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Top 3 Ways to Cook Moist Venison Backstraps

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Do you always end up with dry venison steaks? Chances are you’re using the wrong cooking method! Here are the top 3 ways to cook venison backstraps so they are moist every time. Plus, a nice venison marinade recipe using balsamic vinegar.

When I was a newbie wild game chef, I always overcooked my venison because I was using the wrong cooking method and treating it like beef. This article will help you avoid the same fate!

Chef in modern farmhouse kitchen.

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What Are Backstraps on a Deer?

Venison backstraps are a cut of meat that is found along the back of a deer, alongside the spine. They are often confused with a tenderloin cut of meat.

While they aren’t the same as a tenderloin, they are considered one of the most tender cuts of meat of a deer.

Backstraps would equate to the same cut of meat we commonly call ribeye in beef and loin in pork cuts. These two cuts of meat are some of the most desirable due to their tender nature.

What is the best way to cook deer backstrap?

Venison lovers all have their own opinion about the best way to cook venison backstrap.

Some love to sear it, some will only grill, and others swear by smoked backstraps. I’m going to share my top 3 ways to cook moist backstraps next from much research and experience!

Venison backstraps seared on the stove.

No matter the cooking method, there are a few things to take into consideration when cooking venison backstrap to ensure that it stays moist and tender.

  1. If you’re a hunter, let it rest a few days after processing rather than cooking it immediately.
  2. If frozen, fully thaw in the fridge rather than defrosting in the microwave.
  3. Marinade at least 24 hours using a mixture of spices or my venison marinade recipe below.
  4. Never overcook!

Using these four tips will go a long way to ensure your backstrap doesn’t become dry and tough.

Top 3 Methods to Cook Venison Backstraps

Once you’re ready to cook, the top three methods for cooking deer backstrap are:

  1. Searing
  2. Grilling
  3. Searing it in a dutch oven and finishing in the oven

These offer the most control in cooking so that you don’t overcook your meat.

Now, let’s chat about how I like to cook venison backstraps!

Venison Marinade Recipe

For all of these cooking methods, I like to put together a simple venison marinade recipe with items that I always have on hand. I use this for beef steaks as well and it is adapted from this recipe.

Venison marinading.

For 2 lbs of venison backstraps, mix together:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Once well combined, place your backstraps in a shallow dish and cover with the marinade.

Cover the dish and let it rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours, flipping the meat once and recoating with the marinade about 12 hours in.

Marinated venison backstraps.
Venison Backstraps Marinade

Venison Backstraps Marinade

Yield: Marinade for up to 2 lbs meat
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A simple meat marinade perfect for venison and beef using commonly found ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix together all ingredients.
  2. Place meat in a shallow dish and cover with marinade.
  3. Cover, and let rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  4. After 12 hours, flip meat and recoat with marinade.
  5. Refrigerate for remaining 12 hours.

Easy Venison Backstraps Recipes

Now for my deer backstrap recipes!

Venison backstrap recipes on the stove top are my favorite because of the simplicity. I also love using my Ninja Foodie Indoor grill during the winter time.

If you’re looking for some of the technical details for how to sear venison backstraps, I’d highly recommend this article. I found it very helpful when I was new to cooking venison.

No matter what cooking method you choose, first marinade your backstraps with the recipe above. Then, you can sear it in butter or you can grill it. Finally, you can also cook venison backstrap in the oven.

Searing Venison Backstraps

If you choose to sear it on the stovetop, first place 4 tablespoons of butter into a large skillet. Heat the butter on medium high heat.

Let your marinated backstrap come to room temperature while you are preparing the butter.

Take them out of the marinade and pat them dry to remove the excess marinade. This works best for searing. Once the butter is hot, place the backstraps into the skillet and sear each side until a nice crust forms.

Searing venison on the stove.

Each side will only need 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your cut of meat and how hot you let your pan get. Rather than trying to time your cooking, use a meat thermometer to monitor how your backstrap is cooking.

Meat will continue to cook even after removing it from the heat. This is called residual cooking.

So, make sure to remove your meat from the pan once it hits 125-130 degrees. It will continue to cook and finish 5-10 degrees higher once you let it rest.

After you’ve removed it, let it rest at least 5 minutes. This helps the meat soak in the juices so it stays moist and tender.

Weeknight dinner idea

Stove Top Seared Venison Backstraps

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Stove top seared venison backstraps is one of the fastest ways to get dinner on the table. With minimal ingredients and only two steps, you'll be enjoying this delicious recipe in no time.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs Butter
  • Medallion Venison Backstraps
  • Venison Marinade

Instructions

  1. Marinade your venison backstrap medallions in my favorite venison marinade recipe found in this article for 12-24 hours.
  2. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry.
  3. Melt butter on medium-high heat.
  4. Once the butter is hot, place the backstraps into the skillet and sear each side until a nice crust forms. 3-5 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove meat when internal temperature is at 125-130 degrees.
  6. Let rest 5-10 minutes, then serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4-6 Serving Size: 1 6 oz backstrap
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200

If you are a fan of tenderloins, make sure to check out my pork tenderloin recipe as well! It is a family favorite.

And, when you subscribe to the blog, you’ll get all of these yummy recipes sent straight to your inbox!

Grilling Venison Backstraps

My second favorite way to cook venison backstrap is on the grill.

Grilling venison backstraps is a similar process to cooking on the stovetop. However, for grilling, feel free to leave the marinade on the meat rather than wiping dry.

Place it on a hot grill and cook on each side for 3-5 minutes.

Use your meat thermometer to monitor when it hits 125-130 degrees and then remove it from the grill. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled venison backstraps

10 Minute Grilled Venison Backstraps

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Grilling venison backstraps is an amazing way to lock in moisture and flavor and get dinner on the table fast.

Ingredients

  • Venison backstraps
  • Venison marinade

Instructions

  1. Marinade your venison backstraps in my venison marinade found in this article.
  2. You may also choose to soak your meat in buttermilk ahead of time.
  3. Place backstraps on hot grill and cook for 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Remove when internal temperature is 125-130 degrees.
  5. Let rest 5 minutes for juices to reconstitute.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4-6 Serving Size: 4-6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200

Since we live in Michigan, grilling can be a bit chilly in the winter time. So I’ve been using the Ninja Foodie Indoor Grill to grill all our meats. I’ve made salmon, chicken breast, pork and venison in it and they’ve all turned out perfect!

Ninja Foodie Indoor grill

What I love about it is it has a built in smart thermometer. You can set the temperature you want to cook to, and it guides you along the way, telling you when to flip your meat and when to take it out to let it rest. It even accounts for the residual cooking time so your meat isn’t overdone.

It has been perfect for temperamental meats like venison. It also has the cooking options to air crisp, bake, roast, broil, and dehydrate, so it is extremely versatile.

Grilled venison backstraps

See all those yummy juices! That means it is going to be so moist and tender!

Venison Backstrap in the Oven

Next, let’s go over venison backstrap recipes for the oven. It is very similar to my venison backstrap recipe for the stove top.

The best way to cook deer backstrap is the way that’s most convenient for you. Grilling is quick and simple on a nice day. Searing is fast and flavorful. But cooking venison backstraps in the oven is the best of both worlds.

Top 3 Ways to Cook Moist Venison Backstraps

Simply sear deer backstraps on the stovetop in butter or olive oil, like stated above, for 1-2 minutes. Then, place it in a dutch oven (uncovered) or cast iron skillet at 375 for 7-10 additional minutes.

For larger cuts of meat, you will need to increase your oven bake time until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees. Remove your venison backstraps from the oven and let rest 5-10 minutes.

What Spices go well with Venison?

Many times new venison eaters are afraid the meat will taste gamey. While venison does have a different flavoring than beef, using certain spices that compliment it can help tame the stronger flavor.

Venison backstraps with salad.

Rosemary, sage, shallots, garlic, salt, savory, and various peppers are my favorite go-to spices to pair with venison.

If you like to mix it up and add interesting flavors to your meat, try adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or fennel.

Parsley is also always a nice garnish.

What does soaking venison in milk do?

While the above spices can help with the gamey flavor of venison, you have other options as well!

Soaking venison in milk or buttermilk can help reduce the gamey flavoring.

To soak your venison backstrap, place it in a bowl deep enough to hold the cut of meat and submerge it fully in milk. Then, add milk (or buttermilk) until it is fully covered.

Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator for 12 hours or more. When you are ready to prepare the meat, take it out of the milk and rinse it well before cooking.

What temperature should venison backstraps be cooked at?

The biggest element to pay attention to when cooking venison backstraps is the temperature.

Venison backstrap temperature should never rise above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Your final target range is 130-135 and it will be cooked medium rare.

It is best to use a meat thermometer when cooking venison since it is easy to overcook!

For those who balk at eating meat that isn’t well done, venison backstrap is not for you!

Top 3 Ways to Cook Moist Venison Backstraps

If you cook venison steaks past medium they will be dry and tough. It took me awhile to get used to seeing the pink middle, but I promise they taste delicious and are so tender this way!

What should I serve with venison?

I like to keep my sides simple when serving a meal with meat as the main course. A nice garden salad, fresh bread, and asparagus are my favorites! Of course, a little dessert never hurt anyone either.

fresh bread in a kitchen.

What to do with leftover venison?

If you have any leftover venison, which we rarely do, there are a few ways I love to make it into another meal or two!

  • First, slice it thin and then serve it cold on top of a garden salad. Serving it cold actually amplifies the amazing flavor!
  • Slice into 1 inch rounds and reheat in hot butter on the stovetop. Since this is actually a cooking method, make sure you only leave it in the pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Otherwise you’ll over cook it rather than just reheating it.
  • Slice it thin, let it come to room temperature, and then use it for steak tacos!

Want more dinner recipe ideas?

Fast and easy dinner recipes are basically the only way I cook dinner. If it takes longer than 30 minutes, it’s out.

So if you’re looking for more easy weeknight dinners, take a look at some of my favorite family meals. And if you are a venison-only red meat family, remember that you can swap out beef recipes for venison pretty easily.

Stay Connected

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! I hope you enjoy your venison backstraps!

The next time we cook ours, Aaron wants to try smoked backstrap. Meat smoking is one of his passions and we’ve never tried venison before. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Make sure to subscribe to the blog for more recipes to come.

Sarah Signature

19 Comments

  1. This sounds so good. We had Venison often when we lived in Oregon, but it’s been a while. Thanks for all the tips on the different cooking methods. Thanks also for joining the hop, a great group of recipes.

  2. Thank you for these helpful tips! We eat venison almost exclusively, and although I feel like I’ve mastered roast, stew, and ground, steaks or anything like that still elude me. They will have great flavor but be really tough. I’m excited for more help so maybe I can conquer this final frontier! We’ve found over the last few years of butchering (we process our own meat) that if we soak the venison in ice water for a few days prior to processing it (changing ice daily) that it removes nearly all of the blood from the meat, and it takes away nearly 100% of the heavy “gamey” flavor that I always found so unpleasant in venison. It was a huge game changer!

  3. We eat a lot of venison, especially the back strap. My grandmother taught me that no matter how you cook it, small, thinner pieces will cook up more tender than larger, thicker pieces. So if processing doesn’t take care of that for me, I slice it thinner. After marinating in a concoction similar to your recipe, I cook it in the air fryer and it is delicious. Even in Texas it’s been too cool to grill outside! I serve it with a side of sauteed mixed veggies, whatever I have on hand. This has become one of our favorite suppers!

  4. This marinade is THE BEST I have found for venison. My husband was skeptical about your grilling time but he tried it. It did not disappoint. Everyone was wanting more, Great recipe!!

  5. I just ate a grilled backstrap using your marinade recipe. WOW. The best one I ever tasted. And so easy. Thanks for sharing

  6. We consume a great deal of venison, particularly the back strap. My mother taught me that small, thinner pieces will cook up more tender than larger, thicker parts, regardless of how they are cooked. So, if processing doesn’t take care of it, I thin the slices. I cook it in the air fryer after marinating it in a combination identical to yours, and it’s great. It’s been too cold to cook outside even in Texas! I serve it with any sauteed mixed vegetables I have on hand as a side dish. This has quickly become one of our go-to dinners!

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