Friday, April 19, 2024

ECHO EATS: Blairstown Backstrap

If you’re tired of trotting out the turkey on Thanksgiving, it might be time to add some venison to your holiday table. Hunters are having a great season this year, and chances are you have either bagged a deer yourself or have been gifted some venison from a friend or neighbor. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a piece of backstrap (which is the loin cut) you’re going to want to keep it simple in order to enjoy its meaty flavor. A tasty marinade helps folks who aren’t used to eating game meat enjoy this prized cut.

Backstrap is lean like grass-fed beef and cooks fast. You can certainly sear it in a pan or roast it in the oven, but it’s best done on the grill. With a balmy 45-degree temperature anticipated for Thursday, there’s nothing to stop you from getting outside and firing up some briquettes. Caution: For a game cut, this is a tender piece of venison, so don’t overcook, the less you do—the better.

Blairstown Backstrap on the Grill
● 1 to 2 pounds of backstrap (serves 3-6 people)
● 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
● 2 tablespoons of local honey (add 3 if you like a nice, caramelized glaze)
● 2 tablespoons of olive oil
● 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce● 3 cloves of chopped garlic
● 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger
● Salt and pepper to taste
● Rosemary sprigs for serving


  1. Remove any silver (connective tissue) from the backstrap with a sharp knife.
  2. Make your marinade by whisking together the apple cider vinegar, honey, olive oil,
    Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and ginger in a bowl.
  3. Pour the marinade into a vacuum seal or zip lock bag with your backstrap in it and
    massage the marinade in. Put in the fridge to marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Pull the backstrap out around 30 minutes before cooking to get it to room temperature.
  5. Heat your grill to 500 degrees and grill the backstrap for 5 minutes on each side to an
    internal temperature of 130 for medium rare or 160 degrees for well-done. If you choose well-done, bear in mind it will be tougher.
  6. Let rest for around 5 minutes, covered or tented with tinfoil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper, slice into medallions and serve.

Noshing notes: You can certainly put a bottle of A1 on the table, or whip up a fruit-based sauce for serving, but backstrap can stand alone when cooked correctly, so it isn’t necessary.

Suggested sides: Roasted potatoes and sharp greens like broccolini, spinach or kale.

Waste not, want not: Use leftover backstrap in breakfast hash. Chop up your leftover meat and fry in a lightly oiled skillet with onion, and leftover chopped potatoes, and season to taste.

Don’t slice your backstrap before cooking inorder to preserve the juices. Photo by C. Tamulonis, 11/2023.

Many thanks to Chris Davis for this beautiful cut of venison from Hardwick NJ.

Cybele Tamulonis
Cybele Tamulonis, Contributing Writer

Cybele is a writer and editor with more than 16 years in the publishing industry. An avid reader, you can usually find her with the latest new book release from the local library. She currently resides on a farm in Hardwick with her husband and four children. In her spare time, she writes historical fiction specific to New Jersey.