Got a backstrap in the freezer? This roasted venison backstrap recipe gives you juicy and flavorful meat in less than 30 minutes.
The backstrap (or deer loin) is one of the most popular and tender cuts of venison. When I met my husband (an avid hunter and outdoorsman) the only thing I new about cooking wild game was that “the backstrap” was supposed to be the best part of the deer. But I found myself wondering “what is a backstrap?” “How do you cook a backstrap?” AND “how do I make sure my deer doesn’t taste gamey?”
After almost 10 years and a bestselling venison cookbook later, I’ll show you the easiest way to roast an incredible backstrap that’s better than beef tenderloin. You’ll love this roasted venison backstrap recipe for an elevated but easy wild game dinner!
WHAT IS VENISON BACKSTRAP
The backstrap is the loin of the deer (not the tenderloin) that runs along a deer’s spine. It’s super tender because the muscle is rather isolated and doesn’t have a large range of motion. There’s little to not fat so it’s easy to overcook this tender cut and have it taste dry or “gamey” as some folks say, but if you pay special attention to preparation and NOT overcooking, it’s absolutely delicious.
The tenderloins are actually found UNDER the spine and are typically much smaller than beef tenderloin, which is why they easily get confused. If you have a sizable tenderloin, you can use this recipe, just be mindful not to overcook it. You may need to cook it for very little time.
THE BEST WAYS TO COOK VENISON BACKSTRAP
- Roasting (this is what we’ll talk about in this recipe
- Grilling (you can use this recipe and hold your grill at a steady medium high (450F) and grill it)
- Cut it into chops & sear the medallions
When it comes to cooking venison backstrap, there are so many ways to bring out the incredible flavor and texture of this lean and tender cut of meat. Today we’re going to focus on roasting because I find this to be the least labor intensive way to cook this prized cut.
When I roast backstrap or venison loin, I like to cook it high and fast in the oven at about 450F for 12-18 minutes, this largely depends on the thickness of your loin (and size of your deer). More on that later in the directions.
Additionally, one method that never fails to impress is grilling the backstrap. Not only does it add a smoky and charred taste, but it also enhances the natural flavors of the meat. You can use the method below, just do it on your grill. Easy peasy.
If grilling isn’t your style, fear not! Another fantastic way to cook venison backstrap is by cutting it into chops and pan-searing it (this is another one of my favorite ways). This technique creates a beautiful crust on the outside while maintaining a juicy and tender interior. The contrast between the crispy exterior and succulent center is truly divine. It’s also super fast!
No matter which method you choose, remember not to overcook the backstrap. It’s crucial to aim for medium-rare (pulling the meat from 115-125F) in order to preserve its tenderness and allow those magnificent flavors to shine through. So go ahead, unleash your culinary prowess, and savor each mouthwatering moment with venison backstrap cooked just right.
HOW TO COOK VENISON SO IT ISN’T DRY
Cooking venison properly is crucial to maintaining its juiciness and tenderness. When working with a lean and tender cut (like backstrap/loin) cooking hot and fast is best.
It’s important not to overcook the meat as this often leads to dryness—a mistake that many make. To achieve a medium-rare doneness, cook until the internal temperature reaches 115-125°F. I know 115F sounds low (and folks are often surprised that I recommend this) but your meat will keep cooking as it rests. You’re not cooking commercially processed beef that has been frozen and thawed multiple times before it hits your plate. This is FRESH, beautiful wild game and I encourage you to try it at medium rare, even if you typically order steak medium-well-done.
Finally, let the cooked meat rest for a few minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the venison, resulting in an incredibly moist and tender dish that you’ll love.
THE BEST WAY TO COOK VENISON BACKSTRAP | ROAST OR CHOPS?
If you have a whole backstrap, the easiest thing to do is to roast it whole in the oven at 450F for 12-18 minutes with garlic & herbs. You don’t need to marinate this beautiful cut of meat (if you’re dying to marinate, use this recipe) so there’s no time lost preparing that and waiting for the flavor to infuse. I am seriously obsessed with this venison backstrap recipe!
If you already have sliced medallions, or you want something that feels more like a fillet mignon, use this recipe and deer your deer chops (or slices of deer loin).
Both methods are foolproof if you pay attention to how long you cook the meat and will result in juicy, tender pieces of meat that are 100x better than store-bough beef steaks.
HOW TO ROAST VENISON BACKSTRAP?
When I make this roasted venison backstrap recipe I simply preheat the oven to 405F while I let the deer loin sit on paper towels covered in salt to let it come to room temperature and draw out moisture.
Then, I cover it in finely chopped garlic, herbs, sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper.
I roast in the oven until it hits and internal temperature of 115-125F, let it rest for 10 minutes and BOOM, done! It’s delicious with my scored, roasted potatoes.
- Deer backstrap (or venison look) – I usually cut each whole backstrap into 2 pieces for my family of three
- Lemon (zest and a bit of juice)
- Olive oil
STEP BY STEP ON THIS VENISON BACKSTRAP RECIPE
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450F. While the oven heats, cover your backstrap in sea salt and let it sit wrapped in a paper towel. Brining the meat to room temp helps with even cooking and the salt draws out the moisture.
Step 2: Finely mince the garlic, thyme, rosemary and then combine with the lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Step 3: When the oven is preheated place the venison loin on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and drizzle on the olive oil and roll it in the herb garlic mixture.
Step 4: Roast for 12-18 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your backstrap, and pull the meat out of the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 115-125F.
Step 5: Let it rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is venison tenderloin the same as backstrap? No, venison tenderloin and backstrap are not the same cuts of meat. Venison tenderloin, also known as the fillet, is a long, cylindrical muscle that runs along the deer’s spine. It is highly regarded for its tenderness and is considered one of the most sought-after cuts of venison. On the other hand, the backstrap refers to a larger muscle that extends from the neck to the hindquarters on both sides of the spine. While both cuts are prized for their tenderness, they differ in size and flavor profile. The tenderloin tends to be smaller and has a more delicate taste, while the backstrap is larger and often used for roasts or steaks.
What do you soak a deer backstrap in? You don’t have to soak or marinate backstrap if you cook it right. However, I have tried soaking deer chops in buttermilk and I love this venison marinade if you want to try either. Again, they’re not necessary for this method.
Why is my deer backstrap tough? – overcooked it and didn’t cook at high enough heat (no sear, pull at 115-125F internally and REST it)
OTHER WAYS TO COOK VENISON BACKSTRAP
The Easiest And Most Delicious Venison Backstrap Recipe
The backstrap (or deer loin) is one of the most popular prime cuts of venison. This roasted venison backstrap recipe is easy and delicious.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: French-American
- Deer backstrap (or venison loin) – I usually cut each whole backstrap into 2 pieces for my family of three and each piece is about 1.5lbs and feed 4
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme
- 2 tsp. fresh, rosemary
- 1 small lemon (zested and a bit of juice)
- about 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 450F. While the oven heats, cover your backstrap in 1 teaspoon of the sea salt and let it sit wrapped in a paper towel. Brining the meat to room temp helps with even cooking and the salt draws out the moisture.
- Finely mince the garlic, thyme, rosemary and then combine with the lemon zest, remaining salt and pepper.
- When the oven is preheated place the venison loin on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and drizzle on the olive oil and roll it in the herb garlic mixture.
- Roast for 12-18 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your backstrap, and pull the meat out of the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 115-125F.
- Let it rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. I like to slice a small piece of lemon and squeeze lemon over the meat. Enjoy!
Keywords: backstrap, loin, venison