When asked what my favorite Wild Game dish is, I always seem to find myself rambling off dozens of recipes rather than picking just one. It’s like being a kid in a candy store, there are so many mouthwatering meals that it seems impossible to have to pick just one. But when asked what my favorite cut from a game animal is, I would say the tenderloin – hands down. Simple and delicate, the tenderloin doesn’t require anything more than a good rub of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then add a few tablespoons of butter and sliced garlic to a hot cast iron skillet and sear until browned on all sides. Remove and let the meat rest before slicing and serving.
The time it takes to sear a tenderloin depends on both the size of the tenderloin and the heat that you cook the tenderloin over. This cow elk tenderloin was pretty thick in diameter so I knew it would take more time to cook than if I was searing up a deer or antelope tenderloin. Remember to use a meat thermometer if you are unsure about the internal temperature of the loin. The other factor is the heat. I like to cook these over a medium heat to ensure that the pan is hot while cooking and all sides are evenly browned. If your pan starts to smoke, turn the heat down or pick the pan up off of the direct heat and keep rotating the loin during cooking. You can also add a sprig of thyme or rosemary for an added aromatic.
My Cooking Time for Medium Rare
The best way to ensure that your meat is cooked to your liking is to use a meat thermometer, but if you’re like me, you have an idea of what medium rare FEELS like.
- Elk Tenderloin: 12-14 minutes (+/- 2 minutes)
- Deer Tenderloin: 8-10 minutes (+/- 2 minutes)
- Antelope Tenderloin: 6-8 minutes (+/- 2 minutes)