Japanese Teriyaki Venison Meatballs
This is a traditional Japanese style of meatball called niku dango, and it’s damn good. It’s basically a teriyaki meatball, normally made with pork. Venison works fine. They are pretty simple venison meatballs, made “Japanese” with the addition of ginger, green onion, coarse panko breadcrumbs and soy sauce in the mix. All by itself, it’s a nice meatball.
The star of this show is the sauce, which is essentially a homemade teriyaki. Could you use store-bought teriyaki sauce? I suppose you could. But homemade is better. That’s really all there is to this venison meatball recipe: Easy meatballs glazed with a homemade teriyaki sauce, dusted with sesame seeds. Stick a toothpick in each meatball and you have a great party appetizer. Toss a few on top of some steamed rice and you have an easy weeknight meal. But a fair warning: Make more than you think you’ll need. People seem to be unable to control themselves while eating these…
I don’t like a super sweet sauce, so I only have the 1 tablespoon of sugar in it; mirin is also sweet (it’s a sweetened cooking wine you can get in most supermarkets) so that’s enough for me. Feel free to double the amount of sugar if you like a typical sweet teriyaki sauce.
Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 2 pounds finely ground venison
- 3 tablespoons minced green onions
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons potato or corn starch
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a bowl. Mix all the sauce ingredients in another bowl.
Form meatballs anywhere from the size of a walnut to the size of golf ball. For best results, set the meatballs on a baking sheet and put it into the fridge for an hour to firm up. But you can cook the meatballs straight away if you’d like.
Cook the meatballs. You can deep fry them at 360°F for about 5 minutes, or you can poach them in simmering water for about the same amount of time (they’re ready when they float); or you can bake the meatballs at 400°F for about 20 minutes.
Glaze the venison meatballs. Whisk the sauce together so the starch doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl, and pour it into a large saute pan. Bring it to a boil and add the cooked meatballs. Roll them around in the hot sauce to glaze for 30 seconds or so. Move the teriyaki meatballs to a serving plate and sprinkle sesame seeds over them. Serve hot as an appetizer or with rice.
You can find more delicious recipes from Hank on his blog. While there, you can also grab one of his comprehensive, lushly photographed, full-color cookbooks, currently on sale at reduced prices. Hank’s wild fish and game cookbooks are not only packed with recipes from all around the world, they also deliver master classes on everything from butchering, aging, and storing your meat to making sausage to the proper way to clean and prepare fish. These books have it all and are a must for anyone who hunts or fishes.