I’m a hunter. I hunt because hunters are dwindling in numbers, and deer populations need culling to keep them healthy.. and I like free food. It is a great skill to have, and it gets a person out in nature, where even if one doesn’t see a deer, they will see a beautiful sunrise, and any manner of wondrous wildlife they’d otherwise miss.
On a deer, the two most tender and tasty parts are the inner loin (on a cow it is called the tenderloin)– they are pretty small, but oh, so tasty– and the backstrap.
Most hunters refer to the backstraps of the deer as the “tenderloin.” These two long muscles run along the top of the deer’s back, on either side of the spine from the shoulder to the hips. As I live alone, I usually cut the ‘straps into three chunks each, and freeze them, for six tasty feasts throughout the year.
Here’s a simple way to cook them to perfection.
2 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of fresh Rosemary
Salt and pepper
Some moistened Butcher’s Twine or wood toothpicks
What you do:
Slice the garlic into slivers.
With your knife, poke some holes in the meat, and poke the slivers into the holes.
Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to taste. (I like lots of fresh-ground pepper)
Strip the leaves off of the Rosemary sprig, and sprinkle them on the meat.
Set aside for a minute, and get out the bacon.
Lay the bacon strips out on a platter so that they are side by side and over-lapping a wee bit.
Lay the meat on top of the bacon, and then wrap the strips around the meat to encase the surface.
Secure the strips in place with a bit of Butcher’s Twine or with the toothpicks.
Ready to cook!
On the grill, place over medium direct heat, and let that bacon start sizzling. Flip over to get all sides cooking. The bacon will probably not get crispy, and I usually don’t expect it to– all we’re trying to do is provide a little moisture/fats, to keep that loin full of flavor. The actual cooking time won’t be very long, so keep an eye on it. Cook until the meat is 120-degrees in the center of the cut, and then immediately remove. Do not over-cook!!! Let stand five minutes. This can be done under a broiler, as well– I lower the rack down to keep the bacon from burning– slower cooking is best.
It’s dinner time!
Unwrap the bacon, and OH BOY! Smell that delicious blend of seasonings! Slice into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch medallions, and side with fresh Asparagus, and a baked potato, and you’ll be in heaven! (Asparagus is starting to pop up along the roads wherever there is no snow– it’s worth taking a snow ride along country roads to snag some!)
That’s today’s dinner for me, and I’m already salivating! This recipe works as well with other venison roast cuts, should you have them, but the ‘straps are simply the finest!
Inner loins, I usually pan fry in a bit of butter, garlic and onion/shallot, as a quick snack or lite meat side.