Venison Tenderloin (Backstrap)

Venison Tenderloin (Backstrap)

Backstrap is the equivalent of a beef tenderloin—lean and very tender if cooked properly (i.e., not overcooked). We prefer ours’ medium-rare. Serve with roasted asparagus or another green vegetable as well as mashed or baked potatoes. And if you don’t have access to backstrap, feel free to substitute pork tenderloins.

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  • Two 1 to 1-1/2 pound venison or pork tenderloins
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for grilling
  • 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Coarse salt


Trim any silverskin off the tenderloins and transfer to a sturdy resealable plastic bag.

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. Pour the marinade over the meat and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 450 degrees F (or High) and preheat, lid closed, for 15 minutes.

Remove the tenderloins from the marinade (discard the marinade) and pat dry. Knock off any pieces of garlic or rosemary. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and less generously with coarse salt.

Arrange the tenderloins at a diagonal to the grill grate and sear, turning with tongs as needed, until well-browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Continue to cook until the tenderloins reach your desired degree of doneness, 15 to 20 minutes total for medium-rare (135 degrees F on a meat thermometer). Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing on a diagonal. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.