Sporting Chef: Smoked Trout Appetizer & Marinated Venison Appetizer with Sweet Mustard Sauce


Smoked Trout Appetizer

3/4 cup kosher salt

1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 trout (1 pound each), cleaned, deboned

Combine salt, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Rub fish on inside and outside with mixture. Place in dish, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. Remove trout from dish. Place on rack. Air-dry in refrigerator until shiny (about 2 hours). Place the trout in a low-temperature smoker for 1 to 2 hours or until firm.

Marinated Venison Appetizer with Sweet Mustard Sauce

This recipe will work with the hindquarter muscles of young animals and, of course, tenderloins or backstraps. The Sweet Mustard Sauce is great served on just about any big or little game—even pork chops. Let the sauce sit in the fridge separately for a while to let the flavors “marry.”

Marinated Venison

1 pound venison, trimmed of all silver skin, fat and gristle

2 tablespoons olive oil

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1/4 cup dry red wine

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh herbs: rosemary, oregano, basil or sage

2 tablespoons peppercorns, crushed

Sweet Mustard Sauce

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 cup red currant jelly

1 lemon, juice only

1 tablespoon chopped sage

Mix all these ingredients for the sauce together with a whisk. Set aside in the fridge.

Combine venison with marinating ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2–3 hours. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides until medium-rare. Remove from heat. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Slice across the grain into thin slices. Arrange slices on a plate and serve with the sauce that has been set aside.


Known as “The Sporting Chef,” Scott Leysath has been an executive chef for more than 20 years, and is a leading expert on cooking fish and game. Author of multiple cookbooks, including “The Sporting Chef’s Better Venison Cookbook,” he hosts “The Sporting Chef” and “DeadMeat” TV shows on Sportsman Channel.