound butter. It’s like the vegetarian bacon: it makes everything better.

Show me how to butter my steak.

It’s never the main course or the big “tada,” and it rarely takes the center of attention. It’s job is that of a low level character actor: to be the best friend, make the star of the show shine even brighter. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Venison recipe

I’m talking, of course, about butter. While butter will never be a main course making a compound butter really lets this super awesome ingredient shine. The process is pretty simple: take room temperature butter, whip with fresh herbs, spices, garlic… really anything you can think of. Even bacon and a little maple syrup would make a great compound butter. Then spread, melt, or even, dare way say, slather.

Venison steak is the perfect kind of steak to dress up all fancy; it’s not fatty at all, so could use a little help in that area, and if your venison is a little gamey adding some fancy pants will really help you out. Since I was going to be using my compound butters with steak, I mixed the butter with things that typically go really well on steak: one with gorgonzola, and one with a sweet balsamic reduction. To get the balsamic reduction to blend right was a little bit tricky; it gets hard when it cools, so I had to mix it all together warm, then refrigerate until the whole thing was pliable, and then form a log. I like the way that some of the butter didn’t incorporate, making it look almost like a pate or dried sausage.

Venison steaks with compound butter


balsamic butter

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

gorgonzola chive butter

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2-3oz crumbled gorgonzola
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • salt and pepper to taste


balsamic butter
Step 1
In a small saucepan, boil the balsamic vinegar until it is reduced by at least half and gets nice and sticky (about 15-20 minutes). Add 2 sticks of butter and whisk together. Let cool in the fridge until somewhat firm but not hard.
gorgonzola butter
Step 2
Combine 2 sticks butter, gorgonzola, chives and salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer until the butter is fluffy and all the ingredients are incorporated.
Step 3
On a large piece of plastic wrap, spoon out the butter with a spatula and form a log as you roll it up in the plastic. Repeat with 2nd compound butter (if using). Refrigerate at least 2 hours; butter is good in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Step 4
Cook steaks to your preferred level of doneness (I did mine in a pan, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare). Let repose for about 5-10 minutes. Top with compound butter and garnish with fresh herbs (if desired) before serving.
Non game substitution: Umm… regular steak. :)
Vegetarian substitution: Schmear this on anything you can think of!

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