Jack Hennessy delivers a venison recipe of some note and one that is completely new to me in “Braising the Wild” this week.
Here is the recipe:
Venison Loin with Chimichurri One of the coolest perks of my full-time job with Brothers & Company ad agency is our annual company Deer Camp. Every November, on the opener of Oklahoma’s modern firearm deer season, we host clients for a few days of hunting, camping, and friendship. Deer Camp has grown over the years from a few employees and a few clients to now hunters from 11 different companies. We spend the weekend in deer strands or at nearby duck ponds or pheasant fields. At night we enjoy bonfires and absurdly thick steaks while tossing bags and enjoying one another’s company. We forget about deadlines and instead brag about antler spreads or the length of a rooster tail. Needless to say, when clients fly back to their respective states, there is A LOT of meat leftover. Luckily for me, one of our creative directors passed some prime cuts my way. My biggest fear when it comes to wild game: Overcooking venison, specifically loin or tenderloin. It hasn’t happened lately, but the stress is still ever palpable when I put that meat to fire. My biggest crutch: a meat thermometer. I recommend a nice digital one, one that might run you $25 or more, versus a cheap one. I probe my venison obsessively after searing all sides until it reaches the ideal 120 degrees. (It’ll rise to 130 or a little above when tented 10 minutes with aluminum foil, so always be aware of this.) Before starting any part of this recipe, bring your backstrap to room temperature so it cooks properly. Once pulling it thawed from the fridge, liberally salt and pepper it, then let it rest outside the fridge for a couple hours. I consider myself very unbiased when it comes to my cooking. I am, by far, my harshest critic, but this chimichurri sauce is nothing less than amazing. You’ll be sad you didn’t make more. I certainly was, but it’s so simple and easy, it’ll likely become a household favorite. Ingredients (four servings): Venison backstrap, 24 ounces 1-1/2 cups fresh flat Italian parsley 1 cup fresh cilantro 2 tablespoons fresh oregano 2 tablespoons fresh basil 2 tablespoons Firebee Spicy Honey 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil Measure out parsley and cilantro by stuffing leaves into measuring cup. Some stems are okay too but contents should be mostly leaves. Cram in there for correct measurements. Add to food processor. Add 2 tablespoons each of fresh oregano and basil (again, cramming into tablespoon for correct measurements), along with 1 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper, 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic, 1/4 red-wine vinegar. Heat up Spicy Honey for 5 seconds to facilitate pouring and add. Blend all ingredients thoroughly then slowly add 1/4 cup olive oil while continuing to blend. Once completely blended, set aside in a bowl in the refrigerator. To cook backstrap, heat grill to 400 degrees and trim off all silver skin. (I recommend using a thin fillet knife, one you might use for fish.) Ideally, the back strap should be whole or cut into equal-size loaves. Adjust cooking times as necessary depending on size and cut of backstrap. The most important tool, in my opinion, for perfect venison backstrap or tenderloin, is a meat thermometer. Sear all sides then probe the middle-most, inner-most portion of the meat. The goal is 120 degrees. If once all sides are seared the venison is still below 120, cover grill and check every couple minutes until internal temperature reads 120 degrees. Remove and cover thoroughly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Slice venison into 1-inch medallions, plate, and top with chimichurri. Enjoy! Any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram: @WildGameJack.