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Grilled Deer Tenderloin

Michael Gordon

deer tenderloin

Venison is becoming more and more popular in today's kitchens across the country. The health benefits acquired from eating natural, hormone free meat are being recognized more and more by health conscious people as well as medical associations.  The benefits are twofold; first you have to physically obtain the venison. This is usually done by hunting, a physical activity, and then your body is rewarded with a pure form of protein, free from harmful antibiotics and growth stimulants. Those qualities will actually help reduce your cholesterol and help build lean muscle, which in turn will lead to fat loss.

With this being said, I think you might want to try a venison recipe that is easy to prepare, healthy and quite delicious. The loin of the deer which is sometimes mistakenly called the back strap is the cut we will use. The loin is the long muscle running the length of the back on an animal one per each side. They can be 3 inches thick and 4 inches wide for average whitetail deer. Grilling is a quick and easy way to prepare venison, which is quite lean and cooks rapidly. You want to avoid over-cooking venison; it will become tough and not as flavorful. Here are a few helpful hints for the preparation of most game meats:

  • Marinating: A marinade is a means of infusing other flavors as well as helping to tenderize some cuts of meat. Olive oil, vinegar, orange juice and beer are all used in marinating some types of game. This recipe calls for olive oil and herbs, soy sauce and chopped garlic along with some spices we will list.  
  • Dry rub: A dry rub is a combination of sugars and spices sometimes red peppers and paprika are used as well as salt and pepper.
  • Brining: Brining is a means of putting moisture and flavor into an otherwise poor quality piece of meat. It is done by mixing water, salt and sugar together heating it then letting it cool.

Ingredients/Directions:

  • Whole venison loin cleaned.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Brine - 1/2 gallon water. 1/2 cup soy sauce, with 1/2 cup of kosher salt and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Heat the mixture until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely and submerge loin into brine for 1 hour. Pat dry.
  • Rub loin with olive oil. Then rub with dry rub mix consisting of 1 tbs black pepper, 1 tbs paprika, 1 tbs garlic powder, 1/2 tbs of thyme, 1/2 tbs onion powder. Rub thoroughly on the loin.
  • Slice into 5 or 6-ounce steaks, usually 6 per loin, and sprinkle any remaining rub on steaks.
  • Preheat grill or broiler to very hot and grill steaks 4 -5 minutes per side. Do not overcook, turning only once.
  • Grill the steaks and let them rest before serving, at least 10 minutes. This lets the juices settle back into the meat making a very juicy steak.

Try serving this steak with scalloped potatoes and corn on the cob. Or slice it and serve atop a Caesar salad. There are many ways to serve venison as a replacement for beef. Venison is a very delicious alternative.

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