Made with just a handful of ingredients that showcase the meat’s natural flavor this grilled venison backstrap recipe is the perfect dinner to enjoy during deer season! Serve with grilled veggies and a delicious potato side for a wonderfully Midwestern meal.
Backstrap is one of our favorite cuts of venison. It is tender and succulent and requires minimal prep or seasoning to be absolutely delicious. Here’s all you need for this perfect deer dinner:
- Venison backstrap (or tenderloin, if you prefer or have that on hand)
- Salt & Pepper
- Seasoned Salt
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
And that. Is. It. Truly! Venison has such a distinct gamey flavor that too many spices and seasonings would distract from it or cover it up. Simple seasoning is the name of the game here.
Grilling in Wisconsin
One of my favorite things about being a Midwesterner is the fact that we believe grilling season is all year round. Or, as close to all year round as possible. I have very vivid childhood memories of my dad making steaks in knee-deep snow. Or grilling brats in boots and a parka. It just seemed normal. Even now, Seth wheels out the grill in November and December and we grill to our hearts’ content. He insists that the heat radiating off the grill keeps him warm (and I think a few beers may help in that process)!
How to grill venison backstrap
- Season the venison. I do this up to 12 hours ahead of time, the morning before we plan on having backstrap for dinner. This not only helps flavor the meat but tenderize it as well! (Of course, if you forget to season the venison in the morning, it can be done an hour before grilling.)
- Remove from the fridge. It’s important with any protein to have it come up to room temperature slightly before cooking. Throwing a cold backstrap on a hot grill will lead to tough meat. I take the deer out of the fridge 30 – 60 minutes before grilling.
- Grill the backstrap. Over screaming high heat. Roughly 7 – 10 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your backstrap and the desired doneness.
- Let the venison rest. Remove it from the grill to a clean plate to rest. So the juices redistribute!
- Slice and serve. With potatoes and corn, preferably.
How to thaw frozen venison:
We have been blessed over the years with our deer harvest. Last year, Seth took down three deer in two days. That left us with six backstraps that needed to be eaten or frozen ASAP. We always freeze our backstraps in two-piece portions in vacuum seal bags. When ready to cook, we remove the venison from the freezer 24 – 36 hours ahead of cooking. The package gets placed in a 9x13 cake pan and put in the bottom shelf of the fridge to thaw. This will catch any liquid if the bags have been punctured or haven’t properly sealed.
Whenever you’re thawing meat it’s important to do is slowly, preferably in the fridge, over an extended period of time. Thawing meat rapidly on the counter or under warm water runs the risk of bacteria growth. No thanks! When the backstraps are fully thawed I remove them from the vacuum seal bag, pat dry with paper towels, and season as the recipe instructs. So easy!
Other delicious venison recipes
Happy hunting to you!
Grilled Venison Backstrap
- 2 venison backstraps about 1 ½ - 2 pounds each
- 1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ tablespoon seasoned salt
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon onion powder
- 12 hours before cooking, season the backstraps on all sides with the salt, pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. I like to press the seasoning into the tops of the backstraps with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for the next 11 hours. (For example, if you’re planning for dinner at 6pm, season the backstraps first thing in the morning at 6am.)
- Sixty minutes before serving, remove the seasoned backstraps from the fridge. This allows them to come up to room temperature slightly. 30 minutes before grilling, begin heating the grill.
- Grill backstraps over high heat for 7 – 10 minutes per side. Longer for a more well-done backstrap.
- Remove from grill and allow backstraps to rest for at least 5 minutes so juices redistribute throughout the meat. Slice and serve.
- If you're unable to season the backstraps 12 hour ahead of time, an hour ahead of time will suffice.
- I am usually a huge proponent of cooking venison to medium-well or well-done. With backstrap, because it is a single cut of meat and the center hasn’t been exposed to the air or risked contact with bacteria, I feel safe cooking it to medium rare or medium. If you are concerned about CWD or anything else, I recommend cooking the venison for 10 – 15 minutes per side.