One of the most popular dishes at any good steakhouse is bacon-wrapped beef filet. Good reason, too. The combination of tender grilled beef and salty, smoky bacon is a classically delicious pairing, and the fat from the bacon helps add flavor to this lean cut of cow. Know what’s even better? Using the same technique with thick-cut venison backstrap.
I’m firmly in the rare to medium-rare club, when it comes to venison, so to keep the backstrap from overcooking before the bacon is finished, cut the steaks thick, up to 1½ inches or even a bit more. Once you get them on the grill, sear the top and bottom surface of the steak, then flip it up on its side so the bacon cooks while protecting the venison from overcooking. Flip often and keep a close watch on your steaks, as the bacon will flare up and burn in a hurry.
For a true restaurant-style steak, try topping your filet with a thick slice of compound herb butter so that it melts into the meat at the table, forming a luscious sauce as it blends with the meat’s juices.
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 to 3 pounds of venison backstrap, trimmed of all silverskin and sliced into 1½-inch-thick medallions
- 1 to 2 slices of bacon per steak medallion
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Herbed compound butter if desired. (You can find it at most grocery stores or make your own. Just Google “compound butters” and you’ll find numerous variations, like this cilantro-chili version or this one for garlic and herbs.
Trim all silverskin, that stretchy, tough, silver membrane, from the backstrap and slice it into 1½-inch steaks. If a more medium finish is desired, drop down to about 1-inch thickness.
Wrap a single layer of bacon around each steak. Secure with a couple of toothpicks or with a bamboo skewer.
Drizzle the steaks with olive oil and season well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
On a hot grill, first sear the top and bottom surfaces of the steaks for two to three minutes per side. Flip each steak up on its side so that the bacon is directly exposed to the hot coals. Watch for flare-ups from the dripping bacon grease and turn the steaks on their edge often to evenly crisp the bacon, another four to five minutes total.
Remove the steaks from the grill to a warm platter and allow to rest, loosely tented with foil, for five to 10 minutes.
Top with a thick pat of your favorite compound butter if desired, or even just good quality pain butter, just prior to serving.
For a true steak house experience, we love to serve these bacon wrapped filets with a nice garden salad and a baked potato or cheesy potatoes au gratin.
Kentucky native Michael Pendley has been hunting since he was old enough to say the word “rifle.” He’s been writing in the outdoor industry for the past 15 years, and his work has appeared in Field & Stream, Sporting Classics Daily, Modern Pioneer, Petersen’s Hunting and others, though he is perhaps best known for his “Timber 2 Table” column on Realtree.com. When he’s not in the kitchen whipping up something mouthwatering or sampling Kentucky’s fine bourbons, he, along with his wife and photographer, Cheryl, their daughter, Michaela, and their two sons, Hunter and Nathaniel (aka Potroast), along with their basset hound, Blanton, and bloodhound, Teddy, can be found traveling the country and enjoying everything the outdoors has to offer.