Every hunter knows that the backstrap is one of the most prized cuts of meat from a deer hunting harvest. Seared or fried up into steaks, it just doesn’t get any better. However, up near the neck of the deer, there’s some meat that is technically still backstrap but doesn’t lend itself to the traditional applications. The meat is just as tender and succulent as the delicious lower portion, it’s just ummm… scrappy and shouldn’t be wasted.
Recently, I grabbed some meat from the freezer that had been appropriately labeled “axis backstrap neck meat”. It was indeed pretty scrappy.
I cleaned it up, removing the fascia or silver skin from the meat. Then I cut it into chunks.
I liberally seasoned the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then I sprinkled flour over the whole mess and tossed to coat.
I browned it on all sides in a hot skillet with melted butter just for a couple of minutes so that meat stayed medium rare.
Then I removed the meat to a plate and set it in warm oven.
I sauted an onion, thinly sliced, in the same skillet with a little more butter until browned and softened, almost caramelized. I added mushrooms and stirred until the mushrooms were also browned. I set those aside in a bowl so I could make the gravy.
I melted a quarter cup of butter in the skillet. I added two tablespoons of flour and stirred until smooth scraping up all the tasty, browned bits to make a roux. I whisked in a cup of stock, a quarter cup of red wine, and about a quarter cup of Worcestershire (more or less to taste), stirring constantly. I heated it on low/medium heat just until slightly thickened. I added the mushrooms and onions back into the sauce and mixed until combined.
I served the gravy over the backstrap scraps and some lovely garlic mashed potatoes.
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