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 Time40 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time50 mins


  • 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


  • 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.
  • Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.
  • Remove from the bowl, shake excess moisture and place in the metal basket.
  • Hold over the fire for about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and let rest for a few minutes and then serve immediately!