A lot of meat is expensive these days. And to steer clear from the grocery stores is something most of us can’t do. We need milk and eggs and sugar, etc. If only there was another way to get our meat. I take tips from my hunting friends and incorporate wild game into my diet. It’s a great way to save money, and the food is fantastic. Wild duck is probably my favorite of all time. But running in a close second is deer. Venison, as most people refer to it by, it a delicious type of red meat, not that far removed from beef. The taste is remarkably similar. And just like beef, there are good cuts, and some cuts better suited for hamburger.
I’m not much of a hunter myself, so if I can talk my friends into supplying my deep-freezer with some choice cuts, then I’ll eat like a king. My favorite cut of venison is the tenderloin. Unless you’re out to make burger or sausage, I don’t know what else the rest of the deer is used for. I’ve made a few decent roasts on my grill, but the texture isn’t to my liking. I like taking two whole tenderloins, giving them a good, spicy dry rub, and roasting them over my fire and finishing them off with a maple glaze.
Maple Glazed Venison Tenderloin
If you can’t get your hands on venison, you can always use pork or beef. The important part is the tenderloin here. We’ll need some garlic and onion powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, olive oil, butter, maple syrup and hot sauce. If you’d rather skip the glaze and stick with the meat, that’s fine. But the glaze is part of what makes this dish unique. The maple marries the venison perfectly and creates and wonderful flavor.
To make our dry rub, we’ll want to use 2 tablespoons each of salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, chili, and paprika. Throw in ½ tablespoon of cumin, just for a little extra smokiness. Rub the tenderloin down well and allow it to rest for about an hour at room temperature. This will allow those flavors to really sink in. After the hour is up, you can rub the tenderloin lightly with olive oil. Turn your grill to medium and allow it to heat up.
While the grills heating, let’s see about making that glaze. Simply melt ½ stick of butter in a sauce pan, add 1 cup of maple syrup and a few shakes (I like a few tablespoons) of hot sauce. Set this aside out of the way and take that meat out to the grill. I like to let it go for about 4 minutes on each side with the lid open. I’ll stand over it and turn it and turn it until it’s completely brown. Then I’ll move it on the top rack, close the lid, and allow it to cook for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes are up, I put it back down onto the main racks.
I take my glaze and brush it on lightly. I like to let it cook for almost a minute on each side, turn it, glaze it, and repeat. When it’s all said and done, I usually get about 5 coats of the glaze on the tenderloin in about 10 minutes of cooking. It will really start to burn if you don’t turn. Maple syrup has high sugar content and doesn’t place nice with heat. When the tenderloin’s done, plate it uncovered and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Slice it thick or thin, your choice. You’ll be amazed at the one-of-a-kind taste.