Brad Farmerie is executive chef of Saxon + Parole and PUBLIC in New York City.
In the Northeast, venison season overlaps with football season, and I love to blend a little ground venison with beef and a little seasoning to make "game" sliders as a fun game-day party food. They're perfect because they're so small that they don't feel like a big commitment — even people who aren’t sure about venison won't be afraid to try them. (And usually they end up going back for two or three more!) And you don't need be a hunter to make them — farmed New Zealand venison is super-lean and flavorful and available all year round. I pop the sliders on the grill and then into potato buns with a smear of super-easy tomato jam — just a mix of tomatoes, ginger, vinegar and fish sauce. It's like grownup ketchup.
Serve with: I'm all for uncomplicated drinks that make an impression. Serving sparkling wine always makes any party more festive and it doesn't need to be fancy. I usually add a syrup or a fresh garnish to make it more of a cocktail — in winter you can't go wrong with a splash of pomegranate molasses and a few pretty pomegranate seeds.
Pro tip: Instead of a salad, I like to serve simple veggie summer rolls — really, they're like a salad as finger food. They are a vehicle that Americans don't use very much, but you can put almost anything inside them and they are really easy to make. All the prep can be done the day before and then you can just assemble them at the last minute. For fall and winter, fill them with a little kale, some Cotija cheese and a slice of roasted squash with salt and pepper and a little aleppo chile. It's a perfect combination.