The back strap or tenderloins are the prize of your hunt you spent all year working on. It's time to be rewarded for all those off season reps with your bow.
This recipe works great for venison or elk. I used a smoker and a high heat grill, but you can really replicate it on any grill. This can even be done in your oven and finished on your stove. Just don't tell anyone so you don't lose your man card at hunting camp!Ingredients
- 1 venison back strap, tenderloin or strip loin
- Meat Church Holy Gospel (or Holy Cow if you like more pepper)
- 1 T, English mustard (we use Coleman's, yellow mustard or olive oil could also be used)
- 1/3 stick of a good butter to finish the meat
- I added extra coarse black pepper, kosher salt & garlic
Prepare the smoker or grill
Prepare your smoker (or indirect grill setup) at 225. I used hickory, but oak, mesquite or pecan would have also been fine choices.
Prepare the venison
It's very important to trim or remove all of the silver skin. That helps remove the "gamey" flavor from wild game. Optionally, you could soak the loin in buttermilk or even white milk for 4 - 8 hours to assist in removing any unwanted flavors. I felt like the deer we used was "appropriately gamey" so I chose not to do this. I never soak elk. It doesn't need it IMO.
Season the venison
Slather the meat with the yellow mustard. I get this inspiration from a Gordon Ramsey Beef Wellington that I make. Don't worry, the mustard won't be overpowering. You likely won't even taste it. It acts as a great binder on a rather dry piece of meat.
Season with our Holy Gospel. Optionally you can add additional salt, pepper and garlic. I used Southside Market Oak Smoked Coarse Garlic Pepper Salt.
Allow the seasoning to adhere at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. You could also wrap and place in the fridge for several hours.
Cook the venison
Wild game is lean. I usually cook it to a final temperature under what I would for a typical piece of beef. I cook it more on the rare side whereas I like my beef medium rare. If you like your beef medium, I would shoot for medium rare. If you like it well done, you should re-think your cook. :)
I am shooting for a final temp of around 125 - 128 max (Medium rare is 130 - 135). Adjust this to your liking and preference.
Place the meat on the cooking grate. Smoke until 115 - 120 internal temp. Use your instant read thermometer to nail this temperature.
While the meat is smoking, heat up a cast iron skillet to > 500 degrees. I use a Traeger Ranger, but you can use any grill or even cast iron on your stove.
Remove from the smoker and loosely tent with aluminum foil.
Place the venison in a dry cast iron skillet. I feel no need to put oil or butter in the pan because we are cooking so hot you will likely burn it anyway. Sear the venison for about 1 minute per side maximum. You want to be very careful not to over cook it as it will dry out easily.
Remove the venison from the cast iron skillet. Place several slices of butter to melt over it while it rests for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy the fruits of your hunt!