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Mexican flavors abound in this boldly seasoned dish by Mark Cockcroft. Poblanos usually have a pleasant mild heat but for a less spicy version try a large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper. You can also use venison bone broth as a decent substitute for the milk in the sauce though it won’t be as creamy. Masa harina is a corn flour used to make tortillas and helps thicken the sauce and works really well with the other classic Mexican ingredients. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes, or with a few corn tortillas if you wish. 

Serves: 4 Prep/Cooking time: 15/40 minutes. 


  • 2 lbs venison strip loin
  • 1 poblano chile (can sub with red, orange, or yellow bell pepper)
  • 2 tsp Ancho chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (stems and leaves)
  • 1 Tbsp masa harina or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk (can sub with bone broth)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 



STEP 1: First, roast the poblano under the broiler or over an open flame until the skin is blackened all over, about 5-10 minutes then place in a bowl and cover to let steam for at least 15 minutes. 

STEP 2: Next, in a small bowl, mix together the chile and cocoa powder, black pepper, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside until ready to use.

STEP 3: When chiles have steamed and are cool enough to handle, rub all blackened skin off and remove stem, seeds, and ribs. Roughly chop and put in a blender along with the garlic, cilantro, masa harina, milk, and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and creamy.

STEP 4: Add the sauce to a small saucepan and gently heat over low, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes to slightly thicken. If the sauce is too thick add a splash of milk, if it’s too thin add another tsp of masa. Taste and season with salt as needed. Keep warm.

STEP 5: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Liberally sprinkle the spice rub all over the venison.

STEP 6: Add the oil to the pan and then the venison. Cook, turning often, until richly browned and done to your liking (I like medium rare – pulled at about 125F – about 4 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the cut). Let rest on a cutting board for a few minutes. 

STEP 7: Drizzle sauce on 4 plates and add rice or mashed potatoes if using. Cut venison into thick slices and place on top of sauce. Season with a sprinkle of salt if desired. Enjoy!


We’d love to see what you create! Share a photo of your Spiced Striploin with us on Facebook and Instagram @MauiNuiVenison using #MauiNuiVenison.

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