Serious Eats: Recipes

Slow-Roasted Spice-Rubbed Venison Loin

A couple months back I shot a couple deer in northern Michigan. Chichi wrote about us eating the heart, which was extraordinarily delicious. I saved the loins for my family's Christmas dinner, which due to various scheduling conflicts, took place last night, a good week before the actual day.

Cooking venison loin is not all that different from cooking beef loin, except that it is significantly leaner. Since fat transmits heat much slower than lean protein, in beef, it acts as an insulator. Thus the fattier the cut, the slower it cooks. Lean venison take only about two-thirds the time to cook than an equivalent-sized piece of beef.

I debated cooking this sous-vide, but in the end decided to simply use my inverse-oven technique: start it out in a low oven until it comes to within a few degrees of your desired finished temperature, then slap it into a ripping-hot skillet to sear the outside. The result is perfectly evenly cooked meat.

The spice rub gets some bitterness from coffee and a bit of heat from ancho chilis, but it's totally optional—feel free so season with just salt and pepper and serve with a simple pan sauce or garlic-parsley butter.

Note: This recipe will work equally well with a beef tenderloin.

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