Venison Backstrap with Black and Blue Bourbon Sauce

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
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The blackberries on our back ridge are starting to ripen. The kids headed out this morning and picked the first of the spring for us.

The kids donned long sleeved shirts and went blackberry picking this morning.

Bring on the cobblers, the pies, and the dumplings. But fresh berries don’t have to be relegated to dessert; they make an excellent sauce to spoon over a medium-rare grilled venison backstrap as well. This sauce is slightly on the sweet side and pairs well with a strongly seasoned savory venison.

Pull the venison at 130 degrees and rest for a nice medium rare.

I mixed fresh blueberries and blackberries for this recipe, but straight blackberries will work just as well. To get the most flavor from your backstrap, season it and let it rest in the refrigerator for four hours up to overnight before grilling. 

Season the backstrap and marinade at least four hours in the refrigerator.


Half of a venison backstrap, 2-3 pounds

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1 Tablespoon cracked black pepper

1 Tablespoon Cavender’s Greek Seasoning

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, crushed



1 cup fresh blackberries

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¼ sweet onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons honey

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons bourbon

Cooking Instructions

Black and Blue Bourbon Sauce


Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the diced onions and a pinch of salt. Saute over medium-high heat, 3 to 5 minutes, until the onions soften and begin to become translucent. Add the garlic and continue to stir for 3 to 5 minutes more.

Add the berries and other sauce ingredients to the sauteed onions and garlic.

Add the berries, balsamic vinegar, honey and brown sugar to the pan and stir until the berries soften and the total volume is reduced by a third, around 25 to 30 minutes. Add the bourbon and stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.


Venison Backstrap

Trim backstrap of all fat and silverskin. Rub with olive oil and garlic, then evenly season with salt, pepper, Cavender’s Greek Seasoning and rosemary. Place backstrap in a Ziplock-style bag and refrigerate from four to eight hours. When you are ready to grill, place the backstrap on the countertop and allow it to warm to room temperature (30 minutes or so). Start a hot charcoal fire or turn your gas grill to high. Once your grill is screaming hot, place the backstrap along one edge of the grill grate. Let it cook for four minutes, then roll the backstrap forward a quarter turn. Grill for four more minutes. Rotate another quarter turn and four more minutes. Finally, roll the backstrap another quarter turn to finish searing all four sides. For most whitetail backstraps, a total cook time of 15 to 20 minutes is just about right for a medium-rare center.

Sear the backstrap on all four sides on a hot grill.

If your backstrap is on the thick or thin side, an instant-read thermometer should be your guide. For a nice medium-rare, pull the backstrap once the internal temperature hits 130-degrees Fahrenheit. Tent the backstrap loosely with foil. The temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests, finishing at around 135 degrees. After resting for 15 minutes, slice the backstrap and spoon the berry sauce over the medallions at the table.

Plate the venison medallions and spoon over the black and blue bourbon sauce.


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