Easy Venison Meatloaf Recipe

Meatloaf is a classic American dish and family favorite. Typically made with ground beef and ground pork and smothered in a ketchup-based glaze, it's often served up as a quick weeknight dinner. Not only is it quick to make, it's really easy to prepare, too. Though meatloaf is delicious as-is, we thought it'd be fun to give this all-time favorite dinner a spin!

Chef Tara Rylie of RylieCakes created this meatloaf recipe with venison in mind. Venison — a word used to refer to mostly elk or deer meat — is often richer and earthier in flavor and firmer in texture. It has less fat than its beef or pork counterparts, and more protein, making it a healthier option when it comes to eating meat from an animal. With the addition of herbs and veggies, and replacing the usual ketchup-based glaze with a garlic-butter sauce, this easy venison meatloaf recipe will give you all the vibes from a fancy restaurant while maintaining the same down-to-earth, comfort food feeling that we all know and love from meatloaf. It's sure to be a big hit on your dinner table, and it's also a great choice when entertaining guests. When served on a platter surrounded with any veggies and maybe potatoes you decide to make, it will be a great presentation — and you will not have to work really hard in the kitchen, either.

Follow along and see just how easy this recipe is to whip up, this recipe is a keeper!

Gather your ingredients to prepare this easy venison meatloaf

Before you begin any recipe, you should always start by gathering up your ingredients and preparing whatever you can in advance. For this recipe, you'll need ground venison, ground pork, celery, garlic cloves, an onion, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, fresh chives, salt, pepper, eggs, mayonnaise, and breadcrumbs. In summertime, you may have some of these items fresh in your garden or at your local farmers market. For the sauce, you'll also need chicken stock and butter — we'll cover that after we put together the meatloaf portion.

Ground venison is often found in the freezer section at most grocery stores. If you can't find it there, try your local butcher. Most butchers carry some form of venison, whether it be deer, elk, or bison, and if it's not fresh, no problem. Frozen ground venison will absolutely work for this recipe — just remember to defrost it the night before cooking, and you will be ready to start the recipe.

After gathering and prepping your ingredients, preheat your oven to 375 F, and coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set the pan aside while mixing the meatloaf together — you will get back to it in a bit.

Mixing up the meatloaf is as easy as pie

Next, in a large mixing bowl, combine the ground venison, ground pork, chopped celery, two roughly minced garlic cloves, 1 cup of chopped onion, chopped thyme, 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley, chopped chives, salt, and pepper. Mash it all together with your hands if you don't mind getting a little messy, or with a wooden spoon until well-combined. The mixture will seem abundantly full of fresh herbs and veggies front and center at first, but just keep mixing. It will all come together beautifully once a little moisture is added in the next step. Mixing is important, you want to get a bit of flavor in every bite, so do it thoroughly.

If you're not a fan of the thyme, chives, and/or parsley, you can substitute any of these with rosemary, scallions, or even some dried sage. The most important thing is that you use a combination of herbs so no one herb overpowers another. Make it your own — it is sure to be amazing.

Every meatloaf needs a binder

The next step is to add your two eggs, mayonnaise, and breadcrumbs to the meat mixture. Again, mix these items in with your hands or a wooden spoon until they are combined well.

Eggs and breadcrumbs serve as binders in this recipe, helping to hold everything together. We wouldn't recommend leaving either out of the recipe, though the breadcrumbs can be replaced with crushed-up crackers or potato chips, whichever you might have in the house. Any tweaks you decide to do will make the recipe your own. Venison naturally is a very lean meat, so the use of ground pork which has a little more fat content to it and the addition of mayonnaise here help add moisture to the final product.

Making meatloaf even easier with a loaf pan

Once your meatloaf mixture is thoroughly combined, place it into the prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes or until its internal temperature is 160 F. Meatloaf isn't finicky to bake — after 45 minutes, it should be done. The edges will be a little crisp and golden, and that's perfectly okay. Let your meatloaf cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting and removing from the pan.

If you don't have a loaf pan or want to save on dishes, you can always form your meatloaf into a rectangular loaf shape on top of parchment paper placed on a half sheet pan. Just pay attention to the size of your meatloaf. If it's longer than 9-inches, it won't be as thick and therefore won't take as long to cook. Adjust your time accordingly.

It's all about the sauce

While your meatloaf is cooking, it's time to whip up your sauce. To do this, you will combine the chicken stock, butter, and remaining 10 cloves of roughly minced garlic in a small saucepan. Bring the ingredients in your pot to a full boil and then adjust your heat to medium-low so that the mixture continues to boil, but only ever so lightly. Let the sauce simmer here for the remaining time the meatloaf is cooking. The sauce will not thicken much during this time, but it will reduce slightly and develop a lot of flavor.

You can use vegetable or beef stock in place of the chicken stock here, but butter and garlic are a must-have — there are no substitutes!

Liberally pour on the garlic-butter sauce

Once the meatloaf is removed from its pan and ready to serve, remove your garlic-butter sauce from the stove and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley. Season it with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. If the chicken stock you use already has salt, no additionally seasoning may be needed.

Then, it's time to liberally spoon about half of the sauce over the meatloaf, reserving some for individual servings as well. We suggest eating this meatloaf as soon as it's dished up, however, it does reheat well. Both the meatloaf and the garlic-butter sauce can easily be reheated in the microwave, and we promise you the leftovers are just as good as the first time! Well, that's if you are lucky enough to have any leftovers. This dish is so delicious, it's quite possible your crew will finish it all in one sitting. Enjoy!

Easy Venison Meatloaf Recipe
5 from 20 ratings
This easy venison meatloaf recipe will give you all the vibes from a fancy restaurant while maintaining the same comfort food feeling that we all know and love.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
45
minutes
Servings
10
servings
slices of venison meatloaf
Total time: 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 12 fresh garlic cloves, roughly minced + divided
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped + divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1¼ cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup butter
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, then set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine the venison, pork, celery, 2 cloves of garlic, diced onion, thyme, 1 tablespoon of parsley, chives, salt, and pepper. Mash together with hands or wooden spoon until well-combined.
  3. Add the eggs, mayonnaise, and breadcrumbs to the meat mixture. Fold to combine.
  4. Place the meat mixture into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes or until internal temperature is 160 F. When done, let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting and removing from pan.
  5. While the meatloaf is cooking, combine the chicken stock, butter, and remaining 10 cloves of garlic in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil, and then adjust heat to medium-low so mixture continues to boil very lightly. Let it simmer the remaining time the meatloaf is cooking.
  6. Once the meatloaf is removed from the pan and ready to serve, remove sauce from the heat, and add remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  7. Spoon some of sauce over the meatloaf, reserving some for individual servings as well. Eat while it's warm.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 322
Total Fat 18.8 g
Saturated Fat 7.6 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 92.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 2.5 g
Sodium 456.7 mg
Protein 22.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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