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This recipe for Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Venison Backstrap is delicious enough, that you can just stop right there, halfway through the recipe title. No need for further embellishments, like balsamic cherries and farro. Your family and guests will be delighted with the backstrap alone.
Because my husband is an avid and successful hunter, our freezer is almost filled year round with venison, and we especially love both the tenderloin, and the backstrap. This recipe will work equally well with both cuts, and I encourage you to adopt it as a standard method for how to grill those in your own home, as well. The grilling method involves bacon. Few excellent recipes do not.
This recipe also involves Slap Yo’ Mama Butt Rub.
What IS Slap Yo’ Mama Butt Rub?
Slap Yo’ Mama Butt Rub a spice blend I came up with that you can mix up for yourself, and enjoy in your own home. I store mine in a Mason Jar, and there it sits, ready to be used, whenever we have a hankering for it. Which is almost every time we grill. We use it on chicken, venison, and in particular, pork. You can read all about it here
Can I substitute salt and pepper?
Well…you can….but you’ll be missing out on a lot of great flavor!
What’s All This About Cherries?
Since I’ve never been one to shy away from gilding the lily, I thought I’d take our standby recipe for Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Venison Backstrap and jazz it up a bit. This past spring, each time I’d go to the grocery store, I kept hearing the siren song of cherries. (Cherries and cherry juice help you sleep, you know!) So, I kept carting home bags of my favorite fruit. Before long, I began wondering how I might use a few of those cherries in recipes.
So, here’s the way my thought process at dinnertime went, one night this past spring. I was taking a Mental Pantry Inventory, and here were my findings in regard to that night’s dinner:
- Venison Backstrap: check.
- Bacon: check.
- Slap Yo’ Mama Butt Rub: check.
- Cherries: check.
- Spinach: check.
- Additional side dish????
Then I remembered I’d purchased some farro the last time I was at Trader Joe’s.
What is Farro?
First: let’s be clear. Farro has nothing to do with letting my people go. Nor is it related to Mia and Frank, nor Rosemary’s Baby.
Farro is an ancient grain that comes from certain types of hulled wheat, (wheat that can’t be threshed) so, sadly for my gluten free friends, it’s not gluten free. It has a nutty flavor, and a satisfying chew that reminds me of barley. I’d seen a recipe for it that I wanted to try in the New York Times, by Martha Rose Shulman, that I was pretty sure involved cherries. Sold! Farro would be my side dish for the evening.
The Bonus? This recipe is so stupid-easy that anyone can make it, and if you do, your guests will swoon at the presentation, and you’ll look like Freaking Julia Child, or the equally Freaking Jaques Pepin. Think of it as my little secret weapon of a recipe gift to you. You’re welcome.
- For the Backstrap:
- 1 venison backstrap, approximately 2 -3 lbs.
- 2 Tablespoons of Slap Yo' Mama Butt Rub
- 4 - 6 slices of bacon
- For the Sauce:
- 8 oz. cherries
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- For the Farro:
- 1 cup 10 minute or quick cook farro
- 2 cups chicken stock or water
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- freshly ground black pepper
- Dry backstrap with paper towels, and then rub with Slap Yo' Mama Butt Rub: enough to cover it.
- Wrap bacon around backstrap and secure with wooden toothpicks.
- Prepare grill for direct and indirect grilling.
- Follow package directions for quick cook or 10 minute farro, using chicken stock, if possible, for the water. (Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover with lid, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, and stir in butter, thyme leaves, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Put backstrap over the indirect side to begin. Leave over indirect heat until it reaches an internal temp of 105º, turning once during that time, to cook both sides. Place over direct heat to cook bacon to its desired degree of doneness. We remove our backstrap from the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 120º, and allow it to rest on the cutting board for about 10 minutes. Slice into medallions.
- Pit the cherries and cut in half
- While the venison is resting, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add butter. When the foam subsides, add the cherries and sauté for a minute. Then add the balsamic vinegar and stir till it evaporates.
- To plate, put the desired amount of spinach down on each plate, spoon on farro on top, arrange venison medallions beside farro, and drizzle the venison and farro with the balsamic cherries.
Because venison is such a lean meat, we have found that eating it medium rare provides the very best flavor. To us, any more cooked brings out a gamier flavor, and the meat toughens as well.
Be sure to buy the quick cook variety of farro. The longer cooking varieties will increase your cooking time significantly.
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