Field To Fork: Holiday Venison Backstrap

During the holidays the pressure is on for good meals. While it’s no secret that backstrap is one of the best-eating cuts of venison, it isn’t always thought of as a holiday entree. To truly make a backstrap worth of a holiday meal you need switch things up a bit. Here is a recipe that will have you swapping out prime rib for backstrap at all of your upcoming gatherings – I call it Holiday Backstrap. Because this is a slightly more laborious way to prepare backstrap it is perfect for special occasions. My family ate Holiday Backstrap the night before Thanksgiving and every single person at the table was blown away by how succulent it was.

More advanced cooks will recognize this method of cooking as sous-vide (a french culinary term meaning under vacuum).

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Depends on appetites, usually 8 – 12 people for two full backstraps
  • Tools & Ingredients:
  • – Yeti Cooler (ok any cooler)
  • – Digital Thermometer
  • – Vacuum Sealer
  • – A large kettle
  • – 2 Large Cast Iron Pans
  • – Venison Backstraps
  • – Olive Oil
  • – Butter
  • – Vermouth
  • – Red Wine
  • – Pepper Jelly
  • – Seasonings


First, after field dressing your deer, cut the backstraps out vacuum pack them. *I like to cut the two strips in half as four smaller backstraps are easier to cook.

About two hours before your meal get out your Yeti and fill halfway with tap water. Insert digital thermometer and add boiled water into the tap water until temperature reads 130 F. Put the still-sealed backstraps in the water. Keep adding boiled water as needed so the temperature stays around 130 F for the next two hours. *We usually only need to add more boiled water for the first hour. The second hour the cooler maintains the water temperature on its own.

5 minutes before you take the backstraps out, make the following sauce: Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and the same amount of vermouth to a cast iron pan. Turn the heat to high and let the mixture get hot. Add a tablespoon of butter and turn heat down slightly so butter doesn’t burn. Let butter nearly melt then add half a cup of vermouth and the same amount of red wine. Add 1/4 C of pepper jelly. Add more butter if needed and some seasoned salt if you have it (regular salt if not). Keep hot until ready to pour over venison.

After two hours, take the backstraps out of the water and out of their sealed bags. Immediately add to an already hot cast iron pan with oil, butter, and any seasonings you like. Make sure the flame is on very high heat and just sear each side – usually just a minute each side. *You want this meat rare, trust me.

Transfer to cutting board and slice into medallions. Pour still-hot sauce over and serve right away.

Wine Pairing: I recently discovered The Possessor – a USA Central Coast red wine blend that is complex and delicious. I recommend pairing with this recipe – or drinking on its own!

Wine + Audubon Art

Wine + Audubon Art

The Possessor

The Possessor

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