Prime Cuts: Rob McDaniel’s Seared Venison
Besides a great-looking lawn and backyard, nothing brings people together quite like food. And, there’s nothing better than preparing it in the comfort of your own backyard.
Follow these prep and cooking steps to re-create McDaniel’s seared venison, roasted Brussels sprouts, caramelized sweet potatoes and pecan vinaigrette recipe.
• To start, trim your venison filet—or what hunters call “backstrap”—and coat it in a light layer of oil. Then, simply season with salt and pepper. (McDaniel prefers venison he’s harvested himself, and has then been hung to age for up to 14 days before being processed.)
• Next, place your venison in an oiled cast-iron skillet that’s been pre-heated in a 500-degree oven. (McDaniel is using a high-end outdoor pizza oven for this recipe.)
• As your venison begins to sear, prepare your Brussels sprouts—quarter-cut them, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper—and pre-roasted sweet potatoes (hand-flattened “coins” seasoned with salt).
• Place your Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes in the same skillet as your venison for what both chefs call “one-stop-shop” cooking. (McDaniel is opting for medium-rare venison that’s “rested” for 8-10 minutes once cooked and prior to plating. This will give it time to bleed out while his veggies continue to cook.)
• As the venison and veggies continue cooking, both chefs discuss the types of firewood they typically use for outdoor-cooking recipes. While both like the flavor hickory and oak imparts, Bancroft also admits he has a place in his heart for sweet pecan wood, too.
Prepping for Plating
• Once properly caramelized, remove your venison from the oven and begin creating your pecan vinaigrette. (McDaniel’s is a mixture of sherry vinegar, olive oil, reduced orange juice, homemade mustard, thyme, arbol chile and toasted pecans.)
• Begin plating your finished dish by placing one sweet potato coin and a row of sliced venison in the center. Then, top both with brussels before topping them with your pecan vinaigrette to finish the dish.
What you’ve landed on is an absolutely stunning meal. Even better, it’s a simple method of cooking made up of ingredients that are readily available across the United States.
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