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“Deer Hunting VII: Venison Tenderloin”

Tenderloin. Is there anything better?

Please name it.

Go ahead… I’ll wait…

…. …. ….

That’s what I thought.

Tenderloin…the stuff of Gods.

There were dozens of deer aging in Paul Michael’s snazzy cement hanging room at deer camp. And he let me go in and pull the tenderloins from as many as I wanted. Christmas come early, I say! I took 6. There were a lot of mouths to feed. And I was convinced that most people would not go for the heart and liver. They impressed me though, they got into it all.

I marinated them in balsamic, orange juice, olive oil and rosemary. The acids from all of those tenderize the meat in a lovely kind of way.

I may or may not have been drinking from the Jack Daniels bottle. Or it may have been sitting there innocently. That’s all I’ll say.

And then we, Paul Michael and I, did something cool. He owns a nifty metal basket that is designed for cooking over a fire. It looked like this: Mr. Bar-B-Q Triple Nonstick Fish Basket.

And it is my new favorite cooking device.

The fire was burning white oak which imparts a wonderful flavor and aroma onto the meat.

Apple wood, cherry wood, hickory wood, pecan, maple… all would be good alternatives.

As you know, I love a good fire. And now that I’ve discovered this basket I can cook and sit in front of the fire at the same time — see, tenderloin is the stuff of Gods.

Aahh… I just want to spend a few more minutes here…

It’s so warm…

But wait! It should not ever get more than medium rare. So we must leave the fire. I would say about 4 minutes on each side, maybe 3 or 5. I always err on the side of “with the pulse still beating.” But I’m a bit of a vampire. But we’ll talk about my issues another day…

Look, everyone has a clean plate. All 14 of them. That is when you know your tenderloins are a success.

If you want to catch up on the whole shebang of the “Delta Deer Hunt” it’s all right here: I, II, III, IV, V, and VI.

“Venison Tenderloin”

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

“Venison Tenderloin”


  • Venison tenderloins, trimmed of excess tissue
  • 2 parts balsamic vinegar
  • 2 parts olive oil
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Rinse the tenderloins and pat them dry. Place them in a non-reactive bowl and cover with all of the ingredients. Cover with plastic, pressing the plastic against the meat so there is little air.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.
  3. Remove from the bowl, shake excess moisture and place in the metal basket.
  4. Hold over the fire for about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and let rest for a few minutes and then serve immediately!

Leave a Comment



  1. Cork Graham says:

    Great to see your success deer hunt, Georgia! Especially like see you handle that bolt-action rifle for such a great quick kill shot… Cheers, Cork

    • Georgia says:

      Thanks Cork. Looks like you got a nice rainbow trout. I used to catch those early in the morning and cook them for breakfast.

  2. We are also nose-to-tail consumers. Hub hunts and I make into wonderful food. Love your stuff!

  3. I'm gonna try to ask questions without making a slobbering spectacle of myself, not normally a daunting task, but then I'm usually not trying to absorb this subject — with pictures — so close to lunch. 1. Those tenderloins looked incredibly lean. My exposure to tenderloin is confined to pork and the occasional beef surprise; did you pare away a lot of fat? Did you have to add more oil while cooking, or was the marinade enough? 2. It looks like the basket was sitting directly on the coals, but it could be the perspective of the camera shot. How far away from the heat source was the tenderloin-toting basket? 3. I like bourbon. Not a question. Just sayin'. 4. Not a wholly unrelated question but dangerously close to being so: Can a pork tenderloin be cooked similarly, or does the whole medium-rare thing just make it too taboo? By the way, this blog is rapidly becoming one my favorite places on the whole Interweb.

    • Georgia says:

      Oh Greg, how you make me smile. 1. Venison by nature is very lean. But the tenderloins are especially on any animal. Like a nice filet mignon. So there wasn't a lot of fat to trim away, and is why I suggest cooking them medium rare at most. 2. You're right, we did have the basket very close. It didn't seem to matter, since it wasn't on there for very long. If the outside has a crust that's even better because it locks in the juices. 3. I like bourbon too. And whiskey. 4. Yes a pork tenderloin can be cooked similarly. I personally don't mind my pork a little pink, but for those who gasp, I would recommend either brining it first (I have a recipe for brining pork on my blog if you type it into the search), or cooking it more slowly and perhaps adding extra fat… like bacon!

  4. Kevin Hennessy says:

    Hello- Love the posts. Is that JD the green label. Haven't seen that in years. Cooking infront of/with the fireplace is so fun. Keep the posts coming!! @cookerguy

    • Georgia says:

      It is indeed green label! They always have the best drinks, the best cigars, and the best food down there. They know how to live well : )

  5. Dave M Ohiohunter says:

    Great site,I have always saved the heart and liver, I realy love the heart. Cant wait to try it your way. Also L love beef tonge, I am going to start saving the deer tonge as well. My daughter also bow hunts, Great to see more girls hunting. Dave M

  6. I had a chance to catch up on I to VI and now number VII. I love your site. Oh those tenderloins look delicious. I must admit that I have never cooked them over an open fire, something I will have to remedy in the near future using your recipe. Back straps are close but the tenderloins are the best:)

    • Georgia says:

      Thanks Ray! I love back straps too… and belly… and everything else. It depends on the day and the ingredients at hand… Let me know how the open fire cooking turns out!

  7. Angela P. says:

    I must say Georgia, you actually make me want to go hunting, I never thought I'd say it. But its amazing! and the food looks ridiculously delish. I've been reading the blog for a while :) keep it coming!

    • Georgia says:

      Aww, Angela! That's the best compliment I could ask for. *mwah* (that's me giving you a smooch on the cheeck).

  8. Could you do this recipe with wild duck or dove? Dove breasts are so small you might just have to marinate them and cook them in a skillet. Cant wait to try this recipe!! Thank!!

    • It's always a good idea to marinate game meat so yes you can do this with dove and duck. As for cooking over a fire, it's trickier especially with dove because you want it to cook through and not burn on the outside, so I would say cook that in a pan.