The Best Ways to Cook Deer Back Straps

Roasted deer with smashed sweet potatoes and chips
Roasted deer on a plate. (Image: Jurajkovac/iStock/Getty Images)

The backstrap off a deer is similar to filet mignon, according to Harry E. Moran II of the West Virginia Trophy Hunters Association, because it is tender, healthy and delicious. If you enjoy the taste of venison, you will probably devour backstrap. Grilling, broiling, roasting and marinating backstrap are all effective ways to cook deer backstraps.

Grilled

Backstrap is best when it's been grilled, due to the combination of the lean, firm meat and the distinctive grilled flavor. Backstrap can be grilled over gas, charcoal or wood. Preparation is simple and starts with removing any fat or membrane from the meat, then rinsing the meat under cold water. Next, slice the meat lengthwise into three strips, and season it with your favorite spices. Salt, black pepper and garlic powder are best if you want to keep it simple and bring out the flavor of the meat without losing any of that unique venison flavor. The Recipes For Deer Meat website recommends grilling the meat rare and calls it twice as good as filet mignon.

Broiled Butterfly Backstrap

If you don't have access to a grill or the weather does not permit grilling, broil backstrap in your oven. While you won't get the grilled taste, you will still get the blackened edges and a slightly crispy crust on the meat, depending on how long you leave it in the oven. Remove any fat or membrane from the meat, then rinse the meat under cold water. This method involves making a butterfly cut, which is done by slicing the backstrap against the grain, into 2-inch slices, then cutting each piece down the middle without going completely through. Leave 1/4-inch uncut, and unfold the pieces.

Brush with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Broil the meat for six minutes on each side, flipping the meat and brushing it again with olive oil halfway through. This will cook the meat medium rare, so check it and cook it longer if you prefer your meat medium or well done.

Roasted

Roasting in a saucepan works best if you want to cook the venison with a sauce or broth. After removing fat or membrane and rinsing the meat under cold water, season it and slice it into chunks, sear it in a saucepan on top of the stove, then cook it in the oven until the meat's internal temperature is 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the meat is cooling, use the same pan and the venison drippings to create a sauce to pour over the backstrap. The Field & Stream website offers a recipe by Chicago chef Paul Kahan, who recommends roasting backstrap with a syrupy wine reduction, roasted pears and pickled golden raisins.

Marinated

If you're looking for a simple method for preparing venison backstrap, but don't want to sacrifice flavor, marinate it before grilling. Use your favorite seasoning mix, and cut the meat into strips or chunks. Marinate the strips for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator, then grill the backstrap to your liking.

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