Use up the last of your venison tenderloins on this one.
Most hunting seasons are opening up right around the corner. Thankfully, that means it's getting close to filling up our freezers again with wild game. For us deer hunters, the game meat we prefer the most just happens to be venison. As most know, the venison loin is the most cherished piece of meat. Also, as most of us know, we all go crazy for a solid venison tenderloin recipe.
This recipe for a slow cooker venison tenderloin just might be the best venison recipe you'll cook all year. Seeing as it's almost fall, it fits right in for any holiday plans that might be popping up around your neck of the woods, too.
To start this recipe, you don't need all the red wines, fresh-cracked black pepper, kosher salt, soy sauce or even brown sugar. As I'm sure you probably know, a lot of wild-game cooks tend to stick to the same basic ingredients to try to flavor their venison. However, venison tenderloins have an incredible earthy flavor that's truly unique. Adding in too much stuff can ruin the entire flavor of the meat. Instead, this easy recipe just keeps things super simple. Besides, that's just the way to be in life.
One final thing before we get to the recipe, feel free to make this your own. In my opinion, the best part of wild-game cooking is finding the steps and processes that work for you. If you think something I'm doing is way off base, that's fine. Try something different. Cooking is an adventure. At least, it's supposed to be. Sometimes it's important to venture away from venison meatloaf or simple pan-fried venison steaks. Thankfully, this is one of those easy recipes that'll do just that.
Slow Cooker Apple Venison Tenderloins
- Several pounds of venison tenderloins
- 1 or 2 cups of beef broth
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 large Granny Smith apples
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- Beef bouillon powder
- Corn starch
Step by Step
Okay, now time for the fun stuff to make this venison tenderloin recipe come together. First, cut your venison backstrap, or tenderloin, into small venison medallions so they're easy to manage. Sear them in olive oil and 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter on high heat until they just start to get a little crispy, only on the outside. Once they're all done, place them in a slow cooker and cover them in enough beef broth so they aren't submerged, but just about halfway. Also, pour what is left over from searing the venison in the slow cooker, too. Thank me later.
Now, slice your apples into quarters and place them in the slow cooker with your diced up onions, cut to however you would want to eat them. Also, toss in the diced-up garlic cloves. For me, I kept the onions cut, but more into strips. Feel free to add in some kosher salt or black pepper if you like, too, but I left it out. The beef bouillon to be added at the end is peppery enough. Also, there is enough salt in the beef broth for me, too. However, if that's how you want to roll, feel free.
From here, adjust your cooking time to about six hours on the low setting. It doesn't take long for the venison tenderloins to cook. This isn't like some dinner recipes that require all-day cooking on high heat. Cooked venison that's overdone can get tough in a hurry. Six hours on low is about all the cook time these tender cuts will need. Besides, you want to give the apples and onions a chance to flavor everything as well.
Now comes the hard part. Once the apples, venison tenderloins, onions and beef broth start to warm, man, they smell good. Make sure you stir everything up every hour or so. This helps break down the apples and onions, too. You don't want the apples to fall apart, but simply, to slow cook out the juices to flavor the meat. It's OK to sample a little bit here and there, too. It's just the American way.
For the rest of our meal, I sliced up a couple zucchinis, coated them in pepper and butter, and baked them in the oven for about 30 minutes. I also made some loaded mashed potatoes from scratch because I love to impress my wife. One of the best parts about cooking in a crockpot is the time allowed to cook other things while the main course is being taken care of. The internal temperature of the meat doesn't matter. Meat thermometers aren't required at all. It's just the low-and-slow cooking process under a little bit of pressure that creates all the magic.
The Cream Sauce
After about six hours, or when you think the venison medallions are done, take them out of the of the slow cooker and let the meat rest. The cook time can vary, so check the meat accordingly. The sauce doesn't take long to make, but it sure tops everything off in the entire meal. Mix a little bit of corn starch with a little bit of water until blended smooth. Remove the apples from the slow cooker and throw them away. Here's where you can get excited, too. What venison tenderloin recipe would be complete without an incredible cream sauce to go along with it?
Now, add in the corn starch mixture and stir until blended. This is also the time to add in beef bouillon powder to your own tastes. Turn this up to high heat, put the lid back on, and let it cook together for another 10 minutes or so. This process make the cream sauce very rich. It also thickens the sauce up a little.
Once done, add the venison medallions back into the apple-flavored cream sauce and turn the heat off. Even at room temperature, these moist pieces of meat are incredible. The juiced-out apples really turn the beef broth mixture into something else entirely. When they're mixed together, as in this dinner recipe, it's a taste you'll want to recreate.
This is one of those easy recipes I see our family coming back to again and again. Sure, this isn't something spectacular like a bacon-wrapped venison tenderloin recipe, but for a slow cooker recipe, or a special occasion, this fits right in. My family gave this a super-high recipe rating as far as dad's cooking goes. So much in fact, my soon-to-be 3-year-old asked for it the next day for dinner. Before this, venison burgers covered in onion powder or meatloaf were about the only thing he would touch. Thankfully, the kid is coming around.
Hopefully you enjoyed this easy venison tenderloin recipe. Winter is gong to show its ugly head before long and that means chili recipes are probably going to be on the way soon. When those come around, though, freezers are full of venison burgers, so we got to do what we got to do. Save those venison steaks and venison backstraps for something special. You can always make a meatloaf soaked in soy sauce and onion powder.