This ground venison tacos recipe is perfect for taco night. This mouthwatering dish is easy to whip together with homemade seasoning and ground deer meat for a simple meal your whole family will love.
Taco Tuesday is a regular thing around here. It’s rare that we don’t have some sort of Tex-Mex-inspired meal on a Tuesday. We often eat rabbit tacos, venison enchiladas, or wet burritos on a weekly basis.
I love venison tacos because they’re a quick meal and like my venison bolognese and venison chili, you don’t even know it’s venison. But these tacos are by far my favorite way to use up ground deer meat.
I’ve found that a lot of people are unsure of how to cook venison. And wild game meat can be a little intimidating because if you try to cook it just like you would beef, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Ground venison, however, is cooked very similar to beef when it is simply browned to use in a recipe using ground meat like tacos.
Ground deer meat is typically made up of the tough cuts of the deer, much like beef, and it browns much the same way. But since venison is a lean meat, you have to add fat to it while browning or you’re going to wind up with very dry, browned bits of deer meat stuck to the sides and bottom of your skillet.
If you’ve been hesitant to utilize venison sitting in your freezer, this is a great way to finally try it out. It’s familiar, and the flavors mix well with the lean meat. Plus, this easy recipe will be on your table in less than 30 minutes.
Ingredients for Deer Meat Tacos
When I was developing this recipe, I wanted to keep the ingredients simple, but I wanted the Mexican-inspired flavors to really be the star. This meat is a bit on the spicy side, but using homemade taco seasoning means you can adjust it a bit according to your tastes.
- Ground venison – you can sub any ground meat in this recipe if you don’t have venison on hand, but the flavors in the dish pair very well with it.
- Onion – diced small and sautéed to add flavor to the meat when you add it.
- Garlic – minced and sautéed alongside the onion to add flavor to the meat.
- Olive Oil – You need fat to fry the lean meat in. Olive oil is a great go-to but if you have beef tallow or deer tallow on hand, it will work very well in this recipe.
- Taco shells – You can use corn tortillas or flour tortillas to suit your tastes. Another favorite of mine is this keto taco shell.
Homemade taco seasoning
Make your own taco seasoning! This recipe is made with simple ingredients and pantry staples that you probably already have in your home, making this a recipe you can make any time instead of having to shop for special ingredients.
- Chili powder – the star of the seasoning, this adds some spice. If it’s a bit too much for your liking, you can decrease the amount or pour less of the total seasoning onto your browned meat.
- Dried oregano – while just a tad is added, its earthy flavor improves the flavor of the meat just enough.
- Paprika – to add just a pinch of spice.
- Ground cumin – with its citrus undertones, cumin is a fantastic spice when it comes to venison to add a bit of depth of flavor.
- Black pepper – for depth and a bit of spice.
- Salt – to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients in the seasoning.
- Lime juice – to bring out the flavor of everything and tame any “gamey” flavors the meat might possess. This is of course, added after the dry ingredients have been added to the meat.
Favorite Taco Toppings
- Diced or pickled jalapeños
- Taco Sauce
- Crumbled Cotija Cheese
- Diced Onion
- Lime Wedges
- Sour Cream
How to Make Ground Venison Tacos
Ground venison is browned with garlic and onion, and topped with homemade taco seasoning that is perfect for venison. The flavorful meat is placed on warm tortillas and topped with your favorite toppings to make a taco packed full of flavor that will quickly make its way into your meal rotation.
STEP 1: Make your homemade taco seasoning
Begin by combining chili powder, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, black pepper, and salt in a small bowl. I use the entire batch to top the meat, if you like things a little more mild, try starting with half of it. Set the bowl aside.
STEP 2: Sauté
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and minced garlic to the hot oil and cook until soft.
STEP 3: Brown Meat
Add the ground venison meat to your onions and garlic and brown over medium heat in the same cast iron skillet. Venison will not need to be drained. However, if you’re using ground beef you will need to drain off the excess fat from cooking.
STEP 4: Season
With the heat still on, pour the seasoning over the meat, add in the lime juice, and pour 2/3rds cup of water over the mixture. Stir to combine.
STEP 5: Assemble
Your meat is now ready! Top your taco shell with meat and whatever other toppings you prefer.
- Bring your meat to room temperature before cooking. This will help it not brown too quickly, which can dry it out.
- Drain excess blood off of your meat before putting it in the skillet. This will remove some of that “gamey” taste, though I do believe the idea of gamey meat is relative.
- Adjust the seasoning to your liking. Like all things, I encourage you to learn cooking techniques and not stick to a hard-fast recipe. If it’s too spicy for you, cut back on the chili powder or add less to the meat.
- Warm your tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 10 seconds for each side.
How to store leftover ground venison taco meat
Leftover venison taco meat can be stored in a shallow, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To reheat, simply add it to a skillet with a bit of tallow or olive oil and heat through.
This meat can also be frozen, though freezing will slightly affect the texture. To freeze, cook the recipe, allow the meat to cool completely then place it in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze. Use within 6 months.
To reheat from frozen, thaw completely in the refrigerator then heat it in a skillet with a bit of tallow or olive oil until heated through.
If you try this venison taco recipe I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. Also, feel free to leave me a five star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review on the recipe card below and tag me on instagram @therusticelk.
Ground venison meat is seasoned with homemade taco seasoning to make this delicious, from scratch meal.
- 1 Tablespoon Beef Tallow (sub olive oil)
- 1 Small Onion (diced)
- 4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1 Pound Ground Venison
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Juice from 1 Lime
- 2/3 Cup Water
- Combine chili powder, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, black pepper and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat tallow or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sautee until soft.
- Place ground venison in the skillet and cook until browned.
- Next, pour seasoning over meat and incorporate well.
- Add juice from lime to meat and stir. Add water. Mix and bring heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Serve hot on taco shells, lettuce, chips - however you prefer.