Bordeaux Backstraps

1 backstrap, ~ 1 lb, cut in half

  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 20 grinds of black pepper
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, peel and trim
  • 4 sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary and or thyme)
  • ½ cup red wine, for oven roast, try Bordeaux
  • ½ cup red wine, for deglazing


Details:  Preheat oven to 380 ºF (roast); see LessonsBackstraps1 on deglazing, page 253

  • Season both sides of backstraps with sea salt and pepper
  • Heat olive oil in a sauté pan (pan must be oven and stovetop safe for roasting and deglazing) over high heat until shimmering (just below the smoking point)
  • Add the backstraps and garlic cloves to the shimmering oil
  • Sear the backstraps for ~2 min on one side, or until they naturally release upon a vigorous shake; when you can easily flip them, turn them over
  • Add the herb sprigs and ½ cup of wine to the venison; shake the pan to blend
  • Transfer the pan to the upper third of the oven and roast for 7 – 8 min until the thickest part of the backstraps reaches 120 – 125 ºF (longer for larger fillets)
  • Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the backstraps to a cutting board
  • Add the second ½ cup of wine to the garlic and herbs; adjust the heat to high
  • Scrape up the caramelized browned bits with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan and incorporate into sauce; reduce the sauce by about half to a thickened au jus
  • Lightly press the roasted garlic cloves into the finished sauce to incorporate their flavor, while keeping them whole to serve on each slice of venison


NOTE:  Gourmet restaurants garner high prices for this dish; yet succulent backstraps can be prepared at home in < 15 min thanks to wine’s tenderizing effect.  Red Bordeaux wines (pronounced:  boar-doe) are produced in the Bordeaux region of France; and are typically blends of wine grapes such as: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.  Deglazing the au jus over high heat burns off the alcohol and softens the garlic cloves.  Larger backstraps and increase roasting time softens cloves further.