Charlie Cooks Backstrap

Marlo was given elk back strap (think filet mignon) from his trusted co-worker, Dave. Congratulations on your retirement, Dave! Marlo is not crazy about wild game (he pretty much hates it). However, we were talking with our brother-in-law, Charles Anderson, about this elk and Charles got all excited about how he cooks venison back strap. Now, I said excited and I mean it. Have you ever talked to Charles about a recipe? I know!! So I asked if we could bring the back strap to him and he would show us how he prepares it. He agreed and it happened last Sunday evening.

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Charles told us to have it thawed so Marlo and I brought it just like that and added it to the venison back strap he had. Charles had the eggs broken into a shallow dish with a little milk and Krusteaz pancake mix with buttermilk spread into another. I asked how he got started making this. He said it all started when Teddy, Charles and Kesi’s son, got a huge mule deer during youth hunt, about 16 years ago. Charles got this recipe from a good friend who hunts and fishes a great deal and has perfected this recipe.

Charles carefully trimmed any visible fat and sliced the loin in ½ inch slices. The elk was about twice the diameter of the venison so he cut each slice in half to make them uniform. With all the slices at room temperature he warmed a non-stick frying pan and melted butter-flavored Crisco and after drenching them in the egg mixture and covering with Krusteaz, he carefully fried them in batches. He cooked them about 1 ½ minutes on each side and when it was ready to turn, sprinkled lightly with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and then placed them in a warm oven being careful to keep the elk from the venison so we could taste the difference. He was careful to wipe the pan with a paper towel before starting the venison. He said he used the butter Crisco to make them crispy.

Charles said the wild taste is not a problem if you cook it right. He was careful to trim any visible fat and stressed that this was important. He has found this recipe works and the back strap is delicious! DON’T OVERCOOK..

I watched him cook all the back strap and at the same time he had potatoes boiling. While he finished the meat, Teddy mashed the potatoes, tossed a cabbage and kale salad, and stirred up delicious buttered whole kernel corn. Charles’s mother, Dorothy Anderson, arrived and Kesi, Marlo’s sister, Teddy, Charles and I all sat down to a delicious dinner.

We compared the elk and the venison and I preferred the taste of the elk but the venison was more tender. Other’s preferred the venison, hands down. Marlo ate it and liked it! He said he liked the elk better and did not mind that it was a bit tough. (Keep in mind he is kinda used to tough--he eats what I cook).

So, if you are thinking, “What? That’s vegetarian or pescatarian, or whatever?

Point well taken. I rarely eat red meat but when an occasion like this comes around, I say, “Eat!”

Here is the recipe and maybe you will have opportunity to try back strap this fall.

Charles is known in our family for his Christmas cranberries. These are not your regular cranberries. They have been prepared by Charles’s mom, Dorothy, over the decades and he brings some to our feast on Christmas Eve. They include generous portions of spirits and sweet sugar. They have been fondly referred to as booze berries and I think they are delicious. I have used their recipe for years and when I was talking about cooking this backstrap with Charlie, my sister and editor, Connie, asked if his cranberries would go with the backstrap. So I asked him and Charlie agreed they would be great with the backstrap. So here is Charlie’s Cranberries recipe. My mouth is watering thinking about them.

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I would love to hear what you think. Thanks for reading this.