Jack Hennessy points out there are times when it is best to fry venison loins. But those are specific occasions.
Here is this week’s “Braising the Wild”:
WHEN TO FRY INNER LOINS
Recently a friend of the family generously offered us a fallow deer from their farm. Knowing I’d want to process it myself, our friend dispatched the deer the night before we picked it up, dressed it and let it hang overnight. We skinned it and when it came time to remove the inner loins, the cool night air had dried the meat, creating a slightly brittle texture.
Any deer hunter knows: The inner loins (sometimes called tenderloins or even the “fish” cuts) are the premier slabs of meat. They should be handled with care and cooked to perfection. In this scenario, as carefully as I tried, I could not remove the inner loins whole. There were some splits in the meat and some parts were drier than others, so I came to the inevitable conclusion: It was time to plan for a venison fry.
Typically speaking, when possible, it’s always a great idea to let your deer hang so the meat has time to rest and denature (which leads to better flavor and more tender meat). I’ll cover more on this in a later article, but a good practice is always to remove the inner loins as soon as possible to avoid having them dry out. Nevertheless, a good buttermilk bath aptly tenderized these particular loins (and also made sure the flour stuck to the fat in the milk) so they made for a very tasty venison fry. My wife even went out of her way to compliment it—that’s when you know it’s good.
Ingredients (two-four servings):
Two inner loins
Half gallon of buttermilk
1/2 ounce-mix of finely minced fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage
1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder
1/2 cup flour
Dice inner loins to approximate 1-inch-by-1-inch pieces.
Cover in buttermilk and allow to soak for 2-4 hours in the fridge.
Heat couple inches of olive oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a deep skillet.
Mix flour and spices thoroughly.
Remove venison chunks and toss through flour mix, shaking off any excess, before placing in olive oil.
Fry and turn until all sides are golden brown. Place on napkin-covered plate to absorb grease and cool before serving.