Tips & Tactics

Better than Backstrap?

Better than Backstrap?

By Chuck Burklund

Backstraps and tenderloins are popular cuts of deer meat, but I never hear anyone talking about my favorite piece of the deer: venison flat iron steak, also known as mock tenderloins or shoulder tenders.

That's probably because it's not the easiest cut to find and separate out. It's found inside the shoulder blade and is a distinctive muscle group.

The flat iron steaks are about 6 to 9 inches long, about 3 inches wide and roughly 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick, depending on the size of your deer.

Once you dissect it away from the shoulder blade, you'll be faced with another dilemma — a thin sheet of silvery connective tissue separating the top half from the bottom half.

The steaks are not actually equal. Think of it as a two-layer muscle separated by this tough connective tissue.

Filet it out, just like you would a fish, cutting the top steak away from the tissue, then flip it over and filet the bottom steak off the connective tissue, too.

Better than Backstrap?If you butcher your own deer, you'll get the hang pretty quickly, and you'll end up with two delectable cuts of meat from each shoulder blade.

There are several instructional butchery videos on Youtube (using beef) that will help you get the idea of where to find it on your deer. Just search “flat iron steak butchery.”

It is a bit of work, but that's when the good part starts!

Season these petite steaks with cracked pepper and kosher salt, then heat a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet and cook on high for just a minute or two on each side.

Try it. You'll think you've died and gone to venison-lover's heaven!

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