Venison backstrap is a cut of meat from a deer. On a whole deer, the backstraps run along the length of the spine. The backstrap is considered one of the most tender cuts of meat on a deer because the muscle itself is rarely used. In general, the more a muscle is used, the tougher it becomes.
There are several different methods of removing the backstraps from a deer. The most common method is removing both backstrap muscles from the deer after it has been field dressed. While the deer is hanging upside down, a knife is inserted along the spine near the deer's hindquarters and is worked down, cutting close to the vertebrae, all the way to the neck.
After the cuts have been made to separate the backstrap from the spine, a cut is made across the backstrap all the way to the ribs near the first cut. From this point, the knife is used around the backstrap to separate it from the ribs. This is done on both sides of the deer and should provide two long cuts of meat.
Venison backstrap is both very lean and very tender. This should be taken into consideration when preparing and cooking the backstrap. In general, a cut of meat that is very lean will cook more quickly than a fattier piece of meat. This is important for a preparer to keep in mind because it is easier to overcook lean meat, which can make it tougher and dryer. Butter or bacon fat are sometimes used as coatings for lean cuts of meat to prevent overcooking.
There are several ways of preparing and cooking venison backstrap. As a general rule, any recipe for beef or pork tenderloin can be used for venison, as long as the cooking times are adjusted for size and fat content. For example, a recipe for filet mignon or tenderloin medallions would work well with venison backstrap.
One of the most popular methods of preparing this cut is slicing the meat in filet mignon-sized portions — 1-2 inches (2.5-5.1 cm) thick — marinating them, wrapping them in thick-cut bacon and grilling them. Wrapping the meat with bacon not only adds extra flavor, it also changes the way the meat is cooked because of the fat content. The meat is ready to be taken off the grill after the outside edges are slightly crispy. The internal temperature of venison should reach at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) for safety.