One of the most prized pieces of venison is the backstrap. And when cooked properly, it can make a satisfying and flavorful main course.
With these simple tips, you can learn how to cook the perfect venison backstrap every time.
Cooking Venison Backstraps
Preparing a delicious, tender venison backstrap doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if you follow these easy steps, you’ll end up with perfectly cooked venison every time!
Now, venison backstraps are a favorite cut among most, and if you think this is the only backstrap recipe I have, you would be mistaken!
After you make this recipe, head over to my other post, how to stuff a backstrap; you won’t be disappointed!
Anyway, for this recipe, I opted for a dry rub instead of a marinade, similar to this pork tenderloin, but different.
And while I have since perfected my venison backstrap recipe, I still follow the same cooking method.
Searing in the outsides to lock in those natural juices before finishing it off in the oven is a favorite way to make a tender venison backstrap.
Preparing Your Backstrap
Make sure the meat is fully defrosted before starting. Trim away any excess silver skin missed during processing.
It by no means needs to be perfect, but any thick pieces will not cook away and tend to be tough and chewy.
Thankfully the backstraps clean up pretty nicely.
The silver skin and tendons are more prominent in the front leg meat, which is a heavily worked area resulting in tough, leaner meat.
Personally, I like to make my own venison backstrap rub, which you can find below, or use your favorite premade blend.
Venison Backstrap Rub
Venison backstraps are great with a dry rub or marinade.
For the dry rub, combine salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder, parsley flakes, turmeric and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
Next, gently drizzle coconut oil or preferred oil over the top of the backstrap. Finally, coat the meat generously in the dry rub.
How to Cook Deer Backstrap in the Oven
Preheat oven to 375°F.
On the stove, heat up a large cast iron skillet; I use a 12″, which fits the tenderloin perfectly.
Add in a few splashes of cooking oil. When the oil starts to smoke, Add the prepared backstrap to the center of the skillet and sear each side; for about a minute or so per side, being careful not to char the meat.
After the final flip, transfer the skillet to the center rack and bake for 10-15 minutes or until desired internal temperature has been reached.
Let it rest and enjoy!
Once your venison backstrap is cooked just right, it’s time to let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving or serving so the juices are reabsorbed into the meat.
This ensures that you get the juicy, tender, and delicious venison you were hoping for!
Use your favorite premade rub if you don’t want to make your own dry rub.
Chef James dry rubs are some of my favorite blends, including their five pepper blend that brings the perfect amount of heat.
Venison Backstrap Marinade
Maybe you don’t like dry rubs, or you’re just trying to get rid of some of that gamey taste. Either way, here is a pretty simple marinade to try.
For the marinade, add 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce to a gallon freezer bag.
Place the backstrap in the bag and let it marinate for at least an hour or overnight.
When preparing venison backstrap, some of the most commonly asked questions are how long to marinate, what temperature to bake at, and how long to cook for.
How long should I marinate backstraps? Generally, it is recommended to marinade for at least 8 hours in a flavorful liquid such as apple cider vinegar or other acidic marinades.
What is the best temperature to cook venison backstrap? For baking temperatures, I’ve had the best luck between 375-400°F, and baking times can vary depending on size; between 10-20 minutes should be sufficient.
Why does the meat need to rest? Allow the backstrap to rest after baking before slicing so that the juices can settle back into the meat.
Can I freeze venison? Properly packaged uncooked venison should easily last for an entire year in the freezer. Never refreeze thawed meat.
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Helpful cooking tools
Venison Temperature Cooking Chart
- Rare 125°
- Medium-rare 130°
- Medium 135°
- Medium well 140-145°
- Well done 150-155°
Just note that the meat will continue to cook even after being removed from the oven.
I like to pull it out of the oven at about 125° as it will usually read 5-10 degrees higher after resting.
Like all meats, venison and elk must be cooked to a proper temperature in order to destroy harmful bacteria or parasites.
The key to cooking game meat
Cooking wild game does not have to be overwhelming or really different from cooking the “ordinary meat” we eat regularly.
The key to cooking wild game such as venison is not overcooking it. Venison is extremely lean meat and can quickly dry out or get tough if overcooked.
The toughest meat on a deer is from the front quarters or front legs. A lot of tendons and silver skin runs through this meat, and it is best slow-cooked in stew or ground into burger.
The hindquarters or back legs are where you’ll get most of your steaks that are great grilled or pan-seared.
And, of course, the backstrap. What is the backstrap?
The backstrap is the meat that runs along either side of the spine and should not be confused with the tenderloin. This is often the most prized cut of meat from a deer or elk.
Why you will love this recipe
Not only will this recipe result in perfect, juicy venison backstrap every single time — it’s also incredibly easy to prepare!
Plus, the venison dry rub and baking steps are super simple and straightforward. The end result is a delicious backstrap you can serve as the star of your next dinner or for a unique snack. Enjoy!
Storing and Reheating
Store leftover venison in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Warm in a small skillet until heated through.
I hope you like this simple backstrap recipe. We had so much fun making it and are glad we can share it with you!
If you made it and loved it, let me know how it turned out by leaving a review or a comment below!
And for more great dinner favorites, check out one of these recipes below.
- Venison Medallions or Venison Tenderloin
- Garlic Butter Ribeye
- Slow Cooked Round Steaks
- Pan-Seared Beef Heart
- Smothered Round Steaks
- Restaurant Style Fajitas Texanas
Dry Rub Venison Backstrap Recipe
You will love the delicious flavor and tender texture of this prized cut of meat! Enjoy this venison backstrap recipe tonight!
- 1 venison backstrap, approx 2 lbs
- 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of each of the following: ground black pepper, smoked paprika, dried rosemary, garlic and onion powder.
- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (if you like it a little spicy;)
- ⅛ teaspoon of ground turmeric
- Combine spices in a small bowl and mix well.
- Prepare the backstrap by drizzling it with 1 tbsp of oil, then generously coating it with the dry rub.
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat with the remainder of the oil.
- Once the oil starts to smoke, sear the meat on all sides—approximately a minute per side.
- Transfer the skillet to the center rack of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the desired doneness has been achieved using an instant thermometer.
- Remove it from the heat to rest for 10 minutes before enjoying it!
Make sure you let the meat rest before cutting into it to give the juices time to redistribute throughout.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Though we both know it will be long gone by then 🙂
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 616mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 46g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition is calculated by Nutronionix
Bettina A Mitchell says
Going to try Montreal steak seasoning.
Yes, that was fabulous.
Made this tonight and my husband and sons LOOOOVVVED IT! Perfect seasoning , perfect sear and so quick in the oven! This will be the go to every time! Thank you
Dana Newton says
Made this tonight. It was delicious! Might cut back on the salt and the cayenne just a little.
Found a frozen venison backstrap in my dad’s freezer. I generally do dry rub beef steaks so followed this method with my own rub. 1 minute per side in the skillet and 11 minutes in the oven for perfect medium rare. Mouthwatering!
I was a little nervous trying this one but it turned out absolutely perfect! Just make sure you don’t over cook it, internal temp of 130 is when I take it out. This will be my go to recipe from now on. Thank you!
Followed the dry rub recipe and very happy with the result. Let the meat to come to room temperature before searing to a dark brown. Took about three minutes per side. Reserved 1 T of the oil from the skillet and used to make gravy. Cooked for 13 minutes in the oven and allowed the meat to rest as per the recipe. So juicy and flavorful. Ends were medium and center was rare. Perfect combo for us.
Mindy Hancq says
How did you make your gravy?
Love to try this
Can you do the dry rub and marinade for the tenderloin?……..Meaning put the tenderloin in marinade overnight or at least 8-12 hrs. and then do the dry run before cooking. Also, is it best to let tenderloin come to room temperature as you do beef tenderloin before searing?
Delicious! Made some mods to the rub but regardless, only left in oven for 5 minutes and the strap was medium tender and juicy!!
Nate A says
So glad to hear! The bake time is largely affected by the size and thickness of the strap. I’m happy it turned out well for you!
LM Jacobs says
Used this method tonight for an elk backstrap and it was fabulous! Of course it took longer to cook but it was just perfect.
You could reduce your cooking time. Venison is actually good medium, medium-rare since it has little to no fat marbling. Glad to know the method posted causes too much drying. Have a great holiday!
Lois Mcmurchy says
I thought it was absolutely fabulous!!!
Is it ok to dry rub and refrigerate overnight? I have done this with beef, but realize venison is a bit dryer. Thank you!
I to have done this with beef, but not with venison. I don’t see why it would not be ok though. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.
I only let it sit for an hour with your dry rub concoction and holy smokes was it outstanding! I seared it in oil & a bit of sweet cream butter. Opted for a roasting pan with rack over the cast iron. Took the pan drippings and drizzled them over the loin pre-oven; covered the bottom of the pan with water to lock in moisture – covered with foil, 15 minutes in a convection oven. It’s too cold where I am to grill but we weren’t disappointed AT ALL! Thank you! Happy Holidays:)
Rebecca Cassidy says
I made 2 pieces of red deer, one with the dry rub and one with the marinade.
Both came out fantastic for me, we really enjoyed the rosemary flavor in the dry rub!
I did let both pieces rest covered for about 15 minutes before slicing
So happy to hear you enjoyed it!
I agree! And once it warms back up, I’ll be rocking the grill as well.