Try any one of these venison tenderloin recipes and tell us it isn't delicious. We dare you.
While many hunters enjoy processing their meat into jerky, we immediately turn to the tenderloin (one of the most tender cuts of meat) to celebrate a successful hunt (and holidays, too, I guess).
The perfect venison recipe varies by household, but these six are an excellent sampling of what we'll be trying out with our harvest this season.
Which one sounds the best to you?
1. Venison Tenderloin with Blackberry Sauce
This delicious and simple recipe is the perfect way to highlight the subtle game notes in venison with blackberry, a wonderful berry for pairing with red meats.
- 1 lb venison tenderloin or backstrap
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 tbsp blackberry jam
Make the marinade by mixing the wine and the mustard. Salt and pepper the venison and cover and marinate with mustard mix. Put it in the refrigerator for at least six hours. When ready, remove the meat from marinade.
Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) with some two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. Brown the tenderloin over medium-high heat until it reaches a medium-rare doneness, five minutes on each side.
Cover tenderloin with tin foil; it will still be cooking.
Deglaze the pan with chicken stock; reduce by half and add the jam. Cook until the marinade thickens and serve over sliced venison.
Recipe adapted via Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
2. Venison Medallions with Whiskey, Mushroom & Horseradish Cream Sauce
This recipe had us at venison and whiskey, but throwing in a hearty and flavorful cream sauce is what really put this recipe on our list.
The benefit of cream-based mushroom sauces is your ability to experiment with different varieties of fungi. One of our personal favorites are crimini mushrooms, which give an extra punch of earthy flavor to any dish.
- 1 lb venison tenderloin
- Kosher/sea salt, to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbs. butter
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup button mushrooms, finely diced
- 1/2 cup of whiskey
- 1/2 cup of beef broth
- dash of salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup of sour cream, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp. of prepared horseradish, or to taste
- 1 tbs. of chives, chopped
- Milk, a few tablespoons
- Season the venison with salt and pepper
- Chop one cup of mushrooms and 1/2 cup onion
- Saute onions in pan with two tablespoons butter
- Add mushrooms; cook for another five minutes
- Turn burner off and pour 1/2 cup of whiskey into pan. Cook until alcohol evaporates - about a minute
- Pour in 1/2 cup of beef broth and reduce by half
- Reduce heat to low and whisk 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1 teaspoon of horseradish - or to taste
- Whisk in the milk and chopped chives; salt and pepper to taste
- Grill venison until medium-rare
- Serve marinade over venison medallions
Recipe via: Food For Hunters
3. Belgian Venison Medallions
This age-old recipe calls on the unique flavor of juniper and its incredible ability to pair well with wild game.
While this recipe does not come with accompanying sides, we're big fans of roasted fingerling potatoes with a splash of olive oil and a healthy dose of fresh herbs and chopped garlic.
- 1 pound venison backstrap or loin
- 3 tablespoons lard or butter
- Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 shot of gin (not the good stuff)
- 1/4 cup demi-glace or reduced beef or venison stock
- 1 teaspoon ground juniper
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
- Salt venison; set aside for 30-60 minutes
- Heat butter or lard and sear venison 3-5 minutes on each side; medium-rare venison is best
- Add shallot and saute; turn the heat off and add gin
- Cook alcohol down with high heat and add crushed juniper, rosemary and demi-glace or beef/venison stock
- Turn off heat and whisk in sour cream. You should be able to make a trail with the spoon for desired thickness
- Serve over venison medallions and garnish with pomegranate seeds
Recipe via: Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
4. Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Venison Tenderloin
What would this list be without something bacon-wrapped? This grilling recipe has a lot of room for interpretation and adaptation, but we still believe in the tried-and-true method of wrapping it in bacon and throwing that bad boy on the fire.
- 1 lb venison tenderloin
- 3/4 lb bacon
- 1 cup sweet white wine
- Meat seasoning blend of your choice (garlic, paprika, onion powder, cumin, thyme, salt, pepper is our go-to)
- Cherry wood for smoking on grill
Marinate the venison in a cup of white wine. Season with your favorite herbs and spices. Wrap the venison in bacon strips and use toothpicks to keep the strips in place. Grill venison tenderloin until medium-rare, a minute on each side. Close grill and cook for additional 30-45 minutes over indirect heat. Internal temperature should read 145-160 degrees.
Serve and enjoy.
Recipe via: Peaceful Blend Vineyard
5. Char-Grilled Venison Tenderloin with Smoky Chipotle Rub and Three-Herb Chimichurri
Giving your game meat a subtle smokiness and pairing it with a bright, herbaceous sauce is a sure-fire way to impress your fellow deer hunters hunting for venison who have sliced, diced and served up venison in every way imaginable.
Pull this one out on a cool night and watch as empty plates leave the table.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Venison tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for sear)
- 3/4 cup olive oil (for sauce)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 very small onion, peeled, quartered
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 3 cups (packed) stemmed fresh parsley
- 2 cups (packed) stemmed fresh cilantro
- 1 cup (packed) stemmed fresh mint
Mix all the spices together. Coat the tenderloins in the mix. Grill on medium-high until medium-rare.
To make the chimichurri add the olive oil and red wine into a blender. Squeeze in some lemon and add garlic, quartered onions, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth and then add cilantro and a quarter of the mint. Puree and then keep adding the rest of the mint.
Serve over venison medallions and enjoy!
Recipe via: The Living Alaska Project
6. Maple Juniper Venison Loin with Chocolate Infused Red Wine Jus, Leek and Potato Mash
Chocolate and meat? We know, you think we're crazy, but listen up--this pairing could change your life.
You'll see a familiar face with the addition of juniper berries, but this dish relies heavily on the rich, velvety red wine jus. This culinary masterpiece is sure to please the most elevated of palates as well as any meat-and-potatoes good ol' boys.
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) juniper berries
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 venison loin or beef tenderloin (about 2 lbs/1 kg)
- Pinch each salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chocolate Infused Red Wine Jus:
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 leek, white and light green part, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) Meritage wine
- 2 cups (500 mL) beef or venison stock
- 3 oz (90 g) 90% dark bittersweet chocolate
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
Leek and Potato Puree:
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
- 1 leek, white and light green part, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
- 1 1/4 lb (625 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) 35-percent whipping cream, heated
Leek and Potato Puree: Heat a tablespoon of butter and cook leeks for 10 minutes of until soft. Stir in parsley and salt. Bring potatoes and thyme to boil in a pot of water. Cook until tender for 20 minutes. Drain and mash potatoes. Add cream and rest of the butter until creamy. Add leek and parsley and stir.
Maple Juniper Beef Tenderloin: Combine maple syrup, juniper berries, thyme and garlic. Marinate tenderloins in mixture for half an hour. Season with salt and pepper and roast at 450 degrees oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature and roast for an hour. Slice and let rest. Internal temperature should be 145 degrees.
Chocolate Infused Red Wine Jus: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat and saute carrots, onion, leeks and bay leaves--until softened and brown. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add beef or venison stock and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a clean saucepan. Whisk in chocolate and rest of butter until smooth.
Serve venison medallions with sauce and potato puree.
Recipe via: Eat Live Travel Write
These recipes will really bring out the great taste of venison, and deserve a spot in your cookbook or regular recipe rotation. If it's someone's first time trying deer meat, they'll help ease them into it with smart preparation and cooking techniques.
Wild game meat is one of the greatest parts of being an outdoorsman, and cooking venison with methods like these is a no-brainer.
For hunting accessories to procure your own venison, visit Walmart.com.