Here is a recipe for some bacon wrapped venison steaks that I’ll put up against a beef steak anyday. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE beef steaks, and they are the gold standard when it comes to fine dining off the hot wood coals. But some folks have the misconception that venison is too lean to grill and will be too dry and/or gamey tasting. I say nonsense, if you handle the meat correctly, trim it well and add a little pork fat to it, you can turn out steaks that would make Longhorn’s want to change their name to Big Racks!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Venison steaks, cut from the backstrap or from the ham
Montreal steak seasoning
Hickory, oak, pecan or mesquite wood
Start by cutting your venison steaks. I like to process my own deer, and am by no means an expert butcher, but over the years I have learned alot of tips and techniques to get the most out my venison, both quantity and quality wise. In this particular case I cut these steaks from the top round portion of the deer’s back leg. Prior to cutting the steaks, I had kept the deer ham and the rest of the meat in a cooler with bags of ice, still in the bag, packed around the meat, with the drain of the cooler open so that it could constantly drain, for 5 days to let the meat “bleed out” and age. Now this is not to be confused with dry aging which is an entirely different process. On the 5th day, I removed the meat from the cooler and trimmed all the fat from the hams and the rest of the meat. I then deboned the hams by seperating the major layers of the meat, which is easy to do once you start. There are alot of charts on the internet to show you how this can be done, just do a search. The next thing you want to do after you have seperated the layers of the ham is to remove the silver skin and membrane type matter from the surface of your cuts. This can be a tedious process, but makes a big difference in the final quality of the cut of meat that you are left with. Notice my steaks are lean, clean and beautiful.
For this cook I used the Weber Kettle. You want to cook these steaks just as you would a beef steak, over a searing hot fire. So for me, that means starting out with about 1 3/4 chimney of lump charcoal. Dump about a chimney full in the grill, unlit, then light another 3/4 chimney full and dump it in once it gets burning good. Be sure to bank it on one side, not only to create a hot and cool zone, but to concentrate your heat in one area, as you are going to be cooking directly over the coals at around 500 degrees. Throw a couple of chunks of your favorite wood on the coals for a little flavor. My favorite for steaks is mesquite. Meanwhile, go ahead and get your steaks seasoned up and ready for the grill. I like to take my steaks out of the refrigerator at least an hour or so before I light the grill to let them warm up a little. Wrap the venison steaks with bacon, securing with a toothpick. Next, season them with Old WoodFire Grill’s KK’s 10 BBQ Rub and let them rest while the fire is getting going. Just before you are going to put them on the grill, drizzle the steaks with olive oil and lightly season with a little Montreal steak seasoning.
When the fire has reached its searing point, close the lid and wait until the flames have died down and the coals are glowing bright, then lightly brush the cooking grate with olive oil, careful not to let the oil drip onto the coals and flame up. Place the steaks on the freshly oiled grate at a 45 degree angle, so as to get nice grill marks. Close the lid and let the steak sear for 1 minute, then turn 90 degrees on the same side and repeat. You will be catching the fire at its hottest point and will get the best grill marks that way, and this is the side that you want to place upward on the plate when you serve the steaks. I like to use a cast iron grate to obtain the best marks. I have an old cast iron grate that came out of an old gas grill that I modified to fit my Weber, but you can buy a small one from grill supply stores. Repeat the process by turning the steaks over and cooking the other side in the same fashion. On the final flip, you can let the steak continue to cook past the one minute mark to reach the level of doneness that you prefer. The thickness of your steak will dictate the cooking time as well. I like my steaks medium rare, and for steaks as thick as I cut these (about 1-1/2 inches thick), I cooked them for a total of 6 minutes.
When the steaks are done, place them in a dish or tupperware type bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve them up with a baked potato and some sauteed mushrooms.