Venison fillets are cuts of deer meat. These portions of meat are known a bit differently in various regions of the world. The term "venison" applies to deer meat, whether it is raised or farmed.
In the past, venison referred to a wider range of wild meats. In the twenty first century, it is commonly used only for meats from the family of animals related to the deer, or Cervidae, family. In North America, this applies to the common wild deer. In some regions of Africa, the meat of certain antelope species may also be regarded as venison.
In many areas of the world, beef and pork are the dominant steak meats. Venison fillets represent an alternative to fillets from meats of commonly farmed livestock. The use of fillets or steaks of meat is extremely popular in the cuisines of Britain and other parts of Europe, as well as Canada, America, and other English speaking nations in the West. Here, venison fillets are often seen as a secondary type of meat dish.
The uniqueness of venison fillet recipes in many countries relates to the fact that, in North America and elsewhere, deer is more commonly hunted than farmed. Massive wild deer populations in the United States supply rural populations with low-cost meat. Venison fillets are a prime use for wild caught deer.
While venison fillet cuts are often taken from the side or hind leg of the deer, other cuts can also be made into thin strips of meat or steaks. Like other kinds of steaks, venison fillets can be enjoyed rare or well cooked. Food experts advise cooking venison until it is well-done, just as other meats are more safe to eat when properly cooked to kill bacteria.
In general, a venison fillet can be tougher than beef and harder to cook. Some of the appeal of venison is that fillets of this meat are usually leaner than beef or pork alternatives. That makes it more important to treat the meat carefully, and try to manage its tough or dry qualities.
To make venison fillet presentations more palatable, many cooks use common spices or garnishes. Some popular spices for venison cuts include salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and cumin. Olive oil or vinegar may be used to soften or otherwise improve the dish. In some world cuisines, venison may also be made with red wine sauce.