A Michelin star-chef’s tips for preparing venison

April 27 2020


A Michelin star-chef’s tips for preparing venison

Norbert Niederkofler and his team combine game meat with Alpine specialties like rowan berries, cabbage root, and lovage seeds. Check out his tips:


Do you have a few tips for us on preparing game?

I’m keen to encourage people to use every part of the animal. Be creative and respect the food that is given to you. There are so many amazing possibilities.


In your experience, what goes well with game?

We combine game with all sorts of herbs and berries. As a rule of thumb, everything that grows together goes together. So this means things that grow in the animal’s habitat. The same applies to the garden: things that grow side-by-side go well together on the plate. Just ask yourself what you find in the animal’s habitat and you’ll rarely go wrong. Mushrooms, for example, go very well with game. Popular side dishes are red cabbage, mashed potatoes, celery root puree, and noodles. Pasta like the local spätzle beautifully enhance the flavor of game. In our dishes we try to balance sweet and sour in the spirit of yin and yang.


How do you recommend cooking venison?

I recommend cooking it in the traditional way over an open fire. My focus is on utilizing all the gifts that nature has provided, so making ham and sausages, pickling the meat, drying it, adding herbs or juniper. In the past, venison was often cooked sous vide, but I don’t think game is really suitable for cooking in a vacuum because you have to be extremely careful. If you leave it slightly too long the meat goes soft and mushy like liver. That’s why we roast venison on a charcoal grill like in the past.


How does it need to be stored? And when should it be shot?

The venison needs to be properly matured. Its flavor is affected by the outside temperature, humidity, even the phase of the moon when it is shot. There’s an old saying that meat has a stronger flavor if the animal is shot when the moon is waxing, and a milder flavor when the moon is waning. I don’t think this is esotericism, but actual fact. If the moon influences the tides, why shouldn’t it have an effect on animals? You can see and taste the difference.

Many thanks for sharing your tips with us.





Norbert grew up in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. His work as a top chef took him to London, Zurich, Milan, Munich, and New York before being drawn back to his roots in the South Tyrol. He has been running the Restaurant St. Hubertus in San Cassiano since 1996. After so many years away, he really appreciates his home region and its local produce, and he is heavily involved in the CARE’s and Cook the Mountain projects.


To learn more about Norbert and his cooking philosophy, read the full interview.

Should you wish to try one of Norbert Niederkofler’s recipes, test your culinary skills with the “GRILLED VENISON WITH LOVAGE SEED SAUCE”.

If you wish to share your own favorite game meat recipe, please kindly do so here.

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