Venison, or deer meat, is a nutritionally packed protein that provides less calories, less fat, and more protein than any other red meat. This makes it an excellent choice for athletes looking to build muscle.


Tricks for Cooking Venison

The lean nature of venison meat makes it ideal for athletes but at the same time a little tricky for cooks since it toughens easily. I used apple cider vinegar in this recipe to help soften the meat fibers and add just a touch of acidity.


Many people are leery of cooking venison and other similar meats due their “gamey” flavor and intensity. Venison has this rich flavor profile because it comes directly from field to table. But there are alternatives. A properly dressed game meat from a reputable butcher (or skilled home huntsman) has a much less gamey taste, but just as much amazing flavor. The bold spices used in Mexican cuisine are a perfect complement for venison.


Easy, No-Fuss Assembly

You can cook the enchilada filling in a slow cooker, making it an easy meal to put together before you run off to work or the gym. You’ll return home to the wafting scents of perfectly cooked, tender, shreddable meat.


Soft corn tortillas are a traditional carrier for enchiladas, but they can be frustrating since they tend to rip or tear easily when you roll them. To keep the tortillas from falling apart, toast them in the oven with a spritz of olive oil. They will be pliable enough to roll, but will hold the sauce and filling without crumbling all over your plate. This trick also works wonders for tacos made with corn tortillas.


Venison Enchiladas Rojas

The bold flavors of Mexican cuisine are a perfect complement to game meat.


Yield: Makes 8 enchiladas

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 8 hours




For the Filling:

  • 2lb venison roast or steaks
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or use 1 teaspoon garlic powder)


For the Red Sauce:

  • 4 dried guajillo chiles
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth


For the Enchiladas:

  • 8 fajita size corn tortillas
  • Olive oil
  • Cilantro, Mexican cheese (Oaxaca, Queso Quesadilla, Queso Fresco), guacamole, and salsa for garnish.




For the Filling:

  1. Combine spices and cider vinegar together and rub onto venison.
  2. Place venison in a crockpot on low and cook 6-8 hours until it is shreddable.
  3. Shred meat and stir in 1/2 - 1 cup of the red sauce.


For the Red Sauce:

  1. Tear guajillo chiles into 1-2 inch pieces and remove seeds.
  2. Heat a small skillet and press chiles onto skillet with a spatula until they begin to change color. Do not let them burn.
  3. Place chilies, tomatoes, onion, pepper, cumin, and salt in a blender and puree.
  4. Strain puree if desired for a smoother consistency and transfer to a small saucepan.
  5. Add chicken broth.
  6. Simmer on medium heat about 10 minutes.


To Assemble Enchiladas:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly brush or spritz both sides of tortillas with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Toast tortillas about 10 minutes. They should still be pliable.
  4. Let tortillas cool just enough that you can handle them.
  5. Place a scoop of filling along the center of each tortilla and roll it up.
  6. Place tortillas seam side down in a lightly greased baking dish. Repeat for remaining tortillas.
  7. Pour red sauce over tortillas to cover completely.
  8. Top with cheese if desired.
  9. Bake 20 minutes.
  10. Serve hot with cilantro, guacamole, and salsa for garnish.



  • This recipe also works well with beef.
  • Any leftover filling can be stored in the fridge or frozen to make additional enchiladas. This filling is also great for tacos or taco salad.


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Photo courtesy of Kari Lund.

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