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Venison Steak Sandwich with Caramalised Onions, Beetroot Relish and Cucumber pickles

By MacLean Fraser


I threw together this particular sandwich when I was out doing some hunting with Scott McNeil of Awatoru when they were filming him for Country Calendar and needed something to cook at the end of the day’s hunt.


I’ve had a few people (maybe at least one person!) ask me for the recipe for this steak sandwich so here you go! The recipe is for one sandwich however the pickle and relish recipes will make more than enough for a few sandwiches. They can be used in other dishes such as with burgers or a cheese board (or whatever you like really!) and will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.


Because of the high sugar and vinegar content in the recipes they don’t go off easy and you could take some with you on the hunt and if you shoot a deer then could throw this recipe together (or take a chef hunting and get him to do it for you!).


INGREDIENTS: For one sandwich

1 Piece (about 150g) Venison backsteak

2 Slices sourdough (or other nice bread)

Rocket and watercress (or lettuce of your choice)

Butter, room temperature


Beetroot relish

3 Large beetroot

1/2 Cup Cider vinegar

1/2 Cup Raw sugar

1 Orange, zest (finely grated) and juice

1 Bay leaf

1/2 Cinnamon stick

1/2 Red chilli, seeds removed

Cucumber pickle

2 Cucumbers, sliced

1 Onion, finely sliced

1/4 Cup salt

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3/4 Cup White wine vinegar

3/4 Cup Water

3/4 Cup White sugar

1 Tsp Whole grain mustard

1/2 Tsp Mustard powder

1 Tsp Turmeric


Caramalised onions:

6 Onions

2 Tbs butter

1 Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs balsamic vinegar



For the beetroot relish: Peel and grate the beetroot (wear gloves unless you want your hands to be pink for a couple of days). Combine all of the ingredients together in a pot and simmer over a low heat until the liquid in the pot becomes syrupy and the beetroot is nice and tender.


This will take a couple of hours so make sure you keep an eye on it and stir it so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper.


For the cucumber pickle: Toss the sliced cucumber and onion in bowl with the salt. Cover with cold tap water and leave for an hour in order for the cucumber and onion to soften. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Combine all the other ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil then pour over the drained cucumber and onion. Leave to cool.


For the caramalised onions: Peel and slice the onions and cook out over a low heat in a pot with the butter, sugar and vinegar until softened and a dark golden brown.



Trim any silver skin and chain off your back strap and brush with a little cooking oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or pan fry on a high heat to rare (about 2-4 mins each side depending on the size of your back strap) and rest somewhere warm for 5 mins to let the meat relax and the juices set.

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Butter the bread and grill or toast over a high heat until it’s got a nice crunch on the outside but just nice and soft and warm in the middle. Carve your venison and hit it was a little bit of salt. Assemble your sandwich with some mayo, caramalised onions, some salad, the cucumber pickle, sliced venison and some beetroot relish.


Enjoy with a cold beverage, my pick is a Garage Project Garagista IPA!


About MacLean

“I am a professional chef and amateur hunter. I have spent time hunting in most of the North Island ranges but do most of my hunting in the Tararua’s.


Working as a chef has sent me to several locations in the world and I have worked in New Zealand, Malaysia, Cook Islands and the Maldives.


I first started out hunting rabbits and possums with my old man when I was a kid before moving on to goats and deer as I grew older. As a chef I like to use the best produce available. Hunters when killing humanely and taking only what they need can end up cooking with not only the most ethically harvested meat but when dealt with properly, the best quality also.


I think it’s really important to know where your food comes from and how best not to waste it, and that’s why I think hunting and cooking marry so well together and that’s what I hope to promote and achieve through sharing the recipes and techniques we use to cook wild game professionally.”




MacLean Fraser,

Executive Chef,

Artisan Dining House,

Bolton Hotel,



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