Field to Plate - Venison Salisbury Steak Meatballs Recipe

Introducing a unique twist on a classic dish, these Venison Salisbury Steak Meatballs blend savory flavors with the lean, rich taste of venison. Perfectly seasoned and served in a delectable mushroom gravy, these meatballs offer a delightful variation on the traditional Salisbury steak. Each bite is tender, flavorful, and sure to impress. Whether served over mashed potatoes or alongside your favorite vegetables, this recipe promises a satisfying and memorable dining experience. Let's dive into creating this delicious venison rendition of a beloved comfort food classic, but first the story… 

Alone in the vast expanse of California's desert landscape, I embarked on a solo mule deer hunt that would test both my skills as a hunter and my connection to the desert. With my backpack stocked and rifle in hand, I set out before dawn, following trails marked by the tracks of wildlife and the occasional footprint of another adventurer.

As the sun crept above the horizon, casting long shadows across the desert floor, I paused to scan the surrounding hillsides. There, I spotted a small group of mule deer grazing on the sparse vegetation on a far canyon side. Excitement surged through me as I devised a plan to approach without being detected.

Carefully navigating the rugged terrain, I moved with deliberate steps, using natural features for cover. I kept my movements slow and deliberate, mindful of every sound. The desert seemed to hold its breath as I closed the distance between myself and the herd.

250 yards, as close as I can get, I settled into a comfortable position behind a cluster of rocks. Took a moment to steady my breathing and calm my racing heartbeat. Through the scope of my rifle, I focused on the mature buck standing on a rocky outcrop, its antlers silhouetted against the brightening sky as he scanned for anything out of place.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl as I waited for the perfect opportunity. The buck lifted its head, took a step from behind his safety rock. I seized the moment, my finger squeezing the trigger with practiced precision. The shot rang out, echoing across the desert, and the buck fell cleanly to the ground.

As I made the hike, a mixture of emotions washed over me—pride in my marksmanship, gratitude for the opportunity to harvest my own food, and a deep respect for the animal that would provide sustenance. I set to work field dressing the deer with efficiency, a task honed through years of hunting experience and one of my favorite parts.

With the sun now high in the sky, I packed the meat carefully, ensuring nothing went to waste. I reflected on the solitude of the desert, the quiet companionship of nature, and the satisfaction of self-reliance. It was a solitary hunt, but one filled with connection to the land and the rhythms of life and death.

As I made my way back to the truck, with the weight of the deer on my shoulders, I felt a profound sense of accomplishment. The desert had tested me, rewarded me, and left me with memories that would linger long after the hunt was over. In that solitary moment, surrounded by the beauty of the California desert, I knew I had experienced something truly special—a communion with nature and a meal waiting for me only a hunt could provide.

Venison Salisbury Steak Meatballs



1 pound ground venison

½ cup breadcrumbs

¼ cup milk

½ tsp salt

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp cracked pepper

½ brown onion, chopped finely

1 egg


1 tbsp. oil

2 tbsp butter

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ onion, sliced

6 oz mushrooms, sliced

3 tbsp flour

2 .5 cups bone broth, venison, or beef

1 tsp dried mustard (or 2 tsp Dijon mustard)

2 tsp Worcestershire

½ tsp salt

1 tsp pepper




  1. In a glass bowl combine all meatball ingredients and combine with your hands.
  2. Take 1-2 tbsp of meat mixture and make golf ball sized meatballs by rolling in your hands.
  3. Either place meatballs in oven at 375º for 30 minutes on a lined sheet pan or in a skillet add 1-2 tbsp of oil and pan fry your meatballs for 5-6 minutes on all sides
  4. Set meatballs aside 


  1. If using a skillet to cook your meatballs add oil and your sliced onions, sauté for 2-4 minutes until onions are soft, add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  2. Coat your veggies in flour and add butter, once butter has melted slowly add your broth stirring as you pour.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add meatballs. Continue cooking until meatballs are fully cooked and gravy thickens. If gravy is too thick you can add more broth ½ cup at a time.
  4. Plate over mashed potatoes and finish with chopped parsley. 

Jeremiah Doughty

From Field To Plate.