Southern Fried Skinnyfied Venison Tenderloin

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 2:30pm
Paige Duke

I love to have a freezer full of deer meat or “venison” for the year. It’s so nice to have some ground venison, breakfast sausage, or jalapeño sausage on hand and it’s extremely lean and healthy for you! However, I’ve always struggled with cooking my deer tenderloins or backstrap without it tasting gamey or tough. I’ve marinated it in the classic Italian dressing or coke, but have never fallen in love with the taste. This recipe changed that for me and for Ty. He said it’s the best venison he has ever tasted. The marinade gives this such a wonderful flavor and hides the gamey taste, while not overcooking the meat, keeps it juicy and tender! It also smells so aromatic and flavorful.

I brought our friend and professional hunter, Jay Presti, out to the ranch to help me cook a backstrap. He produces his own hunting show and Ty met him through a documentary he produced about Ty.

I decided to cook up two of my favorite recipes I learned from my Nana. Papa loved to garden and we would have so many fresh vegetables and fruits that he planted and cared for himself. The squash and cabbage are so simple to make and you’ll find yourself having a hard time not eating the whole pot!

Venison Tenderloins


  • 2 (1 to 1 ½ lb.) venison tenderloins or 1 backstrap
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp plus extra spring for garnish of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tsp. plus more for cooking of coarsely ground black pepper
  • ½ cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt as needed


  1. Trim any silverskin off of the tenderloins and transfer to a sturdy resealable plastic bag.
  2. Make the marinade: Combine the red wine, garlic, and soy sauce in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the chopped rosemary and the pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil; whisk until the mixture is emulsified.
  3. Pour the marinade over the meat and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, heat up a cast iron or oven proof skillet over the stove top and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade (discard the marinade). Season generously with Black Pepper, freshly ground and less generously with coarse salt.
  6. Arrange the tenderloins in the skillet and sear, turning with tongs as needed, until well-browned on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  7. Once browned, transfer the skillet with the meat in it into the oven and cook 7-10 minutes total for medium-rare or until temperature reaches 135F on a meat thermometer.
  8. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing on a diagonal. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired. Enjoy!


Nana’s Boiled Cabbage


  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth or 1 Tbsp. chicken broth concentrate
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Chop cabbage
  2. Place cabbage in a large pot and fill the pot about 1/3 of the way with water and add concentrate. If using chicken broth fill pot 1/3 of the way with the broth. Now add the oil, salt and pepper
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook about 12-15 minutes.


Nana’s Squash and Onions



  • 5 yellow squash
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice squash into ¼ inch rounds and chop onion
  2. Add squash to a pot and add water until the squash is almost covered but not completely, add oil and salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat slightly to a low boil and cook until onions and squash are tender- about 12-15 minutes



Strawberry lemonade


  • 6-8 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 cups of strawberries stemmed
  • 5 packets of stevia or 2 Tbsp. of honey or cane sugar


  1. Add water, lemon juice, stevia and strawberries to a blender and puree starting on low and working up to high for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Chill and serve


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