Backstrap is my favourite roast from a deer, and I have perfected the cooking method to make sure I achieve a great crust with a rare interior.
I love this cut. It's perfect for a holiday or guest meal, or even just a special night at home. The flavour is great, and it's a tender cut of meat. I always make sure to cut a chunk or two ready for roasting.
If you prefer a steak, I enjoy making those on the grill. I've also done that with moose steaks, and love those as well! Waste not, want not, so I also pan fry deer heart. And if you're just reading along out of curiosity but not yet ready to cook wild game, check out my ground venison recipe collection, where you can go ahead and use beef or turkey.
Why You Need This Recipe
- I'm always looking for new cuts or methods to use our freezer stash, so this will help there.
- It has a gorgeous presentation so it is a great holiday or company meal.
Roast - The backstrap is a long strip of meat to either side of the deer's spine. This is called the loin - but not the tenderloin which is inside the abdomen. Think of this as akin to a beef ribeye roast (ie before it is cut into ribeye steaks).
Butter - This makes everything better! It's perfect for searing meat and then again to create a silky pan sauce.
Balsamic vinegar - Perfect to add tanginess to sauce.
Soy sauce - Just like I 'salt' my sipping broth with this, I use it here. If you're gluten-free you can use tamari sauce.
Maple syrup - A little bit of sweet to go with the salt and tang, and you won't believe how well-rounded the sauce is!
How to Make Roast Venison Backstrap
***See recipe card below for precise measurements and instructions.***
Step 1: Rub salt and pepper into all sides of the roast. Sear it in cast iron over medium heat, making sure to get all sides.
Step 2: Check out that colour! Once you have all sides browned, transfer to a preheated oven.
Step 3: Once your desired doneness is reached, let the roast rest, covered, while you make the pan sauce.
Step 4: Simmer the balsamic and soy sauce until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in butter and maple syrup.
Step 5: Slice the roast and serve with the sauce on the side, or stir it into the still-warm pan to get just a little more doneness going.
Tips and Tricks
- Always use a thermometer to check the interior temperature! This is the only way to know your meat is done without cutting into it.
- Swap out the herbs for any other dried or fresh you have on hand. Rosemary would also pair nicely.
My favourite way to serve this is just past rare. Nothing beats that texture! I have found though that the best way to do that is to sear first, then pop in the oven. That way I get the great outer crust and don't overcook the center. I aim for just 120°F in the very center.
I definitely don't recommend going past medium, which is closer to 130°F. Keep in mind the temp will continue to rise as it rests, so don't go too far while in the oven. If you slice it closer to rare, you can then toss the slices in the warm pan when the sauce is finished and get some slices cooked a bit more for those that prefer it.
photos by Kiara Colebank
More Wild Game Recipes
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- 1 ½ pounds venison backstrap silver skin trimmed off
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Season the roast all over with salt and pepper.
- Let the roast brown really well on all sides. This should take at least 10 minutes to do well.
- Transfer skillet to oven and roast for 15 minutes. Check the temp: 120°F is considered very rare, which I prefer, but you can cook longer if desired.
- Remove roast to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Return the skillet to low heat on the stove. Add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.
- When thickened, remove from heat and add the butter and maple syrup. Stir to combine.
- Slice the roast now, and either serve with pan sauce or return the slices to the warm pan to cook just a bit longer if desired.
- You can serve rare, cook longer in the oven, or gently heat the sliced roast in the warm pan sauce to cook past rare.