By Seth Fera-Schanes
Not only is New York a food town, but given its location within the tri state area, you can source a lot of fresh ingredients from the Hudson Valley, Connecticut and New Jersey. My friend provided some Central Jersey venison and I got to have some fun with a few ingredients that had been sitting in my spice cabinet.
I had purchased Tcho cocoa powder and it was just asking to finally be opened. I also had smoked paprika from Sullivan Street tea and spice company in the Greenwich Village. Rounding out the ingredient list was a Laguna Salt Company Black Truffle Salt. I got out a little bowl and added about a tablespoon of cocoa powder, dash of smoked paprika and pinch of truffle salt (exact measurements, obviously.)
I rinsed the deer under cold water and then made sure it was thoroughly patted dry with paper towels. I also let it sit outside the refrigerator for a little bit to bring to room temperature before adding to the hot cast iron skillet.
I would suggest cooking to your preference but just a note that deer is lean and will cook quickly and it doesn’t have a lot of fat to keep it moist. I cooked for approximately 3-4 minutes per side which gave me a medium-well result (but I might even suggest a minute or two less for medium.) Finally, I let the deer sit for a few minutes after cooking to prevent all the juices from running out if I cut it too early (this last step is hard because you will want to dive right in but trust me on this and wait a few minutes.)
The venison had an earthy flavor (a little gamey but not overpowering) and was nicely complimented by the smoke, cocoa and truffle notes from the spice rub.