How-To Guides

How to cook saddle of venison

What is venison saddle?

Venison saddle is taken from the back of the deer, consisting of the two loins. Delivered deboned and expertly butchered to obtain the perfect cut, Swaledale’s saddle venison is neatly rolled and secured with butcher’s string to keep the joint together during cooking.

We recommend roasting your venison saddle low and slow to ensure sublime flavour and juiciness. Saddle of venison is one of the leanest cuts of venison, with its low fat and cholesterol content the perfect excuse for a spot of gluttony during the cold season.

A fabulously tasty and tender alternative to the classic Christmas turkey, learn how to slow roast a showstopping saddle of venison that you can enjoy in moments of celebration with family and friends.

Saddle of venison cooking time

Higher temperatures tend to dry a venison saddle joint out. The best way to produce a mouth-watering, medium-rare roast is to quickly brown the outside of the joint in a pan with foaming butter, before transferring it to the oven at 160-170°C.

We always recommend cooking to temperature using a meat thermometer — aim for your meat to have an internal temperature of 53-54°C (after resting). If you don’t have access to a meat thermometer, timings will vary depending on the size of the joint. As a rough guide, allow 15 minutes of cooking time per 500g of venison saddle.

How to cook saddle of venison

  1. Take your venison saddle from the fridge, remove it from the vacuum packaging and pat dry any moisture.
  2. Allow the meat to come up to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/Fan 150ºC/Gas 3 and heat a heavy-based frying pan on the hob until it starts to smoke.
  4. Rub the joint with olive oil and season well with coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper.
  5. Place the saddle in the pan and begin browning the meat. Keep it moving around the pan and keep rotating the saddle. Once sealed on all sides, add a knob of butter to the pan, turn down the heat slightly, and baste the saddle in the foaming butter. Rotate the saddle and baste again. Continue in this vein until all the saddle has had a generous basting in the butter.
  6. Carefully transfer your venison saddle to a roasting tin and place in the oven. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  7. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and baste the saddle again, before returning to the oven for another ten minutes.
  8. Continue roasting for a total time of 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 48-50°C.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to rest, somewhere warm, for at least 20 minutes.

Top tips

  • An interesting seasoning option would be to crush black pepper, juniper berries, a little picked rosemary, and sea salt in a pestle and mortar. Season the saddle with this before cooking.
  • After you’ve removed your venison saddle from the oven and let it rest, you can make a delicious gravy using the roasting tin juices. Place over medium heat to thicken and strain into a gravy boat. Once you’ve plated up, drizzle over your carved venison.
  • Saddle venison is just as delicious and served cold if you have any leftovers. Take inspiration from Scandinavia by whipping up an exciting salad of sliced venison saddle, crispy onions, red currents, pickled fennel, and drill. Dress with a little oil and sea salt for a salad that bursts with different flavour hits and textures at every mouthful. Alternatively, why not use the cold meat to conjure up a rich, indulgent, and gamey take on shepherd’s pie?

How to carve venison saddle

Carve your Venison saddle width ways into thin slices. Allow around 200g of meat per person.

Roast saddle of venison recipe

This show-stopping Roast venison saddle recipe showcases some of winter’s most glorious colours and ingredients, with the fabulously tender and delicious flavour of the loin meat served alongside red wine lentils, braised radicchio, and pickled walnuts.