The hunt for completely cooked venison by no means ends. For each diploma previous medium-rare, taste potential drops exponentially. However we nonetheless need that hearty crust on the outside to offer us that, as you steak lovers would possibly name it, “desired mouthfeel.” Logically, this may imply cooking wild recreation at very excessive temperatures for a brief period of time. However is that this actually one of the simplest ways to cook dinner venison?

I made a decision to check if the very best quantity of warmth doable really is one of the simplest ways to cook dinner hindquarter, backstrap, or inside loin cuts. 

Inspiration for this check comes from Los Angeles steak chef Evan Funke, who mentioned he depends on excessive, dry warmth to cook dinner a steak. Funke will take an hour to cook dinner a 35-ounce steak if given the chance. He lets the meat relaxation between functions of very excessive warmth, working inside intervals of grilling and resting. I all the time questioned how this would possibly work for venison cuts greatest served medium uncommon.

Understanding Carryover

sliced venison on cutting board
It may be tough to stability the outside crust with the inside tenderness of a tenderloin. Jack Hennessy

For many who aren’t accustomed to carryover, you’re not alone. That is essentially the most missed variable in cooking a superb steak (whether or not beef or recreation). Carryover happens when meat is faraway from a scorching warmth supply. As a result of the outside of meat remains to be scorching, it is going to proceed to cook dinner the within whereas it rests. Right here’s the idea: For a steak grilled over excessive warmth, pull it at an inner temp of 115 levels Fahrenheit, relaxation it for 10 minutes (which is vital to letting juices redistribute all through protein), and the inner temp can rise as a lot as 20 levels. This creates an ideal medium-rare chunk of meat. Sure, there are different components at play, however the backside line is when you take away your meat when it hits medium-rare on the grill, it is going to shoot as much as medium, probably medium-well, if allowed to relaxation.

However different strategies exist for cooking a steak, too. For years now I’ve been a proponent of the reverse-sear. The strategy: slowly roasting or smoking meat at no larger than 200 F, then as soon as it hits 108 to 110 F inner temp, pulling it and searing both sides over excessive warmth (700 to 800 F) for 1 minute both sides, permitting to relaxation for 10 minutes earlier than carving. The result’s extra juicy, medium-rare actual property inside and that crispy crust on the surface. With much less time over excessive warmth, that grey ring of well-done meat may be very skinny across the edges.

However is tremendous excessive warmth in a really brief period of time (thus probably decreasing danger of grey ring) even higher than the reverse sear idea? I examined three totally different functions of excessive warmth at brief intervals and graded every one for mouth really feel and taste. Right here’s what I discovered.

Frying

venison in frying pan
Frying venison in an oil with a excessive smoke level is a good way to place your forged iron to work. Jack Hennessy

If completed proper, fried meals is all the time crispy, proper? So what would occur if we raised the oil temperature and restricted the time our venison spent within the oil?

The Take a look at

I heated peanut oil to 450 F for this check. Excessive-heat oils like peanut oil or sunflower oil begin to burn wherever previous 450 levels, so we pushed this oil to the max.

For this check, I labored with entire tenderloins and backstrap medallions. I seasoned the cuts and left them out of the fridge for a number of hours. All of the meat began at 70 F, which is room temperature.

I fried one tenderloin and set of medallions for precisely 1 minute, then did the opposite set of tenderloins and medallions for 1 minute and 30 seconds. I let all of the meat relaxation for five minutes earlier than carving.

Outcomes: After 1 minute of frying, it could seem the venison got here out uncommon, whereas one other 30 seconds of frying introduced the meat nearer to medium-rare. There was certainly a thick crust and a juicy heart, which jogged my memory of these Fruit Gushers fruit snacks from grade faculty. The outside ring was medium on the uncommon cook dinner, and medium-well on the medium-rare uncommon cook dinner.

Conclusion: This can be a nice possibility for smaller cuts greatest served medium uncommon, although not essentially as health-conscious as different cooking choices. Bigger cuts would require an extended fry to hit medium-rare within the heart, which might overcook the outside.

Mouthfeel Grade: B-. There was a good distinction between exterior and inside, which, as described above, felt extra like fruit snacks than meat.

Taste Grade: B+. It’s venison fried in peanut oil—what’s to not like?

Cooking Straight on Coals and Embers

cooking venison on open fire
Positive, dropping a prized lower of venison straight onto a hearth is dangerous. Right here’s methods to do it the appropriate method. Jack Hennessy

Typically known as the “cowboy steak” technique, this can be a nice possibility for the backcountry the place all you might have is a makeshift hearth pit.

The Take a look at

I let charcoal briquettes and wooden chunks burn all the way down to scorching coals and embers. Similar because the fry technique, I let my venison sit out for a number of hours to come back to room temp. On this occasion, I used to be working with 18 ounces from the highest portion of the again strap, which is barely thinner and accommodates two separate muscular tissues, versus the underside half of a backstrap which is thicker and one entire muscle.

I coated the meat in Fireplace & Smoke Society Black and Tan rub and lacquered on some brown sugar to assist construct a caramelized crust. I positioned the backstrap straight on the coals and embers, which I might guess have been between 1,200 and 1,600 F (my laser thermometer learn “excessive” which meant it was nicely over 900 F). I seared both sides for two minutes then pulled the meat.

Throughout the sear, the inner temp rose from 71 F to 97 F. After 5 minutes of resting, the inner temp rose to 107 F. I positioned the meat again in coals for 1 minute on both sides and pulled it once more. The interior temp reached 122 F. After an 8-minute relaxation, I began carving the backstrap at an inner temp of 136 F.

Outcomes: This technique created an excellent crust and numerous taste from the wooden and charcoal embers. The outer meat layers have been medium-well and even well-done relying on the portion of backstrap, however the center was nonetheless juicy and attractive.

Conclusion: Some cooks favor lump charcoal to attenuate possibilities of ash coating the meat, however I didn’t have a problem with this. The carryover in the course of the preliminary relaxation helped transfer warmth by the meat—a lot in order that I might have let it relaxation for five extra minutes and seared it once more for 30 seconds per facet as an alternative of a minute. This may have minimized the overdone meat. Regardless, I do really feel there was an fascinating set of layers, from the crust to the outer ring to the center.

Mouthfeel Grade: A-. Not chewy or robust at any level however moderately a pleasant transition between layers, which created one in every of my favourite steak-biting experiences.

Taste Grade: A+. The most effective-tasting cuts of venison I’ve eaten shortly, together with my go-to reverse-sear backstraps.

Learn Subsequent: The Finest Tenting Cookware for Open Fires in 2023

Infared Grill/Oven at 1,500-Plus Levels F

schwank grill with venison
An infrared grill cooks meals from overhead moderately than beneath. Jack Hennessy

The infrared technique is a brand new pattern for a lot of steakhouses. Infrared grills warmth meals from overhead moderately than from beneath, which implies ultra-high-heat cooking with out the worry of flames engulfing your steak. The cooking temp rises and falls relying on how near the burner you elevate the meat. 

I examined the newest propane mannequin from Schwank Grills. (You’ll find their know-how within the kitchens at Morton’s, Del Frisco’s, and different family names the steak-obsessed would possibly acknowledge.) It was simple to arrange and function, and it boasted very excessive warmth—particularly as I raised the venison nearer to the highest infrared burner. 

The Take a look at

This time, I used an 18-ounce backstrap lower from the underside, which was thicker than the lower I cooked on coals. I seasoned the meat (with out sugar this time) and introduced it to room temp. Just like the prior check, I seared each side for two minutes, let it relaxation for five and oiled it, then raised it for an additional 1 and 1/2 minutes on both sides. Primarily based on the extent I put the backstrap within the oven, I cooked it at 1,100 F for the primary 2-minute session, then when it was barely decrease within the oven, it cooked at round 750 F.

The interior temp rose from 71 F to 93 F in the course of the preliminary sear. After 5 minutes of resting, the inner temp rose to 105 F. After the additional 1 and 1/2 minutes at 750 F for both sides, the inner temp learn 119 F. The longer second sear session (in comparison with the 1-minute direct-coals technique) was supposed to get the inner temp nearer to 120 F and let carryover end off the backstrap. After a 5-minute relaxation, I began carving as the inner temp learn 136 F.

The consequence: Good char on the surface, though the outer layers have been extra well-done than I might have most well-liked. Carryover did shoot up the inner temp faster than anticipated (I’m used to 2 levels per minute of relaxation after a scorching sear.)

Conclusion: A lot of these grills are constant, fast, and simple to function, but additionally costly (this one value $1,250). Whereas heavy, they’re nonetheless very transportable and will simply sit on a tailgate. Is the price of this know-how value it? I’d argue the profit is extra the simplicity and consistency versus the flavour. Cooking venison straight on coals and wooden embers made for excellent taste, nevertheless it additionally took over an hour to burn the fabric all the way down to the place I might do this. The infrared grill saves and is far more handy.

Mouthfeel Grade: B. Extra robust on outer layers than I might have most well-liked and a noticeable distinction between these layers and the medium-rare heart.

Taste Grade: B+. Nonetheless flavorful and juicy within the center, with a little bit of grill-house char on the surface. It was good, however not nice.

Last Ideas on Grilling Venison

meater thermometer with venison
meat thermometer will maintain you from overcooking these tender cuts. Jack Hennessy

I’ve grilled numerous steaks, each recreation and beef. When you begin cooking at 700 to 800 levels F, the rise in temperature over time turns into common it doesn’t matter what temperature you’re working with. Searing a backstrap for 1 minute at 700 F will elevate the inner temp the roughly the identical quantity as a sear at 1,200 to 1,400 F would. The one potential distinction is a super-high temp will result in faster carryover, however even that appears negligible.

Nonetheless, cooking on a cast-iron skillet or different seasoned grill floor at 700 F or extra will most actually burn off that seasoning. You will want to re-season that cooking floor, which would require extra time and care versus one thing extra straight-forward like a quick-and-hot sear on coals and embers or an infrared grill.

Very excessive warmth in a really brief period of time will result in thicker, extra cooked outer layers within the meat (particularly in comparison with the reverse-sear technique), however that isn’t essentially a foul factor. It’s a unique mouthfeel that I generally get pleasure from. After making an attempt it, it’s possible you’ll agree.

Learn Subsequent: What Temperature Ought to You Cook dinner Venison?

My greatest takeaway from the high-heat venison check is that this: The following time you end up with a punched tag, miles from propane, and your solely possibility is a firepit, carve off these backstraps. Begin a hearth and season the meat whereas letting the coals burn down for an hour. Sear both sides on glowing embers and coals for two minutes, let it relaxation for five, then sear it once more for 1 minute on both sides. Let it relaxation for 10 minutes, carve, and luxuriate in the perfect venison you might have ever tasted.

Ideas or questions? Attain out to me on Instagram (@WildGameJack) with any questions or feedback.

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