We’re lucky in South Africa to be able to enjoy fantastic game meat. Venison may have a reputation of being difficult to cook, or you may not know how to spice it to do the flavour justice. A good cut doesn’t need much though, so no fancy marinades here and a simple seasoning.

For sous vide cooking there’s always the debate about whether or not to add fat to the bag for cooking. Venison in particular is lean, so a perfect cut to experiment whether it makes a difference whether you do or don’t at butter, and what the difference is. 

Our verdict: yes it does make a big difference, and we preferred the cut cooked in butter. It was juicier and softer, doing more justice to the flavour. 

Ingredients:

  •  500g Eland sirloin
  •  50g Butter
  •  1/2 tbsp Thyme
  •  Salt & Pepper

Method:

  1. Prepare your sous vide water bath
    Fill a container with water and place the sous vide immersion circulator in the bath. Set temperature at 54C degrees.
  2. Prepare the meat
    Season the meat with salt, pepper and thyme on both sides. Freshly ground peppercorns are preferred, however don’t go overboard as you would overpower the meat. 
  3. Prepare the bag
    Place the meat in a vacuum bag and pour the butter in. Roll around so that all sides are buttered. Vacuum seal, or use the immersion technique and seal the bag.
  4. Cook the meat
    Drop the bag in the sous vide bath, and cook for 2 hours. After cooking time, remove the bag from the bath, and leave to cool slightly.
  5. Sear the meat
    The finishing touch is the crust of the meat, which is achieved by searing on a piping hot cast iron skillet (or on the braai). High heat is important to create a crust very quickly, without further cooking the meat. Sear all sides. Leave to rest for a few minutes, and then slice to serve.

This beautiful cut goes well with warm, earthy flavours. Serve it with air fryer carrot fries with thyme, and beetroot barley.

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