Home-Made Marinade

Natalie Smith and husband Sean have the sauce.

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Natalie Smith

Cooking has been a part of Natalie Smith’s life for as long as she can remember. “My mom and dad always had sit–down family dinners together. Some of my most memorable conversations always happen around the family dinner table,” Smith says.

Natalie and her husband, Sean, have been married for 21 years and are the parents of two sons, Ryan, 18, and Blake, 15. “Sean and I love our family dinners together. We always laugh and say our boys are spoiled because we do eat hot breakfast and dinners most days.”

Smith and her grandmother, Sue Merrill, wrote and published a cookbook together in 2001, and the work sold over 1,000 copies. “That was a great joy to do with my grandmother. She is now 90 years old,” Smith says.

“We designed our kitchen around the passion we have for cooking. Both of our boys are learning how to love cooking. We came home one day for lunch this summer and they had some of their friends over cooking for them. It is such a joy to see the love of cooking continuing into another generation,” Smith says.

The Smith family is composed of all boys that like to hunt, and they are proud to bring home their kill to cook. “One day my husband Sean and I were in the kitchen trying to figure out a different marinade for the tenderloin. We just started mixing ingredients together and this is what we came up with. We have also used this on steaks and chicken for many years, too.”

Venison Marinade


1 Venison Tenderloin (remove all silk)

3 Tablespoons of honey

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 Cloves garlic minced

1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Place the tenderloin in a stainless steel bowl, heat other ingredients to combine flavors. Pour over venison. Refrigerate over night.


Place meat on grill. Indirect heat. Bast meat with marinade as it cooks.Cook meat to 130 -135  degrees. Remove meat from grill. Lay aluminum foil over top, we call this tent the meat.  (Do not cover/ wrap tightly) Tent for at least 10 minutes or until ready to serve. Slice thin and serve.

Secrets to cooking venison:

Venison is 100% lean meat. Preparing the meat is the most important. Make sure to remove ALL silk from the meat, it will not cook off. It must be cooked on an indirect fire/ heat—build the fire on half the grill and put meat on other side. Should be pink all the way through.The slower the better

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