Venison Tips by Tim H. Martin, with Grillmasters Test by Nationwide Insurance
Now that summer has officially arrived, many of our Buckmasters members are firing up the grills and using up what remains of last season’s venison tenderloins.
The most common sin we as grilling-hunters commit is overcooking venison and causing it to be tough. With venison, well done is NOT a good thing. Err to the rare side.
Medium rare is really what you are after. This means when you cut into a tenderloin and it’s pink in the center — not too bloody — with a darker halo and even darker crust, you did it right. If it’s solid gray-colored in the middle, you and your family and friends will have some extra chewing to do.
You can achieve perfectly cooked tenderloins by starting off over the hottest part of the grill, to achieve a nice sear, then moving the meat to the outskirts of the heat to finish cooking slowly.
And if you’re like me and wrap your tenderloins with bacon, the best way to keep bacon from flaring up is to parboil the slices before toothpicking. This renders out excessive fat that causes flames, yet does not affect flavor.
Cutting into a tenderloin to test doneness is the quickest way to release the precious juices and dry it out. Do this sparingly! Instead, use your spatula or bottom of a fork and do the press test.
Mash the tenderloin gently. If it feels completely soft, it’s not ready. If it feels a little bit squashy and slightly springy, it’s probably just right. If it has no spring at all, you left it on too long.
And, did you know that where you place food on the grill is just about as important as how long you cook it?
Here’s more about that with a fun online game from our friends at Nationwide. Whether you’re grilling venison, burgers, chicken, fish or veggie skewers, proper placement on a hot grill ensures the best flavor, and this test will teach you more.
Bon Appetit, Y’all,
Tim H. Martin