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How best to cook venison tenderloin


ElsieD
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Last night my neighbour gave me a tenderloin weighing 1 lb. 12 ounces that her nephew had harvested from hunting a deer.  It is frozen.  I have never cooked this so I'm looking for some advice.  Do I roast it?  Sous vide then sear?  What does one serve with it?  I haven't got a clue so would appreciate any help you can give me.  The only time I have ever eaten venison was in Norway, when we had reindeer tenderloin and I can't remember how it was prepared.  I do remember I really liked it.

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I've found that searing it then baking it en croute works well.

 

Screenshot 2021-10-26 at 20.10.16.png

 

This was a roe deer tenderloin, which is very small, so the chances of overcooking it were high. I cut it into three segments, and wrapped it in bacon and CI's pie crust with vodka recipe, minus the sugar.  I modified a recipe for Beef Wellington, and cut down the baking time to 45 minutes (from an hour), but the venison cooked past rare, anyway. Fortunately, the meat was still extremely tender and full of flavour.

 

Check out dcarch's version, too; that's lovely and rare!

 

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Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Of course, @Shelby is the mistress of this topic, but this is my limited experience: sous vide with venison can be tricky. Sometimes the bullet (that renders a deer an ex-deer) cross-contaminates other parts of the body and SV then turns it into a mushy heap. I did not have that experience with tenderloin, but leg and it ain’t nice.

I usually sear hard on all sides (after trimming) and use a low oven (140 oC) to get it to the desired doneness (which in the case of tenderloin you can easily feel by pressing).

I also turned the seared tenderloin very successfully into a “Venison Wellington” (or “VW” 🤗) …

 

WP_20171226_17_54_23_Pro.jpg

 

 

Edited by Duvel (log)
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7 minutes ago, Duvel said:

Of course, @Shelby is the mistress of this topic, but this is my limited experience: sous vide with venison can be tricky. Sometimes the bullet (that renders a deer an ex-deer) cross-contaminates other parts of the body and SV then turns it into a mushy heap. I did not have that experience with tenderloin, but leg and it ain’t nice.

I usually sear hard on all sides (after trimming) and use a low oven (140 oC) to get it to the desired doneness (which in the case of tenderloin you can easily feel by pressing).

I also turned the seared tenderloin very successfully into a “Venison Wellington” (or “VW” 🤗) …

 

WP_20171226_17_54_23_Pro.jpg

 

 

I've heard this also, but I don't quite understand it - how does the bullet and then sous vide make the meat mushy?  What if the SV was only a short time? (a tenderloin shouldn't have to cook too long, I'd imagine)

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1 minute ago, KennethT said:

I've heard this also, but I don't quite understand it - how does the bullet and then sous vide make the meat mushy?  What if the SV was only a short time? (a tenderloin shouldn't have to cook too long, I'd imagine)


I think the theory is that when the bullet does travel through the abdominal cavity (is that the word ?!), it may transfer minuscule amounts of bacteria with it into muscle tissue. Now, I do not fully subscribe to that theory, but I had a perfect leg of venison turn into some liver-tasting mushy mess in about 6h, so I really can’t recommend that course of action …

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We keep it simple around here :) .  Either cut them in fat steaks and grill or get a cast iron skillet super hot, throw some butter on and sear.  Venison is best when it is rare--or rare-ish.  Scroll down here and you'll see how I cut them.

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2 hours ago, Duvel said:


I think the theory is that when the bullet does travel through the abdominal cavity (is that the word ?!), it may transfer minuscule amounts of bacteria with it into muscle tissue. Now, I do not fully subscribe to that theory, but I had a perfect leg of venison turn into some liver-tasting mushy mess in about 6h, so I really can’t recommend that course of action …

hmmm... I don't know if the mushiness is caused by the bullet or by the 6 hours.  Many years ago, when the sous vide thread first started (with nathanm), it was discussed not doing venison for long sv since it could get mushy - the reason given then was because there was an enzyme that caused this. 

 

I've done plenty of short time SV venison (usually rack of venison) cooked just to temp - no need to tenderize - and it came out perfectly every time.  But those were commerically purchased New Zealand racks of venison, I assume farmed (no bullet required).

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1 minute ago, KennethT said:

hmmm... I don't know if the mushiness is caused by the bullet or by the 6 hours.  Many years ago, when the sous vide thread first started (with nathanm), it was discussed not doing venison for long sv since it could get mushy - the reason given then was because there was an enzyme that caused this. 

 

I've done plenty of short time SV venison (usually rack of venison) cooked just to temp - no need to tenderize - and it came out perfectly every time.  But those were commerically purchased New Zealand racks of venison, I assume farmed (no bullet required).


I did the leg twice - first time perfect, second time the exact opposite. Same procedure - so there must be an issue with the meat itself. Same hunter I purchased from …

 

Regardless if “direct” enzymatic reaction or mediated by microorganisms, on a short timescale I am sure you’ll be fine. There is very little difference between a 30 min SV stint and a 30 min stay in a medium oven …

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56 minutes ago, Duvel said:


I did the leg twice - first time perfect, second time the exact opposite. Same procedure - so there must be an issue with the meat itself. Same hunter I purchased from …

 

Regardless if “direct” enzymatic reaction or mediated by microorganisms, on a short timescale I am sure you’ll be fine. There is very little difference between a 30 min SV stint and a 30 min stay in a medium oven …

Ok - that is fascinating!

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I've SVd venison as I would beef tenderloin with no texture problems.

 

Just a nod to trichinosis...not supposed to be much in deer but you never know.

 

A short freeze will kill the buggers

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What we often forget is that product changes.   The venison your grandfather harvested may be a different animal from the one you might encounter in the same environ, i.e., changes in its eco over time, remembering that parasites and other invaders also evolve.    It's important to know the current status of your animal's environment and development.

eGullet member #80.

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2 hours ago, Duvel said:


I did the leg twice - first time perfect, second time the exact opposite. Same procedure - so there must be an issue with the meat itself. Same hunter I purchased from …

 

Regardless if “direct” enzymatic reaction or mediated by microorganisms, on a short timescale I am sure you’ll be fine. There is very little difference between a 30 min SV stint and a 30 min stay in a medium oven …

 

There are so many variables with game that you don't get with professionally slaughtered beef.  How long from killing to butchering...was it kept cold or did it hang from a tree for a few hours to drain blood... did it run after being shot and get all acidotic before it died...and so on.

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37 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

There are so many variables with game that you don't get with professionally slaughtered beef.  How long from killing to butchering...was it kept cold or did it hang from a tree for a few hours to drain blood... did it run after being shot and get all acidotic before it died...and so on.

Was it a yearling doe or an eight year old buck?  You are right on the mark, @gfweb.

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To address the other portion of the question, what to serve with it? I love a fruit-based sauce on venison -- cherry, say. Because the tenderloin will have a "wilder" taste than does beef, go with strong-flavored sides to match up to it -- Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes. For some reason -- and I've never tried this -- the thought of sweet potatoes peeled, cut in chunks and roasted in duck fat seems like it would do well. 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Treat it like a good tenderloin or fillet.  I try to keep it simple like Shelby w traditional sears to oven (400F aprx 10 min depending thickness/desired temp).  I've done straight broiler for thinner cuts and even strips or cubes for stir fries.  It's hard to mess up unless overcooked.   It's usually leaner than beef so can use a bit more fat - butter, oil, etc.  Whatever pan sc you, peppercorn,  brandy cream, etc. but a sweet fruit like blackberry or even figs works really well.    

Edited by Eatmywords (log)
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That wasn't chicken

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Thank you all for your replies.  A bunch of questions were raised which I don't have the answer to but I am assuming this nephew, an experienced hunter, would not be giving his aunt a piece of crap.  I could ask my neighbour all these questions various posters raised but i'm afraid I would sound like an ingrate. The nephew is a bow and arrow hunter so I assume he treated the deer (a white tail one if that makes any difference) properly.  I did ask my neighbour again about the cut.  It is the loin, or backstrap as @Shelby called it, not the tenderloin.

 

I am intrigued by the idea of a fruit type of sauce and will look for something along those lines.  @Shelby sent me info on how to cut it and that too was helpful.  So we shall see how badly we can muck this up.

 

Thanks again.

 

thp

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I wouldn't call any of it crap, but I would treat it differently.  Deer that have to be tracked are a fact of hunting, especially if you bowhunt.  But narrowed down to backstrap, your path forward is fairly direct.  Shelby's instruction (and the others above) will serve you well.

Edited by donk79 (log)
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23 hours ago, donk79 said:

I wouldn't call any of it crap, but I would treat it differently.  Deer that have to be tracked are a fact of hunting, especially if you bowhunt.  But narrowed down to backstrap, your path forward is fairly direct.  Shelby's instruction (and the others above) will serve you well.

 

I used a poor choice of words when calling it crap and I should not have used it.  I guess I was getting a bit frustrated by a lot of legitimate questions being raised, none of which I had the answer to.  @Shelbygave good directions and I like the idea of a fruit type sauce with it and also @kaybsuggestion of sweet potatoes in duck fat.  Until I can do any of it i need to find someone with an electric saw who can cut a hunk off it.  Either that or thaw it, have a steak dinner with part of it and turn the rest into stew for future meals.

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1 minute ago, ElsieD said:

 

I used a poor choice of words when calling it crap and I should not have used it.  I guess I was getting a bit frustrated by a lot of legitimate questions being raised, none of which I had the answer to.  @Shelbygave good directions and I like the idea of a fruit type sauce with it and also @kaybsuggestion of sweet potatoes in duck fat.  Until I can do any of it i need to find someone with an electric saw who can cut a hunk off it.  Either that or thaw it, have a steak dinner with part of it and turn the rest into stew for future meals.

I'd not use an electric anything--thaw it, make a couple of steaks and then either make more steaks and freeze or chunk it up and freeze for stew :) 

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Just now, Shelby said:

I'd not use an electric anything--thaw it, make a couple of steaks and then either make more steaks and freeze or chunk it up and freeze for stew :) 

Are you saying  it safe to thaw enough to cut and re-freeze?  

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4 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

Are you saying  it safe to thaw enough to cut and re-freeze?  

Yes.

 

If you're worried about it, though, take the rest that you're not going to eat and make a stew either crock pot or IP it within 2 or 3 days or so  and then freeze that.  

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

Are you saying  it safe to thaw enough to cut and re-freeze?  

Thaw it in your refrigerator. That way it remains at a food-safe temperature while it thaws, and usually you can cut meats while they're still partially frozen. Wrap the unused portions and pop 'em back into your freezer immediately (the deep freeze if you have one) and you're good to go. Minimal risk, minimal loss of quality.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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