Sunday, November 24, 2013

Venison Backstrap Medallions

I've started to enjoy the meat from the deer I killed in September (you can read about that here). In fact, I've been enjoying it a lot, but just getting around to posting about it.

My first sampling came on a Sunday when the wife and kids were gone and a couple of friends came over to watch football. 

The backstrap is a cut that runs up either side of the spine. It's known as the "hunter's choice." From what I've read elsewhere around the web that this is the first cut to get eaten up by most folks. Recipes abound. What caught my eye was a simple recipe I found after some googling.

Venison Backstrap Medallions:
  • Pan fry some (where "some" equals the number of medallions you're cooking) bacon strips until they're partially cooked, but still floppy. Set aside.
  • Season the medallions with salt and pepper.
  • Sear the medallions in the pan using the bacon grease.
  • Wrap the medallions with the bacon.
  • Transfer to the Big Green Egg (I used a raised grid at 350f)
  • Cook to desired doneness.
  • Enjoy right away.

Using toothpicks would've been a good idea to hold the bacon together. I thought if I started with the medallions on their side with the heat hitting where the bacon overlaps it would all work out. Well, it all worked out from a flavor standpoint. But the bacon didn't cooperate totally from a presentation point of view. Nobody complained.

Typically I use a Thermapen to gauge internal temp. Medium rare for venison is 125-130f. These were a halftime snack and I was hurrying so I just pulled them using a little guesswork and intuition. The result?
The result was very rare venison. One of my friends doesn't care to see juices in his meat. He's a well-done kind of guy. But to his credit he took on an adventurous spirit and ate it all up with enthusiasm. Most venison I've ever had was been pretty tough and chewy. This was truly amazing though. Very tender, juicy and flavorful. Wow. You understand why it's the hunter's choice.

Also for snacks during the game we had some venison sausage meatballs. Part of the 31 lbs of venison I got back from the butcher was ground Italian spicy sausage. This has become some of my favorite. I don't know the exact blend, but it has some pork in there--just enough to make it a little fatty--and some blend of seasonings that's really tasty. My kids do NOT care for spicy food, but they put that aside for this stuff. They take these things down and just keep extra milk handy.

This particular batch I made into golf ball sized meatballs and placed them into the meatball rack that Labon had given me for my birthday. It was perfect for the job. I just got these nice and brown and we snacked on them too. Just ate 'em plain. And, by golly, they were plain good.

Other times I've made sausage patties and fried the sausage in the frying pan. There's not too much pork in there that I can tell. The pan needs to be oiled rather liberally, because these things are a far cry from fatty.

Anyway, I've enjoyed trying the different cuts. I still have some cube steak to cook up. I'm not sure what to do with that exactly. But it is very gratifying to have some meat in the freezer that I harvested that I know is lean, healthy and even where it came from.

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