Many years ago, I shot my first deer on some family land of ours in Alabama. My 30/30 lever action Winchester was the weapon of choice, as it was a gift from my dad, who was with me on the hunt. I remember my heart thumping out of my chest, taking a big deep breath in, then squeezing to pull the trigger and landing my first doe.
While hunting is definitely a sport, it’s also an amazing way to get some of the most natural meat you’ve ever had. Deer aren’t on feedlots, in confined spaces, and there certainly is no guarantee you’ll get one (I’ve had many days where I’ve come up empty). Deer tenderloin is some of the leanest meat you can find, and there are hundreds of ways you can cook it. While I love smoked deer meat out on the Big Green Egg, and love me some deer jerky, this recipe Julie came up with is also mighty fine.
1½ pounds (700 g) venison tenderloin, cut into ¾-inch-thick (1.75 cm) medallions
1 tablespoon avocado oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon clarified butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) beef or veal stock
½ cup (125 mL) dry red wine
~ salt and pepper to taste
- Let meat come to room temperature first.
- Take 1 tablespoon of the mustard and rub it on the flat sides of the medallions.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add in the oil, and when it gives off wisps of white smoke, add the medallions to the pan.
- Allow the medallions to sear for 4–5 minutes on the first side, then using tongs flip over and cook another 4–5 minutes for medium rare.
- Remove medallions, place on a plate and let rest.
- In the skillet you were just using, reduce heat to medium adding the clarified butter and shallots, stirring to release any of the browned bits in the pan.
- Add the stock, wine, and remaining mustard, and whisk all to create sauce.
- Pour sauce over the medallions and serve.
Variation—You can easily add mushrooms to your pan sauce to add a little more earthy flavor to things.
Ingredient Notes—If you don’t have venison tenderloin, the backstrap is very similar (but different) and is a fine substitute.