Tips for the Perfect Venison Tenderloin

By now, you've heard me talk about sous vide—cooking meat "under vacuum" in a hot water bath. There are a lot of sous-vide machines on the market, and prices are getting cheap enough that it's worth considering for the home cook. I use the Anova and couldn't be happier with how it performs. Sous vide is now my go-to cooking technique for pheasant breasts, and I'm currently experimenting with it on fish. I'll keep you updated on that.

This video from ChefSteps illustrates how easy it is to make a perfect beef tenderloin, and there's no reason it wouldn't work with venison—either whitetail tenderloin or a big chunk of backstrap. I particularly like how Grant Crilly pre-sears the tenderloin before it goes into the water bath. I've always sears my steaks after, but by doing it first, the meat takes on a rich flavor early in the process, allowing it to infuse during the next 60 to 90 minutes it's going to take for the venison to get to medium rare.

If you haven't tried sous-vide cooking yet, I suggest you make it a resolution in 2016. Either hope Santa stick a circulator under the tree, or look into the various hacks for cooking sous-vide style without any special tools, other than a pot of hot water and a thermometer. One of the best ways is with a beer cooler, which Jonathan Miles details here.