Prickly Pepper Venison Steaks

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Let the prickly pear recipes continue!

Whenever Coach and I want something a little sweet and a little spicy we love to use jelly to sweeten the deal. In this case we used some of our Prickly Pear Jelly in our marinade, but peach and apple jellies are excellent additions to marinades, too.

I wanted to marinate these steaks for several hours to really infuse the meat with the spicy sweet flavors. When I marinate for extended periods of time I try to avoid salt and acid in the first hours of marinating. Later in the marinating process I add some lime and salt.

To start marinating the venison steaks, this is what you need:

Venison Steaks  |  Chili Ancho  |  Pepper  |  Prickly Pear Jelly  |  Paprika  |  Minced garlic

You’ll also need a lime and some salt in a little bit.

This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate link disclosure shared below.

If you’ve made my Award Winning Venison Chili you’ve seen me use dried chili pods before. In the chili recipe I used Chili Pasilla Pods. I expected these Chili Ancho Pods to work the same, but they were a little different. I’ll explain below.


Step 1 ~ 15 minutes

Place two chili pods in a small sauce pan and “cover” with water.

The chilies will actually float.

Bring the water to a boil and simmer the chilies for about 10 minutes.

Allow the chilies to cool, then remove them.


Step 2 ~ 5 minutes

Place the chilies on a cutting board and cut a slit down one side, opening the chilies flat. Remove the seeds.

This is where the Chili Ancho Pods are different from the Pasilla pods. The Pasilla pods can be scraped to remove the pulp from the skin. The skin of the Ancho pods are not as tough as the Pasilla pods, and don’t scrape like I expected. Instead, place the deseeded Ancho pods into a food processor. Add a little water from the saucepan and puree the chilies.

It looks a lot like mole.

Use enough water to yield a ½ c of puree.


Step 3 ~  2 – 4 hours

We’ll season the marinade with Prickly Pear Jelly {or any jelly you have on hand}, paprika, minced garlic, and pepper.

Measure an equal amount of jelly into the pepper sauce, in my case ½ c.

Stir to combine the jelly and the peppers.

Arrange the steaks in a large flat dish and season them on both sides with paprika, dried minced garlic, and coarse ground pepper.

Spread the jelly mixture over both sides of the steaks and refrigerate for several hours.


Step 4 ~ 30 minutes – 2 hours

Just before firing up the grill, squeeze the juice of a lime over the marinated steaks.

Sprinkle them generously with salt.

I admittedly did not use enough salt on mine. I have a phobia of over-salting food, but I withheld too much here. Using sea salt would have probably been a better choice since you can see the sea salt and know better how much you’ve applied.

Return the steaks to the refrigerator and prepare a hot fire. We grilled these steaks after a drizzly day, so I used charcoal briquettes instead of oak since my wood was wet.

As always, my handy chimney starter did the trick quickly and easily!


Step 5 ~ 10 minutes

My steaks had been marinating for about 4½ hours total.

When the coals are good and hot,

arrange the venison steaks over the grill.

Cook the steaks for 4 to 5 minutes per side, aiming for medium-rare doneness.

I didn’t document this process, but I chose to serve my steaks with cilantro rice and sautéed bell peppers and onions.

The sautéed peppers and onions made this meal! Mix each bite of steak with a bite of peppers and onions for maximum drooling. I’m normally one of those people who hates for my foods to touch each other, but I found myself slicing up my steaks and mixing it all together with the rice and peppers. It totally works together!

Coach’s review of this dish was that it just needed a little more salt, which I’ve already admitted. Another way to do that would be to incorporate a little bit of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce at the same time as the lime juice. Don’t add too much or it will overpower the other flavors and take away some of the stickiness of the jelly marinade, but a subtle hint of either flavor would be delicious.

What’s your favorite sweet and spicy marinade? Tell us in the comments!

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