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Jess Pryles Shares her Stuffed Venison Backstrap Recipe

Posted by Ross Copperman on

JessPryles_courtesy of Murdoch Books (2)

Our friend Jess Pryles is a professional Hardcore Carnivore, cook, and author specializing in Texas BBQ and bourbon. She shared her recipe for Pecan and Cranberry Stuffed Venison Backstrap with us to help add some spice to our weekday meal planning for all that game meat in the freezer. Give it a try and let us know on Instagram how yours turns out. Check out more of her amazing recipes at

Pecan and Cranberry Stuffed Venison Backstrap
Photograph from Hardcore Carnivore by Jess Pryles, photo © Mark Roper, courtesy of Murdoch Books. Photograph from Hardcore Carnivore by Jess Pryles, photo © Mark Roper, courtesy of Murdoch Books.
There’s some technical skill needed to butterfly meat and prepare it for stuffing (see page 36 for a step-by-step guide), but you’ll get better each time you try. Once all your elements are prepared, this dish comes together very quickly—it’s ready in just 15 minutes.
2¾ oz (¾ cup/75 g) pecans
2¾ oz (½ cup/75 g) dried cranberries
5 thyme sprigs
2 French shallots, diced
3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
2¼ oz (60 g) butter, melted
1 whole venison backstrap (about 2 lb/1 kg)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toast the pecans in a skillet without any oil until fragrant, stirring regularly to avoid burning. Roughly chop the nuts and put in a bowl.
Chop the cranberries and add to the bowl, then strip the thyme sprigs and add the leaves to the bowl, discarding the woody stems. Add the shallots, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine the ingredients. Add the melted butter and stir again until everything is well mixed.
Butterfly the backstrap so it’s flat and even. Form the pecan and cranberry stuffing mixture in a log lengthwise down the middle. Pull the backstrap back together to form a cylinder around the stuffing, and secure with butcher’s twine. Season the outside well with salt.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat until nearly smoking.
Add the stuffed backstrap and sear for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned all over.  Place the skillet in the oven and cook for a further 4–6 minutes for perfect rare, or up to 10 minutes for
something closer to medium. It’s important not to overcook the backstrap or it will become tough.
Remove the venison from the skillet, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 8–10 minutes before slicing into 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick portions.
Master the Meat
If you’re having trouble getting the hang of trussing, you can buy food-safe elasticized bands, which you simply slip around the stuffed loin at different intervals to hold in place.
Reprinted with permission from Hardcore Carnivore by Jess Pryles, Agate Surrey, 2018.


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