Venison Backstrap is the best cut of deer, hands down. Easy to cook, melts like butter, it’s easy to see why this is considered one of the prime cuts of wild game. A necessity to any country homestead menu or date night dinner.
What is the backstrap?
Deer backstrap is just as it sounds. It’s the cut of meat that runs along the spine of a deer. You only get two per deer, so it’s best to make it count when it comes to a recipe. Check out this image for more of a visual.
How to cook venison backstraps
Less is more when it comes to a delicate cut of meat like the venison backstrap. A bit of oil, salt, pepper, fresh herbs, garlic, and of course onion are all you need to make this. Some people marinade their backstraps. I’ll have to try that on the next one. But the secret is really in the treatment.
Make sure that the backstrap is fully thawed and comes to room temperature for an even cooking. We vacuum seal our meat and freeze it. So that means it was pulled into the refrigerator last night, and this morning set on the counter to fully thaw. You do not want to defrost this in a microwave. Do not even risk cooking or over cooking this in the slightest.
Once fully thawed, pat dry with a few paper towels while assembling a wet rub. I prefer a wet rub here since the oil is needed for the skillet. That way I can control the amount of moisture and oil all around the backstrap. To make the wet rub, use a mortar and pestle to grind the fresh herbs together. Mix in a small bowl with a high-heat oil like avocado oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Rub all over the backstrap.
Heat the 12-inch skillet over medium heat with a few Tablespoons of butter and a medium onion sliced. Start sautéing the onion until about halfway cooked. Then nestle the backstrap (likely needing to be cut in half) into the onions. Don’t touch them for 2-3 minutes. We’re looking for a nice sear here. It may smoke and that’s totally fine. Flip and repeat. Once flipped, cover the top of the backstrap with some of the onion slices. Place the entire skillet into a 375F oven for just 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet and cover with foil for just 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet to stop any cooking and allow to rest about another 5 minutes so juices can redistribute. Slice into about 1/2 inch medallions and serve.
Other ways to prepare a backstrap
- Stovetop only
- with a Dry Rub
What temperature do you cook venison backstrap?
If you don’t like rare meat, then this is not a recipe for you. Much like Prime Rib, venison backstrap should be cooked only to about 120-130F. It will continue to cook a bit as it rests, especially in the cast iron skillet. But you really want to serve this on the rare side to avoid a tough texture in your final cut of meat. A rare piece of backstrap will melt in your mouth like butter. After resting the internal temperature will be more like 135-140F.
What to serve with venison backstrap?
As you can see in the photos, we love serving this with mashed potatoes. Ever heard the term “steak and potatoes”? Yeah, this is it. Potatoes, onions, a salad, Dutch oven bread… it’s a hearty meal. So any of your typical hearty meal sides will go well with it.