Deer Venison Meatballs Appetizer

I grew up in a family of hunters. One of the earliest pictures of me is with my grandfather with a deer hanging above our heads. Each year my father, grandfather, and uncle would hunt together and then they would equally split the deer meat among them. Some years, when they all got a deer, the meat was plentiful. It was in those years that some of my mother’s most inventive venison recipes were created.

My parents cut their own steaks and roasts from the carcass and ground their own venison hamburger. The liver always went to my grandparents since no one else would eat it. I always liked venison roasts, stews, steaks, and hamburgers, but my favorite way to have venison as a child was in mother’s venison meatballs. We did not have these often as they were usually served at special occasions when we had guests.

Venison Meatball Appetizer


1 pound ground venison
1/4 cup milk
1 medium onion, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/4 cup ketchup


1.Combine first five ingredients.
2.Shape meat mixture into 50 bite-sized meatballs and lightly coat with flour.
3. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the meatballs and brown.
4. Remove meatballs, stir the remaining ingredients into the skillet, and bring to a boil.
5. Return the meatballs to the skillet, turn the heat down, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

As an appetizer my mother would serve these hot with fancy toothpicks. I always liked when there were leftovers and we would have them with mashed potatoes the next day. No matter how you serve these they will be a hit with your family or guests.


© 2019 Paul Timman