Baking venison actually means roasting the meat as the first step in its preparation. The term "baking" usually applies to pastries, cakes and casseroles, while the term "roasting" applies to meats and vegetables. Both terms refer to the use of dry-heat cooking in an oven, in a tight-fitting pan or on a rack.
Treat venison as you would cuts of beef from similar parts of each animal, according to D&R Processing co-owner Dave Firnett on the D&R website. Venison loin, also called backstrap, lies along each side of the deer's spine and corresponds to rib eye and New York strip steak. Think of whole venison loin as boneless rib roast. Unlike beef, venison has little fat. Venison loin needs marinade and basting sauce to retain tenderness and flavor.
Wrap the backstrap in bacon slices held in place with toothpicks, or rub it all over with olive oil and roll it in a mixture of onion and garlic powder, parsley and black pepper. The roaster should be large enough to allow at least 1/2 inch between the venison loin and the walls of the pan. Baking the loin at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than the 350 degrees used for beef, ensures that the meat stays moist. Roast venison loin 32 to 38 minutes per lb., advises Craig Meyer of Ask the Meatman, or until a meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the loin without touching the pan registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Curried Whole Venison Loin
Make your own curry powder in a hot skillet with olive or safflower oil by mixing coriander, cumin and cardamom seeds, star anise pods and mixed peppercorns, stirring them until the scents fill your kitchen. Add turmeric, garlic powder and dried, minced onion before scraping the spices into a coffee grinder and whirling them to fine powder. Add 2 tbsp of the resulting curry powder to 16 oz. plain yogurt.
Lay the venison loin in a glass casserole dish, and cover it evenly with the curried yogurt. The USDA states that venison can marinate for three to five days safely, to reduce "gamey" flavor, but discard the marinade after using it. Use paper towels to wipe away the curried yogurt and pat the venison loin dry before you bake it.
Plain or Breaded Cutlets
If you slice venison loins into 1-inch thick cutlets, you can dredge them in flour, panko bread crumbs or crushed crackers after dipping them in yogurt, egg or pureed fruit. The venison loin cutlets need 1/4- to 1/2-inch of space between them for best results. Bake them 325 degrees Fahrenheit until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees. Let the loins rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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