Monday, November 11, 2013

Candied Venison Tenderloin

Here's a guest blog recipe from John Rollins III:

I would like to thank the staff at the Feeding Ger Sasser Blogspot for the opportunity to write and share a guest spot on their blog. If anyone knows more about healthy eating it's these fine folks and I encourage any and everyone to give their recipes a try.
So as most of us know it is that time of year when the leaves start to change their colors, the temperature starts to slowly become chillier, days are shorter and shorts and t - shirts have more than likely found their way to the back of the closet.
The majority of people unfortunately find themselves becoming depressed that the long warm days of summer have come to a close but if you're a hunter, especially a deer hunter, this is your season. The season when you navigate your way to a treestand under the cover of darkness in the early morning hours while most people are lying in bed(quick confession, I am not a morning person and only hunt evenings, hah!) or you sit until darkness falls in a treestand in order to quietly exit your property without being detected while most people are in for the night having dinner or are probably on their couch watching their favorite sitcom on television. For that small percentage of us these are our days of summer.
If you're not a deer hunter, in my opinion, you're missing out. There's so many great things that an individual can take away from it that it is far to much to list. The enjoyment is the peacefulness. No sounds of the outside world exist. It is only you, the sound of the wind blowing through changing leaves, the rustling of squirrels jumping from branch to branch harvesting their food for the winter to come and the view of God's masterpiece that most of us refer to as nature and it's the time you have with just yourself to reflect on the past, present and future. Hunting certainly falls into the "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" philosophy, at least for myself. But let us not forget the ultimate rush that causes an accelerated pulse and increased respirations when you have a deer walking just yards from you only to quickly be silenced by the sound of a bowstring being released knowing the hours of practice you have put in honing your craft has come full circle. Lastly it is physical, hiking hills scouting for sign or tracking a blood trail, climbing trees to hang treestands and if you are lucky enough dragging your kill out of the woods. For me this is great because when deer season approaches I am in the woods and not in the gym. I enjoy the gym but if I have an opportunity to hunt I am going to be in the woods. I know, slacker.
The enjoyment and excitement is like nothing I have ever experienced. It is not for every one and if you do not hunt you have no idea the feeling I am describing but if you Crossfit.... think of it as seeing "Fran" or "Murph" on the whiteboard. If you do not participate in either I have no idea what to say to you other than I hope you have or will find a hobby that is more or just as exciting as hunting or crossfit.
So you do not hunt or Crossfit? Well maybe one thing we could agree on is eating healthy and that is where there this guest spot on the blog comes in to play. I truly feel you can not get any healthier meat than wild game, venison. Why? Simple. No hormones and no antibiotics have been chemically engineered and fed to these animals. The majority of a deers diet consist of Acorns, which are extremely high in protein and fat along with clover, the greens on soybeans and winter turnips if available. There are also many other types of greens deer will consume. Many people plant food plots to make sure the deer they have on their property are nutritonally well kept. Deer have complex digestive systems and they will only take in what they can digest. We could probably learn something from deer when it comes to nutrition if you think about it. Occasionally they will feed on corn but from what I have witnessed for myself the majority of their food source is protein, fat and greens. One more note, I do not think you could get anymore free ranging than a wild animal? Venison is extremely lean meat and has a very high protein count, along with the meat being antibiotic and hormone free it is what a crossfitter or paleo diet follower would want on their plate. It is also very delicious. This is one of the biggest reasons every year for the past two that I have put the time in a treestand in hopes I can fill my freezer with meat I know is healthy for my family and myself. The best part about venison is the tenderloin or what most hunters refer to as backstraps. Venison tenderloin has been considered to be the filet mignon of the beef industry and to be honest you can keep the filet mignon, I'll take the vension. The tenderloins run along the top sides of a deer. You also have two inner tenderloins but they very seldom yield much meat but they are also very delicious. Like anything else the larger the deer the larger the tenderloins. You have two options with the tenderloins when it comes to processing: leave them whole or cut them into steaks/chops. If you want to have an understanding of what venison tenderloin looks like it is comparable to a pork tenderloin only red in color, leaner and the majority of the time not as much meat. I butterfly mine into steaks but the choice is yours. Either way, if you follow the recipe below it's going to come out tasting the same and will work either way. You can cook tenderloin several different ways but my favorite is to candy it and wrap it in bacon. I say "candy" but that might not be politically correct. To be honest I could care less.
Last but not least. I know people are against hunting but I believe God put animals on this earth for three reasons. For balance, beauty and a food source. There are also so many memories and good things that happen because of hunting. Charities, time with family, generating a state revenue, etc... All I am saying is try not to judge a person because of their passion for hunting, in all honesty they probably have more respect for the enviroment than someone who does not hunt.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and thanks again to Feeding Ger Sasser for letting me share!
This is how I make the recipe from a healthy approach. If you do not want the healthy approach now worries as it will be included.
2-3lbs of Venison Tenderloin(Whole or Steaks/Chops)
1 pkg of bacon(I use regular thin sliced)
3 Cups Dark Brown Sugar(Healthier approach use Coconut Palm Sugar. Available at Walmart)
2 Cups Soy Sauce(Healthier approach use Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce or Coconut Aminos. I have not used the coconut Aminos so I have no idea how it would come out. I've never used them mainly because I have never found them in a store locally. I can say using the gluten free soy sauce does not give you the crappy saturated feeling after)
Preheat oven to 350
With a wisk mix the soy sauce or aminos with the dark brown sugar or coconut palm sugar until well blended.
Put your tenderloin in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade in. If you have a vacuum bag use it instead of a ziplock. I've started to do this and the meat has been more tender. Seal the bag and make sure that all the meat gets coated with the marinade.
Here comes the hard part. Marinate for at least 8 hours. If you can do 24 hours it will be even better because it will allow the meat to break down more becoming very tender.
After marinating remove the meat from the bag. DO NOT DISCARD MARINADE. Wrap the  whole tenderloin or steak/chops with the bacon using toothpicks to secure the bacon. If you have any bacon left after wrapping the tenderloin or steak/chops you obviously do not appreciate bacon enough having it left over.
If you have a broiler drip pan I would highly recommend using it versus a standard baking dish. If not just use what you have. Grease your pan down with olive oil or coconut oil.
Remember that marinade I told you NOT to discard? Well I hope you still have it. Baste the marinade on the tenderloins or steak/chops.
Now place the tenderloin on the pan and put in your preheated 350 oven, unless you are like me and always forget to preheat. Cook time is going to be 25 minutes but what I do is set my timer for 10min. After 10min is up I take out the tenderloin and baste the meat with the marinade. Put it back in for another 10min and after that time is up baste again. Now to get that nice candied crisp the last 5 min turn your broiler on. Don't worry about waiting until your broiler heats up just put the tenderloin back in and switch your oven over to broiler. This cooking time should give you a medium rare to medium finish. I have found you do not want to go past a medium finish. The meat will be tough.
After it is all said and done hopefully you have something that looks like this. Enjoy!