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This homemade venison dry rub is one of my favorites, especially when comes to pan-seared steaks. While you can technically use this rub for grilled venison steaks, you won't get the nice toasted notes that come from cooking the steaks in a heavy-bottomed skillet with some fat. And when it comes to grilling steaks that have a dry rub coating on them, the likelihood of you burning them increases greatly, especially when cooking with dry high heat.

Venison Dry Rub Recipe

This recipe calls for some of the seasonings to come in their "whole forms", and by that I mean, not pre-ground. The reason for this is so that they can be toasted before being ground in a coffee or spice grinder. Toasting the seasonings beforehand greatly enhances their flavors and totally changes the flavor profile of your steaks. And don't worry, these are simple ingredients that can be found at just about every grocery store or online. With that being said, you do have the option of using seasonings that have already been ground, just follow the same measurements. But just know that you're missing out on the best thing you can possibly do for homemade seasonings.


Dried Thyme:

A workhorse herb that pairs with almost anything. Dried thyme packs a concentrated punch compared to fresh.

Dried Basil:

The herb everyone knows. Dried basil works where fresh basil doesn't. And that's with spice mixtures for meats and slow cooking.

Cumin Seeds:

A bittersweet seed with nutty flavors and aroma.

Coriander Seeds:

A moderate-intensity flavored seed that offers subtle fruity notes.

Fennel Seeds:

A light and sweet flavored seed with hints of anise.

Chili Powder:

A mild chili powder like ancho works best with these spices. However, you could substitute it with a spicy chili powder or even paprika.

Black Peppercorns:

A hidden secret is to toast black peppercorns. It brings a nutty sweetness to the pepper.

Kosher Salt:

You can use sea salt or kosher salt. Just be sure to stay away from iodized salt, as it gives odd flavors to your meats.

Toasting The Spices For The Best Flavor

You have a couple of different options to achieve the best results when it comes to toasting the spices. The best way to toast small batches is by placing them in a large skillet in an even layer and cooking them over a medium-low temperature for a few minutes. Just make sure to stir or toss them about every 30 seconds. You will know when they are done when they become noticeably more fragrant and darken just a bit. This process should take no more than around 5 minutes.

Another great way and also one of the easiest ways is to toast them once again in an even layer, but this time in an oven using indirect heat. A good temperature range to toast them is between 330 degrees F and 350 degrees F. After a minute or so, give the pan a shake to move them around for even toasting. While this works for small-batch toasting, I recommend using this method for working with larger batches of seasonings. 

Grinding Spices For The Perfect Texture

The reason why most pre-made steak spice rubs that are found in the store are horrible is because of the chunky texture. They are often processed into a coarse texture that doesn't stick to the steaks and what is there is usually burned and cooked unevenly. By grinding your spices to a smooth fine texture, they will coat the meat evenly and you will have a beautifully coated steak that will have a golden and richly colored crust.

Making Larger Batches and Storing Your Spice Rub

You can double or even triple the recipe for this dry rub, the quantity is up to you. After the spices have been cooled and ground, place the mixture in an airtight container and store it in a cool dark place. It will last for months without losing many of its fresh qualities. 

Cuts Of Meat To Use With This Rub

You have options to choose from in regards to the cut of venison to work with. If you plan on making a traditional pan-roasted steak, backstraps (aka deer loins), top round, bottom round, venison tenderloin (aka inner loin), or eye of round will work great. You also have the option of using this homemade rub for a venison roast using the sirloin or ball toast.

For roasts, a perfect way is to coat the deer meat on all sides with a light coating of olive oil followed by the dry rub. Then sear in a large cast iron skillet until golden brown, and then roast in the oven until you reach your desired internal temperature. You can also this as a venison jerky seasoning or for a venison burger if you like, just rub it on the surface of the meat before cooking. If you're interested in using this rub for other wild game, it's excellent on wild boar chops or wild hog Boston butts.

Venison Rub Recipe

If you make this simple venison steak seasoning, be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! Also, tag me on Instagram with some of your creations. I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.



Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Process Time: 5 Minutes

Author: Larry White


For a 1/3 Cup Batch 

  • 4 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds

  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder ( I like to use ancho or guajillo)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For a 1 Cup Batch

  • 1/4 cup whole coriander seeds

  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds

  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds

  • 1 tablespoon dried basil

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder 

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt


  1. Preheat a large skillet over medium-low heat. If using an oven, preheat it between 330 and 350 degrees F. 

  2. Spread the coriander, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and black pepper in an even layer in your skillet or baking sheet.

  3. Cook the seasonings and give them a toss every 30 seconds if using and pan. They will start smelling fragrant in around 3 to 5 minutes and will have lightly darkened. At this point, remove them from the heat and let them cool to room temperature.

  4. If cooking in the oven you only need to toss them once at around the 3-minute mark. After tossing cook them for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

  5. ​After the seasonings have cooled, place them along with the remaining ingredients into a spice grinder or a coffee grinder. Grind them until smooth

  6. Place the freshly ground seasonings in an air-tight container if not using right away. If stored properly, they will keep for a few months before they start to lose their quality.

Dry Rub For Venison Backstrap


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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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