There are lots of great ways to get creative when cooking with wild game, but sometimes just a few tweaks to an old recipe for comfort food can be both incredibly pleasing and easy. Such is the case with this venison meatloaf, which can be made with almost any ground meat, but is specially geared toward those drier wild game meats like whitetail, mule deer, and bison. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 to 70 minutes
Serves: 8


Venison Meatloaf with Bacon
The bacon on top will add flavor to the meat below as it cooks. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/
  • 2-pounds ground venison, or other wild game
  • 6-8 strips of bacon (wild boar bacon works well)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 small green pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 2 large farm eggs, or 3 smaller eggs
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Pepper to taste



Venison Meatloaf with Bacon
If you're only serving a few people, you can always divide the dish between two pans and save one for later. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Begin by prepping the ingredients. We usually opt to rough chop our vegetables for a more rustic meatloaf, but fine chopping is more customary. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Then add in all the other ingredients except the bacon, which will be saved for the top. Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands to mix everything thoroughly. 

This is a large recipe. But since we were expecting company, we chose to shape this into one single large loaf and skip a traditional pan. Instead, we simply used a large baking pan. If you’re cooking for a couple, this is a great recipe to divide into two loaf pans and freeze one for later. 

When shaped, drape the bacon over the top. As the dish cooks, the fat from the bacon keeps the dry wild game meat much moister and amps up the flavor of this meatloaf. We actually added little to no salt because the bacon imparts its own. 

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees over roughly 60 minutes for a single large dish. Depending on the shape and size of your loaf or loaves, adjust the time accordingly. 

Depending on how you shape your meatloaf, you may want to cut the strips of bacon in half to drape just over the top so they crisp up. If your meatloaf is nearly done before the bacon has finished, give it just a few minutes under a hot broiler. When it’s done, let that baby rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving it up. 


You can go old-school comfort food and serve this up with rustic mashed potatoes, foraged mushroom gravy, and a vegetable. Crusty bread is a superb addition. Plus, there’s the added bonus of having the ideal canvas for a leftover meatloaf sandwich the next day. 

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