Among all of the memories that I have from past deer seasons, some of the best ones revolved around meals. Sometimes we celebrated a recent harvest, other times we we're just hungry, shaking our heads at the last deer we missed. Like many camps, we always tried new recipes and cooked some pretty good meals over the years, some being more adventurous than others. One that always stuck out to me was eating a perfectly prepared backstrap. I think that part of it had to do with the celebration of taking a deer, but the other half was cooking one of the most delicious pieces of meat in a cast iron skillet. When it came to cooking a backstrap, we kept it pretty simple. Trim it up and remove the silver skin, give it a rinse, salt, pepper and into a pan it went. If you were feeling daring, you might make some pan gravy with it. Even as basic as it was from a culinary perspective, it was darn good every time.
So that got me thinking, how do you elevate a classic and not ruin one of the best pieces of meat out there? Aromatics is the answer. An answer that I wish I had thought of way sooner! A couple cloves of garlic, some fresh rosemary and a little thyme will bring your next camp meal to the next level without having to spend a whole afternoon in the kitchen.
Enjoy and happy hunting.
1 Backstrap, trimmed and portioned
3 Tablespoons of butter
4 Sprigs of fresh rosemary, whole
4 Sprigs of fresh thyme, whole
3 Garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse your whitetail backstrap under cool running water and pat dry with a paper towel, lay on cutting board. Once dry, season heavily with salt and pepper. Heat your cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the pan is lightly smoking, add the venison, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Sear the venison on one side for 2-3 minutes before flipping. Once flipped, add butter to the skillet. As the butter melts, tilt the skillet and spoon melted butter and herbs over the meat. Repeat until liquid is absorbed. Cook to desired temperature, remove from skillet and let rest for 10 minutes.