Venison tenderloin is bathed in a boldly seasoned marinade and practically melts in your mouth with each tender bite. A flavorful celebration of the hunt!
As anyone who has ever drunk the last cup of coffee can attest, life is full of disappointment. However, I don’t believe you can be a pessimist if you are a hunter. No pessimist would ever be able to convince himself to get up at 4 in the morning just to march into the middle of the woods in the freezing cold and stare at the same trees all day long. Then do it all over again and again and again every chance he gets.
Despite your best efforts, at the end of a long season sometimes your only reward is a cold bowl of tag soup. However, other times your hard work and dedication pays off and you are rewarded with a freezer full of venison. For me, I always celebrate a successful hunt by cooking up the venison tenderloins before the rest of the deer has even been butchered.
Venison Tenderloin vs Backstrap
There is often confusion over what is the tenderloin and what is the backstrap. The venison tenderloin is a small strip of meat found inside the rib cage, whereas the backstrap (or simply known as “loin”) is the considerably larger strip of meat that runs along the backbone – hence “backstrap”.
This marinated venison tenderloin recipe is designed for the tenderloin but can be used with the backstrap if desired. However, if you are looking for a recipe specifically designed for the backstrap, check out my roasted venison loin recipe, it features a phenomenal balsamic pan sauce!
Marinated Venison Tenderloin
I have always enjoyed deep earthy flavors paired with venison. My marinade features a robust combination of Worcestershire, soy, garlic, fresh ground pepper, and smoked paprika to really deepen the flavor. While a vibrant splash of red wine vinegar adds a contrasting high note. If you are a whiskey aficionado, an optional splash of bourbon is really a nice compliment to this marinade as well.
I find it is easiest to marinate meat in a gallon zip-lock bag (affiliate link). You will get better coverage on your meat, but I still recommend flipping the bag every hour or so.
How Long to Marinate Venison
Because of the generous amount of salt in the Worcestershire and soy, as well as the vinegar added, I would keep the marinating time to 8 hours or less or you risk ruining the texture of the tenderloin. 2 hours is the minimum time I soak the venison.
Best Way to Cook Venison Tenderloin
Venison tenderloin is exceptionally versatile, allowing you to prepare it in a skillet, oven, or on a grill. Personally, I think a grill is the most flavorful, but it isn’t always fun to cook outside during the fall. Searing it in a skillet is my second choice, and also the easiest option. Just melt some butter in the skillet and cook these over medium heat until it reaches your desired level of doneness.
Marinated Venison Tenderloin
- 2 Venison Tenderloins
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 clove Garlic (smashed)
- 1 tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a dish until well blended.
- Place venison tenderloin in a gallon zip-loc bag and pour marinade over the tenderloins.
- Place sealed bags in the refrigerator and let marinate for 4 hours (minimum of 2 hours, max of 8), turning the bag every hour to ensure even coverage.
- Remove tenderloins from marinade and heat skillet over medium heat and add butter.
- Once butter is foaming, place venison in the skillet and cook until it reaches your desired level of doneness, flipping and rotating every couple minutes to ensure even cooking.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of my mouthwatering venison recipes too!
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