When people find out what I do for a living, one of the most often asked question is, “What is your favorite venison recipe?” To me, that’s like asking to pick a favorite child. But this recipe ranks way up there on the list.
I love caramelized onions. I love pan-fried backstrap. Put them together and you get this recipe. I like to cook the onions with butter in an enameled Dutch oven. Instead of stove top, which requires almost constant attention to keep the onions from burning, I caramelize them in the oven. Yes, it takes some time (two hours) but I only need to stir them three or four times and they don’t burn. Use yellow, white or red onions, or blend all three.
The backstrap chunks get dusted in a blend of seasoned flour and Traeger Coffee rub, a blend of coffee, black pepper and a touch of sweetness. They then get browned in hot oil.
The seared backstrap gets nestled in the red wine and rosemary caramelized onions, then simmered a few more minutes for the flavors to mingle. The backstrap stays a nice medium-rare and is oh-so-tender.
2-3 pounds of venison backstrap
cut into 2x2 chunks
½ cup all purpose flour seasoned with a tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of black pepper
¼ cup Traeger Coffee rub
6-8 medium to large onions sliced
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves crushed in a mortar and pestle
Add the stick of butter and the onions to a lidded Dutch oven. Season with two tablespoons salt. Add the lid and place in a 300-degree oven for two hours. Stir every 30 minutes.
Once the onions are just about finished, coat the backstrap in the flour and Coffee Rub mixture. Heat ¼ inch of vegetable oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Brown the backstrap for one to two minutes per side, in batches, until all of it is brown and crispy. You aren’t trying to cook it completely through at this point, just the surface.
Move the onions from the oven to the cooktop and add the crushed rosemary. Continue stirring until the onions take on a deep golden color, usually another 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the red wine and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Nestle the backstrap chunks in the onions, return the lid to the pot and reduce the heat. Simmer 10 minutes.
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