Fall time is fast approaching (depending on when you're reading this), and that means two things for us Grillaholics.
1. Grilling gets even better because we don't have to sweat our butts off in 100º+ weather
2. Hunting season is right around the corner
For those of us that are hunters (I suspect more than a handful of us), this recipe alone may be what motivates you to don your camo, and track down a beauty of a stag.
Just a heads up - If you've never worked with grilling venison before, it can be trickier and less forgiving than beef, pork or chicken. Venison tends to be much leaner, which means your temps have to be precise. For that reason, we suggest picking up one of our Wireless Meat Grilling Thermometers ( priced at a bargain of $49.95 on our website) to ensure you hit the exact temps you'll be looking for.
We wouldn't want all of that hard work spent traveling, setting up, camping, patiently waiting, getting the kill, tracking, loading it up, hauling it back, and butchering for anything less than perfection, so make sure you grab one of those thermometers before beginning!
To start, we'll be working with the backstrap -or the length of loin on the back of a deer, and we'll be grilling it whole. You could grill this in medallions, but with such lean meat, venison backstrap medallions can quickly dry out and become chewy. For that reason alone, we're going at it whole.
We're also going to be using both the direct and indirect grilling methods here, so make sure your grill is set up accordingly. If you're not sure the difference between the two - shame on you. And here's an article to tell the difference.
Grilling the Backstrap:
Let's go ahead and rub that backstrap down with some good quality olive oil, then season liberally with salt and pepper. That's all we'll really need to let that unique venison flavor shine. Don't wanna muddy up the flavors at all.
Once you've got 'er all seasoned up, go ahead and preheat your grill to around 600ºF to get a good sear. Once heated, oil up your grates with a cloth dipped in oil, or some paper towel - Just be sure to keep your hands safe from the heat. (Pro Tip: a pair of our grill gloves works well for this.)
Once oiled up, place your backstrap on the grill - If you're looking for that cross-hatch grill mark design, you'll want to place it at a 45º angle across the grates.
We're just looking for a quick sear here, so we're not cooking straight to temp. About 2-3 minutes per side should do the trick.
Step 4: Plug in that thermometer
Got good sear marks? Great! Let's go ahead and remove the backstrap from the grill and plug that thermometer right into the center of the meat and set our desired temp to about 125º F.
While you're doing this, you'll want to lower your grill temp to about 350º F.
Once the grill hits that temp (provided you didn't over-cook it on the sear and your temp isn't already at 125º F), you'll want to move your backstrap over to the cooler side of the grill and finish it off until it hits the desired temperature.
You'll want to go ahead and let this beast rest until it hits about the 135º F mark, or medium rare. While it's resting, let's get onto the cherry-bourbon sauce. This stuff is super easy to make, so no need to fret.
For the Cherry-Bourbon Sauce:
- 1/2 cup Bourbon of choice
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Step 1: Cook down the Bourbon
To do this, just pour the 1/2 cup bourbon in a saucepan over high heat and cook down for about 1-2 minutes, or until the alcohol (mostly) burns off.
Step 2: Add the Cherries
The step says it all. Dump the pitted cherries in with your bourbon and cook them down, mashing them as you go, until you get a jam-like consistency.
Step 3: Add the Brown Sugar
Pour in the brown sugar and mix until it's all blended.
That's it! You can now slice up your perfectly grilled venison backstrap (thanks to the Grillaholics Wireless Meat Thermometer!) and serve with the cherry-bourbon sauce either warm or cold - your preference - for an extremely memorable meal that was worthy of all your hard work.
As always - Happy Grilling (and hunting!)