Wild game “backstraps, tenderloins, fish, loins, or filets”; no matter what you call them, this cut of meat, along the back of the critter, is simply delicious. Filet Mignons are cut from this amazing and lean cut of meat. Loins are often the first cut removed from the critter. Don’t forget the smaller inner loins, inside the body cavity, and near the back.
During hunting camp, these cuts rarely make it home. Once removed, they can be cleaned with salt water. The inner loins can be cut into cubes, and soaked in milk. Warm them up, make a gravy, add some noodles and enjoy. This is often the reward meal for a hunter on his first harvest.
Marinate loins in a bath of cheapo red wine, Montreal Steak Seasoning, and olive oil. This marinate is perfect for beef and all wild critters. Let the meat soak up the flavor for an hour, a day, or a week. Once you try this simple marinate, you will never cook your meat another way.
The larger ventral loins can be cut into more manageable pieces and grilled, smoked, baked, fried, or cut into butterfly steaks. There are so many options. These recipes taste wonderful. The main cooking tip is to not overcook wild game. If you cook it too long, it just gets tough. Medium rare is more than enough cooking.
Stuffed loin roasts are maybe the most decadent way to cook loins. This recipe can be used with wild game, or pork loins. Cut the loin crosswise ¾ of the way through. Stuff each slice cavity with a ½ piece of pineapple slices. You could also use cream cheese, peppers, tomatoes, etc. depending on the flavors you enjoy. Salt and pepper. If you are not a pineapple fan, use Bleu Cheese, bacon, or whatever you enjoy. Once sliced, the presentation is awesome.
In a separate bowl, add your favorite BBQ sauce, chopped onion, garlic, diced peppers, pineapple juice from the can slices. Jalapeno is optional. Mix and pour over the loin. If you don’t like pineapple juice, try apple cider, beer, or whatever you enjoy or have on hand. Tie the loin up to hold it together. Don’t over stuff the loin. We tend to add more stuffing than is necessary. Less is more here. The other secret is to allow the loin to rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Pouring an Au Jus over top, at the end, is also a nice touch.
You can also cut the loin like a loaf of bread. Unfold and fill the loin with your stuffing. Now tie it up with a string. You can also wrap the loin in foil and cook it. This will not sear the meat, or give the grill marks you may desire. Cooking the stuffed loins in a Sous Vide, hot water bath, style also is tasty but lacks the smoky grill touch.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Now lower the temperature to 350 degrees for 35 minutes. You can adapt this recipe to use on your charcoal grill, Traeger Smoker, or Green Egg style grills. Each method enhances the flavor. At hunting camp, I have cooked them in a cast iron Dutch Oven over a wood fire. Just remember that less is more. Think low and slow. DON’T OVERCOOK THE MEAT!
Also plan the other courses when preparing the meal. Try to have everything done at the same time. Hungry hunting or fishing camp pigs do not want to wait. Bake or mash potatoes ahead of time. Veggies like green beans, asparagus can be grilled quickly. Simply add some olive oil to them and season with the Montreal steak seasoning. Stir them up in a bowl or shake and bake them in a zip lock bag. Grill them slowly and serve with the loins. Sweet potatoes offer a different flavor that also goes well with wild game.
Desserts are also important. Always try to make hunting camp, or wild game meals special. Perhaps a baked apple, cobbler, or S’mores would be a good choice. Dutch ovens create new twists on great meals. Being a great cook is a great way to get invited to hunting and fishing camps.
PIG OUT and Enjoy!
For more Montana grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.