Spell check informs me that backstrap isn’t a word. Silly spell check, you’re obviously not a hunter. Of course backstrap is a word.
If you’re not a hunter, like my spell checker, you might not know what backstrap is. I’ll try to explain it to you.
Backstrap is the loin and tenderloin together. It’s the meat along either side of a deer’s spine. That’s why we call it backstrap, it’s a strap of meat along the deer’s back.
It’s the filet mignon of venison. It’s the best damn thing you’ve ever tasted. Kind of hard to explain if you’ve never had it.
Badly cooked backstrap tastes better than great sex feels. Properly cooked, like I’m going to show you today, it’s in a league of its own.
The thing is, most hunters have no fucking clue what they’re doing when it comes to meat prep. They wonder why their meat tastes “gamey”.
I’ll explain this phenomenon before we get to cooking.
“Gamey” Venison and How To Avoid It
“Gamey” meat has a “wild” taste to it, according to most everyone. I used to believe this, too. You’re supposed to cook wild game with an onion to kill the “gamey” taste.
That works, but a grizzled old-timer told me another solution. I was complaining about going through so many onions, and he chuckled at me.
“Boy, you know what we call “gamey” meat?” I shook my head, no. “Damn near RURNT meat!“
For those of you who aren’t familiar with “rurnt”, it means the same thing as “ruined”.
I asked the old man what he meant. He continued, “You killed that thar buck. Then what’d you do? You drug him out the woods, slung him inna your truck bed, paraded him around to all your pals before you took it to the processor.”
He wasn’t wrong, that’s for sure. I’d never thought about it before.
“What you think was going on inside that carcass while you was parading it around? Meat was going bad. Too lazy to process it right then and thar yourself. If you’re gonna take it to a processor, do it QUICK and keep that meat good.”
I took his advice, and surprise surprise…no more gamey meat. If I process a deer myself, or gut it and take it to the processor immediately, the meat tastes great.
Some of that “wild” taste is just how venison tastes. It’s not beef. It’s better than beef, if you cook it right.
The harsh, rank, “gamey” taste is completely avoidable. Better Bambi Backstrap starts as soon as the deer hits the dirt. Showboating your harvest is less important than retaining that meat and honoring the animal.
Now we’ll talk about how to handle the actual cooking.
How To Cook Better Bambi Backstrap
The picture here sums it up pretty well, but I’ve got a write-up to go with it. Included further below is every secret you’ll need to cook better backstrap.
Things you’ll need:
- Backstrap (duh)
- Butter (I use unsalted)
- Frying pan
You want butter for this, because deer meat doesn’t have the fat beef does. This is an instrumental aspect in cooking Better Bambi Backstrap – remembering that venison isn’t beef!
Other good fats for this are bacon drippings and extra virgin olive oil. Whatever you use, measure out a tablespoon of it. One tablespoon of fat goes with a section of backstrap the size of the one pictured. Adjust as necessary.
While your pan and fat are heating up, slice up your backstrap into little chunks. If you’re not good at guessing size from pictures, use your thumb as a guide. If it’s bigger than your thumb, cut it in half.
No spices or seasoning are necessary. Backstrap is good enough without them. Any salts you might use will dry out the tender, fatless meat very quickly.
When your pan is hot and your backstrap is cut to size, put it in the pan. Stir it around to get it a little cooked on all sides. Not letting it sit in one space for too long will keep it from overcooking.
The Secret To Better Bambi Backstrap
Most people overcook the hell out of venison unless they cook it in a crock pot. That’s because they treat it like beef.
I get it, I do. They’re both red, easy mistake to make. Trust me, they’re different meats.
Beef has lots of fat in it. That’s because all cows do is stand in one place and eat every day until they die. Deer are beautiful, majestic, incredible creatures and they don’t play that bullshit.
They’re too smart to let you walk up and shoot them in the head like cows in a slaughterhouse. Deer are also too smart to let you walk up and inject them with a syringe full of who-the-hell-knows-what.
Add it all up and the smart buck is much, much leaner than the stupid cow.
The comparison reminds me of a lot of people I know, actually. Funny thing about nature right there.
Beef and Venison cook differently because venison doesn’t have much fat in it. Backstrap has basically none. You have to add fat to it.
The final secret is to not cook it too long. The only reason to cook it at all is to make it easier for you to digest it.
You also don’t want to overcook it – driving all the moisture out of it. That’s why we say no to seasonings and spices. Even spices that don’t draw out the moisture the way salt does will still burn into the meat while it cooks. Skip them.
You should find yourself with a plate like the one pictured below. That’s a complete meal, right there.
Better Bambi Backstrap and a tall glass of water. Everything you need and nothing you don’t.
I hope you enjoy yours as much as I’m enjoying mine.