Next, cut across the grain, cleanly through the loin, at 1½ inch intervals. This will make little medallion steaks. Some people prefer to butterfly cut their venison steaks, but I do not. I found that butterflied steaks cannot be cut thick enough to keep them from drying out on the grill. Therefore, I opt for smaller but thicker steaks myself. This keeps them very juicy and also helps prevent overcooking.
Ahhhh… Venison backstraps. Perhaps one of the most beloved cuts from the white tail deer, mule deer or prong horn antelope. Located along the back of the animal, close to the spine on either side, they are the same muscle we get ribeye and strip steaks from on a cow. Melt in your mouth tender and in the case of wild venison, very lean and quite healthy for you! This week, I am going to show you how we like to grill our venison back loins into Venison Back Loin Steaks.
This is one back loin, cut in half. You’ll notice there is quite a bit of sliver-skin and fat on the outside of the meat. One of the first mistakes people make when grilling venison is not removing as much fat and silver-skin as they can. This single fact leads to many people’s complaints that venison is often too gamey tasting. If you remove these things before cooking, it greatly reduces the gameyness. Using a very sharp fillet or boning knife, make an incision just under the silver skin and run the knife parallel to the meat keeping the cutting edge just below the sliver-skin as you go. This does take some practice, so don’t be discouraged if you remove a little more meat than you would have liked the first couple times you do this. I also went ahead and separated the side meat as well.
After slicing into thick medallions, lay each steak on a rimmed baking sheet and brush liberally with good extra virgin olive oil on both sides.Then liberally coat each side with Oakridge BBQ Venison Rub. Once coated with rub on both sides, allow a few minutes for the rub to fully dissolve before putting them on the grill. This little step should not be skipped, as it greatly helps the rub to stay adhered throughout the entire cooking process.
While you are waiting on the rub to dissolve and “set”, go outside and start your grill. If you are using a gas grill, set one side to medium-high and the other side to medium heat. If you are using a charcoal grill as I do, situate your coals so that they are mounded up on one side with the other side containing only ¼ the amount as the mounded-up side.
To cook them, sear for about 90 seconds per side over the high-heat side of the grill, then move them to the lower heat side and close the lid. Allow them to cook for about 3 minutes, then open the lid, flip each steak, close the lid and cook for another 3 minutes. Now, depending on how done you like your steaks, they may be done or you might need to cook them for a minute or two longer on each side. Remember to use your lid and please don’t overcook them. Overcooked venison is dry, tough and gamey. You really should be shooting for medium rare to medium at the most.