Outdoor Library Homepage: Articles, Tips, Outdoor Gear Reviews
Library Home   |   Hunting   |   Fishing   |   Camping   |   Boating   |   Videos

Marinades, Rubs and Sauces
written by Keith Sutton

Marinades are excellent for basting grilled meat, and can be served on the side as a sauce.
Click here to return to the last page you viewed.  Previous Page

Click here to print the content on this page.  Print This Page

082100_h_cook3Want to delight your family and friends with an unforgettable wild game dinner?  Then give your next game feast that special touch  -- a taste-tempting marinade, rub or sauce -- that makes every meal memorable.


Marinades are combinations of herbs, spices and acidic liquids (like vinegar, wine, soy sauce and lemon juice) used to flavor and/or tenderize meat.  Marinades are especially good for lean cuts of game, because they moisten the meat and help prevent it from drying out during cooking.  When game is to be grilled, oil may be added for extra moisture, to keep meat from sticking to the grill and to give it a crisp, flavorful skin.

Marinate game in glass or plastic containers.  Plastic, zip-seal freezer bags work great; they're easily turned to ensure all sides of the meat are exposed to the marinade.  Pour the marinade over the meat, seal the bag, and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight for extra flavor and tenderness.  Remove the meat 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature, assuring more even cooking.

Marinades are also excellent for basting grilled meat, and can be served on the side as a sauce.  Reserve a portion prior to marinating the meat.  Discard used marinades.

Rubs:  A rub is a mixture of dried spices and seasonings thats rubbed directly onto the meat's surface.  This adds more intense flavor, and the coat of seasoning seals the meat to keep it juicy.

Once meats have been "rubbed," let them stand at room temperature for up to an hour before cooking to allow the seasonings to permeate the meat.  A longer stay in the refrigerator will add a stronger flavor.  Salt should not be added to rub mixtures, because it tends to draw out meat's juices.


Sauces are usually served as tasty complements to food after it's cooked.  The best have an assertive character to balance the rich taste of game.  Some sauces, like barbecue sauce, can be used to baste grilled game, but sauces with sugar or honey easily burn and should only be added toward the end of cooking or used with a low fire and a covered grill.

Quail with Plum Sauce

  • 1 cup plum jelly  
  • 2 tablespoons catsup  
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar  
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard  
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce  
  • 6 quail

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  While the oven is heating, make plum sauce by thoroughly mixing all condiments and spices.  Place quail in a glass baking dish, and roast, uncovered, 15-20 minutes.   Brush with plum sauce, and roast 10 minutes more.  Serve with the remaining plum sauce, heated and presented in a gravy boat.

082100_h_cook1Marinated Venison Shish Kabobs

  • 3 pounds venison, cubed  
  • Kabob vegetables/fruit (your favorites - mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, green pepper, onion, pineapple, etc.)  
  • Bamboo or metal kabob skewers


  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar  
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil  
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion  
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce  
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)  
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned meat tenderizer  
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix marinade ingredients thoroughly in a zip-seal freezer bag.  Add meat, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Pour off marinade. Skewer meat, vegetables and fruit, and grill to desired doneness.

Paprika-Pepper Breakfast Steaks


  • 1-pound venison steak or tenderloin, cut in small pieces 1/4-inch thick

Paprika/Pepper Rub:

  • 1 teaspoon paprika  
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper  
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: Accent flavor enhancer, white pepper  
  • Dash cayenne pepper  
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil  
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Make a rub by thoroughly combining all spices in a small bowl.   Pierce each piece of meat all over, on both sides, with a fork.  Sprinkle each side with rub mix (lightly if you prefer a less spicy taste, heavily for real pizzazz), and press it into the meat.  Allow to sit at room temperature one hour.

Heat olive oil and butter or margarine over medium heat in a small black-iron skillet.  Stir to mix.  Sear each side of the venison pieces in the hot oil/butter mixture, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on each side.  Serve immediately, hot and preferably rare.

Small Game with Honey-Mustard Sauce

  • 1/2 cup honey  
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard  
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice  
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients and use to baste game during last 10 minutes of cooking time. Heat the remaining sauce, and ladle over meat hot off the grill.

Sutton's Special Venison Marinade

  • 1 garlic clove, sliced and mashed  
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar  
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: lemon pepper spice, ground ginger, coarsely ground black pepper  
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil  
  • 2 tablespoons water  
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Mix all ingredients, and pour over 1/2- to 1-inch thick cuts of venison steak or loin in a zip-seal freezer bag.  Seal the bag, and refrigerate 1-4 hours or overnight.  Remove meat from marinade, and cook to desired degree of doneness on the grill or beneath the broiler.

Outdoor Library Homepage: Articles, Tips, Outdoor Gear Reviews
Library Home   |   Hunting   |   Fishing   |   Camping   |   Boating