“Really, if I’m gonna eat a meat, I’d rather eat venison than anything and I do like it a little on the rare side.” -Mike Ditka
I’m not a deer hunter but I have always been fortunate to have several friends who are and who’ve kept me supplied with venison meat which I dearly love. Venison is low-cal, packed with protein and contains about one sixth the amount of saturated fat that beef does. I substitute ground venison for ground beef whenever I can, especially for chili, soups, and tacos.
The back loin, or backstrap, cut of venison is comparable to a juicy beef steak but you have to be careful how you cook it in order to avoid a “gamey” taste and/or a tough texture. One of my meat providers and my very good friend, Dana Havron, gave me a recipe for smoking backstrap that results in a fantastic dish. If you don’t have a smoker, don’t fret because you can use your grill or oven and achieve similar results.
(Comments: A ten-ounce cut will provide two individual servings. Since we are eating light, this is plenty for my wife and I but, you can obviously cut the backstrap to the size steak you desire and then adjust the marinade accordingly. Using good quality ingredients will enable you to eliminate that gamey taste; this especially applies to the Soy Sauce and EVOO.)
Let meat set out until it comes to room temp. Place the meat on a cutting board and pierce it repeatedly with a fork. Place the meat in a baking dish and coat it well with Soy Sauce Sprinkle with the steak seasoning. Sprinkle with the chopped Garlic and a little Rosemary. Gently rub the ingredients into the meat. Drizzle with the EVOO and let sit for one hour turning occasionally. Bring smoker to 350-degrees F. Place meat on a foil smoker pan and insert temp probe. Cook until internal temp is 145-degrees. This will only take 15 to 20 minutes; DON’T OVERCOOK! Remove from smoker and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
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