3 Best Chicken Fried Venison Backstrap Recipes

Looking for the best way to chicken fry venison backstrap? Try each of these time-honored methods revered by many in Texas and see which one is your favorite

By: Lynn Burkhead

When it comes to the vast state of Texas, there are several things that Lone Star State residents revere each autumn from one end of the state to the other.

One is football. Another is deer hunting. And a third is celebrating – and arguing about – good food.

In terms of the latter, in Texas, that includes all things chicken fried.

Normally, we’re talking regular beef steak here, as in round steak that has been tenderized with a meat mallet, soaked in various concoctions and then battered up and fried in a cast iron skillet.

But in this case, we’re talking about venison, or more accurately, backstrap, the best cut of wild meat on a deer in my opinion.

What follows are three chicken fried recipes for backstrap, one in the cowboy tradition that isn’t heavy on the coating, another in the southern tradition that allows for an egg wash and thicker coating, and a final one from the kitchen of Grant Moore, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden who certainly knows how to cook venison.

To begin with, here is the chicken fried venison backstrap recipe in the cowboy tradition:

Panfried Chicken Fried Backstrap

(Adapted from the Beehive Panfried Steak recipe in Robb Walsh’s Texas Eats)

chicken-fried-venison-backstrap-recipe

Few things make a finer meal than a good supply of venison backstrap. (Photo courtesy of Lynn Burkhead)

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of venison backstrap sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon pepper (or to taste)
  • Desired seasoning kick (chili powder, paprika, Tony Chachere’s, etc., added to taste)
  • 2 cups of buttermilk

 

Directions:

Take the venison backstrap and work it over with a meat tenderizer, but don’t overdo it. Put the meat in a large glass bowl and cover with the buttermilk, soaking at room temperature for one to two hours.

In another bowl, mix the flour and seasoning together and set aside. At that point, fill a cast iron skillet with cooking oil (many recipes call for peanut oil, some allow for the use of vegetable oil) and heat to 370 degrees. Take each piece of backstrap, allowing it to be drip free of buttermilk, then dredge it in the flour mixture. Place on a cutting board covered with flour and knead and/or beat with your palm the flour into the texture of the meat. Use more flour to cover bare spots, beating it in.

Set aside each piece and let dry for up to 10 minutes so flour can adhere better to the venison. Then slide two to three pieces at a time into the hot oil, leaving a good amount of space between each piece. While the hot oil temperature will drop upon meat introduction, keep the temperature around 350 degrees according to Walsh. (Note: He says that higher temperatures than that and the meat will burn before being cooked adequately. Lower than that and the batter won’t be done enough.)

After cooking for the necessary three to five minutes, the batter should be a good golden brown to brown color. Remove and transfer the venison to a plate with paper towels to drain excess oil, then place in a warm oven until all meat is done. Afterwards, serve with gravy and allow for two to four pieces of backstrap per guest.


Next, in the southern style of chicken fried steak cooking, here is a more traditional version utilizing an egg wash and a thicker crust or coating:

Chicken Fried Backstrap

(Adapted from Chicken Fried Steak recipe in Grady Spears’ A Cowboy in the Kitchen)

chicken-fried-venison-backstrap-recipe-cuts

Slice up some venison backstrap and then chicken fry it in the Lone Star State tradition. (Photo courtesy of Lynn Burkhead)

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of venison backstrap sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons paprika (or to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup of Shiner Bock or other bock beer

 

Directions:

Mix flour, salt, pepper and seasoning kick (Note: this recipe from Texas’ renowned Reata restaurant calls for paprika, but you can use chili powder or Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning if you desire) together in a glass bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the buttermilk and beer to the coating mixture and whisk some more. Take the thawed venison and pat dry with a paper towel. Then on a cutting board, pound the venison with a meat mallet while not overdoing it. Set meat aside and heat oil to 350 degrees (Note: the Reata recipe from Spears calls for peanut oil, other CFS recipes allow for the use of vegetable oil).

As oil heats, dredge the meat in the flour mixture, evenly coating each portion and then shaking off excess. Dip venison pieces into the coating mixture and then dredge through the flour again, evenly coating to the point where the outside of meat is dry. Place one or two venison pieces into the oil, avoiding the temptation to overcrowd the iron skillet.

After cooking for the necessary three to five minutes, the batter should be a good golden brown to brown color. Remove and transfer the venison to a plate with paper towels to drain excess oil, then place in a warm oven until all meat is done. Afterwards, serve with gravy and allow for two to four pieces of backstrap per guest.


And finally, here is a simple version of chicken fried backstrap as prepared by Texas game warden Grant Moore:

Moore’s Chicken Fried Backstrap

chicken-fried-venison-backstrap-recipe-grant-moore

Texans love their venison. And their chicken fried steak. Better yet, why not combine some venison backstrap and chicken fry it up? (Photo courtesy of Lynn Burkhead)

 

Here is the recipe straight from Moore: “Mine is the most basic method possible. First, tenderize the meat. Then take some salt and fresh ground pepper and garlic powder and coat the meat. Place the thicker cuts in hot grease and cook briefly until you still have some pink left in the middle. Then batter, then egg wash, then batter again. Drop into the hot grease and chicken fry until golden brown, but don’t overdo it and overcook the meat!”

And there you have it, three venison backstrap recipes celebrating the Lone Star State’s iconic chicken fried steak heritage.

Give each one a try and see which version you like best.

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