My go-to juice is pineapple juice, along with adding a bottle of Tiger Sauce. Not only does pineapple juice give your meat a good, sweet flavor, it also contains the enzyme bromelain. Bromelain is the most common form of meat tenderizer used in America.
Tiger Sauce is my favorite dipping sauce for deer meat, as the tanginess compliments the deer flavor to perfection. I've been doing the Tiger Sauce/pineapple juice combination for years, and it's remained my favorite.
I like to let the pineapple juice marinade sit in the meat for several days. Many times I do deer steaks this way by slicing any part of the deer really thin and grilling on the stove with olive oil or cooking the steaks on the BBQ pit. You will never crave a fattening cut of beef again if you can get your much healthier venison to taste just as good. You will be surprised when what should be tough meat breaks apart using just a spoon or fork.
Yes, it gets this tender if done right in just minutes.
My second choice is using a can of Dole's tropical fruit containing papaya and pineapples in passion fruit juice. I'll throw it in the blender with a bit of water first to create a nice juice. Papaya has the enzyme papain, which is a strong meat tenderizer and very popular throughout the world.
If too much of the bromelain or papain is used, the meat can become too mushy after several days, which is why I use just the fruit and juice instead of the fruit's stem, skin or leaves – all of which have the higher concentrations of these enzymes. Plus, the fruit portion gives the delicious flavor.
I don't recommend using too much salt when marinating your meat because salts pull out the moisture that can lead to your meat being too dry.
Other juices work well, too. Apple juice is a common one that adds sweetness. I add it to my usual pineapple juice, or sometimes use the apple juice by itself. Figs also act as a tenderizer as well as they contain ficin, another meat tenderizing enzyme, and give good flavor as well.
The highly acidic levels of lemon and lime juices also help tenderize meat. A little goes a long way with these two juices, so be careful not to use too much. Otherwise your meat may be too sour.
If using honey or other sweeter fruit juices along with the lemon or lime you can create a Caribbean style sweet-and-sour flavor to your meat. But be careful when using lemon and lime juices tend to easily burn on higher heats.
If in a rush, I'll just toss the juices in a Zip-Loc bag with the cut-up meat and finish seasoning the meat after cooking. When I have time, I like to add in chopped onions or onion powder, minced garlic or garlic powder, olive oil, liquid smoke, parsley, sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, Mrs. Dash table blend or other multipurpose seasonings to let put even more flavor in the meat.
Keep in mind that this isn't just for making deer steaks. Many times, I'll marinate my whole roast this way or cut the meat into small chunks, and then marinate before making deer chili, sauce piquante, fajitas, etc.
These juices can be used to make some of the best deer jerky as well. Of course, I use more salt for this, but I marinate with these fruit juices before putting the meat in my dehydrator.
I rarely use store-bought marinades, as many have added fat or high-fructose corn syrups that aren't the healthiest choices and are not nearly as tasty as a fresh homemade recipe.
These marinade ideas can be used on any type of game meat: beef, chicken or seafood.
One of my other favorites is duck marinated with pineapple juice and soy sauce for several days. Pork also does really well with many of these marinades.
By making use of fruit juice, gamey-tasting meat should become a thing of the past even with an ol' mature rutting swamp buck. With these combinations, you can bring the full flavor of your venison to life.
So next time you get bored with your game meat, mix and match some of these fruit juices to add flavor and tenderness.