How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Steak, Tenderloin & Backstrap
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How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Deer Meat Recipe

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How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Steak, Tenderloin & Backstrap Recipe… a midwest favorite to make in our “neck of the woods,” down home. 

How to cook deer steak

How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Steak, Tenderloin & Backstrap

I kid you not, when I say that if I was told I could have one last meal, it would be fried deer meat. Yes, I can throw a chic party, and put on an a-line skirt with heels, but you can NOT take some of the “country” outta this girl.

I’ll admit, each year when deer season comes around I get extremely excited in hopes that some of my family members will nicely donate deer tenderloin to my freezer, so I can partake in some fried deer backstrap. My husband never goes deer hunting, but rather LOVES elk hunting, so I depend on other’s around me to make it happen.

Don’t forget that big thing that hangs on our main living room wall, from one of my husbands elk hunting trips…gag. But I love him. (My husband… not the elk.)

Fried Deer meat recipe

The BEST Deer Meat Backstrap Recipe Around:

So deer meat doesn’t show up often, but when it does… oh baby, I get to frying in the kitchen.

Although I’ve never had anyone else’s fried deer tenderloin (steak, backstrap, or whatever you call it), this recipe falls in my “BEST Recipes,” category, because it’s the best in my book. Who knows, maybe one day it will make it in to the Fantabulosity “Best’s,” cookbook. 😉

Give it a whirl, and you may find that this is one of your favorite venison recipes too!

“It’s How You Slice It”:

My dad (The king of frying deer meat), swears that the key to creating the BEST fried deer meat, depends on how it’s sliced. He was nice enough to let me grab a quick video while he was cutting it, so you can see just how he does it!

He said cutting it against the grain, can make it much more tender. Plus, for a really tough deer, you can even take your knife and gently tap each piece after you cut it, to tenderize it.

Here’s a video to give you a better idea of how he does it!

You May Also Want to Try:

  • My husband and I also love to sprinkle Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, over the top after frying so it adds an extra kick of flavor. Then, if we are feeling frisky, we top it with a bit of Frank’s Hot Sauce. But most of the time, we serve fried deer steak with white gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits. Oh heavens…
  • My sister prefers dipping the deer meat in to milk, then in to flour before frying, and she swears by it!

How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Steak, Tenderloin & Backstrap - Venison Recipes

Deer Backstrap Recipe

Ladies, if you’re looking for the way to your man’s heart… you may have just found it. Trust me, I gag at the thought of  the “gamey” tastes when it comes to eating some wild game, but fried deer meat is my kryptonite. Give it a try, you may like it too!

How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Steak, Tenderloin & Backstrap

Fried Deer Meat Recipe

Jessica Burgess
How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Steak, Tenderloin & Backstrap Recipe… a midwest “favorite,” to make in our “neck of the woods,” down home.
4.27 from 41 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 6 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 6 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 40 pieces
Calories 188 kcal


  • 1-2 pounds deer meat tenderloin and/or backstrap, sliced in to 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 Tablespoons salt for soaking
  • 2 Tablespoons salt for flour breading + additional to taste after fried
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • Greek seasoning optional


  • In a bowl, mix together water and 2 Tbsp salt. Soak sliced deer meat in salt water overnight if you're able, or at least an hour.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat to 325 degrees. (My favorite to use is my Lodge Cast Iron Skillet )
  • Remove deer meat from refrigerator, and discard salt water
  • Pat the deer meat dry, with paper towels (UPDATE: We left the deer meat wet the other night, and dipped it in flour, and woah... that wasn't too shabby. So it's up to you!)
  • Mix flour and 2 Tbsp salt, in a ziptop bag or a separate bowl/plate for coating
  • Coat deer meat in flour/salt mixture
  • Place the coated deer meat pieces into the heated vegetable oil. (To test oil's temperature, sprinkle a bit of flour in the oil to see if it bubbles. If it bubbles, it's ready. However, be careful not to get the oil too hot, so it doesn't splatter and burn you when adding the deer meat.)
  • Flip deer meat after a few minutes when the underside is golden-brown. (Approx. 3 minutes)
  • Cook on the alternate side until cooked through and there is no sign of undercooked meat. (We've been playing around with this recipe, and if you like a crunchy breading on your deer meat, cook it a bit longer until it reaches the desired "crunch," you prefer.)
  • Inside of fully cooked meat will be gray/brown, with no sign of red.
  • Remove deer meat from pan, on to plate/dish covered with paper towels to drain oil.
  • We LOVE sprinkling Greek Seasoning on the fried deer meat after it is fried for optimal flavor!


Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used. 


Serving: 10piecesCalories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 3gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 355mgPotassium: 46mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.8mg
Keyword backstrap, deer, fried, how to, meat, steak, venison
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Salads to Serve with Deer Steak or Fried Deer Meat:

Best Side Salad Recipe

For Dessert: Simple & Easy Bread Pudding

This old fashioned bread pudding recipe is so quick and simple, that you’ll be able to whip it up to enjoy right after your fried deer meat dinner!

Last Minute Bread Pudding Recipe

To Snack On: The Best Guacamole Recipe

My favorite? Whip up some guacamole and chips to snack on while you’re making dinner. You’ll love this recipe, along with all of the other’s who have found the viral pin on Pinterest!

This is always requested at my parties. The BEST Guacamole Recipe

Thank you so much for coming by! I’d love for you to hang around a while to get all sorts of new inspiration and ideas!

How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Steak, Tenderloin & Backstrap Recipe

35 thoughts on “How to Cook Deer Meat: Fried Deer Meat Recipe

  1. Karen Lester says:

    I love deer meat as well (fried Back strap) but I do mine a little different. Instead of soaking my deer meat over night in salt water. I choose Buttermilk it tenderizes the meat nicely and does not dry it out or give it a odd taste. I have been cooking it this way for nearly 30 + years everyone loves it. never any leftovers.

    1. Jessica says:

      Yum!! Thank you Karen! I’ve heard of others using buttermilk as well, and loving it!! You’re right… leftovers are far and few between when it comes to deer meat around our house too! Haha!! Thanks for coming by!

    2. Roger Hardin says:

      This is the way i do mine it is so much better this way😀😀 ps is this the Karen i know?this is Roger in Tx Geralds Brother…

    3. Charla Duvall says:

      Do you rinse the buttermilk off before breading it or do you just drain it, then fry it?

      1. Jessica says:

        Hi Charla! Do you mean the salt water by chance? We don’t use buttermilk for this deer meat recipe. If so, we used to drain the salt water and then pat dry the deer meat and then bread it. However, recently we drained the deer meat, and did not pat try before breading! (This allowed more breading to stick to the deer meat, and it was divine!) I hope that helps!

        1. Sabrina Stegall says:

          Hi Jessica i cook deer steaks same way as you only different thing i do is to make it more crispy roll it in flour first then dip it in egg and milk batter then in flour again and fry it just like u do yummy

          1. Jessica says:

            Oh good!!! Yes! I believe that’s how my sister cooks hers too! It’s so so good that way too!

          2. Pam says:

            Yes! And add a little beer to your egg and milk batter and it is even crispier

  2. Donna O says:

    Our family has always used Dale Seasoning marinade. You can use it direct or add somemilk with the marinade. My sister -n-law soaks the meat in the marinade overnight. I usually only do it for one half to one hour. It all depends on how much salt you like. You can also add Worcestershire sauce to the marinade. Then when you’re ready to fry, you coat in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper – or you can do without the salt in the flour. Again, It all depends on how much salt you like. We like to serve fried potatoes, greens or wilted lettuce, & pretty much any other sides you like. It really goes with just about anything! Yum!

    1. Jessica says:

      Mmmmmm!!!! This all sounds amazing! We like to use Dale Seasoning marinade in some of our dishes too! Thank you for sharing!

    2. Cody says:

      Did y’all use the water as well with the sale sauce

  3. Becky Pierce says:

    Do you slice it before you soak it?

    1. Jessica says:

      Hi Becky! Yep! Slice it before you soak it!

  4. Gordon says:

    Hello, Jessica. Since your husband is a die-hard elk hunter (nice bull in the pic, by the way), you can also do the same with elk meat. I wouldn’t recommend using elk backstrap just because I prefer that on the grill with my favorite seasoning salt. 😊. If you use a lesser cut of meat and tenderize it with a mallet, it gives more surface area for the breading to stick to, as well. Would love to see your father’s instruction on cutting the meat for best results, too. Thanks for posting. I agree that this is the best way to prepare deer. Yum, yum!!!

    1. Jessica says:

      Hi Gordon! Thank you so much for this! I’ll be sure to pass on the compliment too!
      I’m going to try and get a video tutorial of him slicing the deer meat the next time an opportunity arises! I think it would be a great addition to this recipe!! Thank you again!

  5. LaRae Lara says:

    Hi jessica. My name is LaRae and I am very new to cooking any type of deer meat. I was just wondering which spacific meat you use for this recipe or can you use any part….I have deer steaks, back strap, and a small tenderloin. And have you tried all of the them with this recipe?

    1. Jessica says:

      Hi LaRae! You can use any of those with this recipe! If you use the back strap and tenderloin, make sure to trim off the silver. Then if you are ever using the hams, section off the hams in big pieces and cut across the grain. If you’ve had the meat processed, and cut in to steaks… it’s hard to fry those with this recipe. So grilling, or following my beef steak recipe may be a good option here: I hope that helps!!

  6. Colton Edwards says:

    I learned how to cook deer tenderloins from this recipe. Family loves it!

    1. Jessica says:

      Oh good!!! I’m so glad that you like it, and the family loves it too! Thank you!

  7. Patty says:

    Heat oven to 325* Then coat venison/flour and S & P, pan fry both sides til brown, pour cool black coffee (not decaff) in pan to 1/2 venison height. cover with a lid, bake 45 min. Meanwhile make B.Powder biscuits and have them ready to put in oven when venison comes out of oven, uncover, place on burner at med-lo heat, and add either Fat Free 1/2 and 1/2 or full fat 1/2 and 1/2 gently stir in. Serve venison on plate with biscuit halves, and cover with pan gravy!! AWESOME…Just wish I had some venison

    Pioneer recipe!!

    1. Jessica says:

      Oh my goodness!!! Thank you Patty! I must try this!

  8. Marissa M says:

    I am trying out your recipe tonight! 😊 This will be my first time frying backstrap so wish me luck! 🤞

    1. Jessica says:

      Yay!!! I hope it turned out great and you love it!

  9. Stephanie says:

    We have always soaked it in water with garlic salt. Then we breaded it with a egg and flour mixture that had seasoning salt and pepper. However in my house we cook a lot by experimenting and last year my cousin decided that we would try putting a ranch dressing pack in with the flour. It was pretty good, but not how my momma makes it. This year we will be going back to the family recipe.

    1. Jessica says:

      That is so good to know! Thank you so much for sharing.:)

  10. Tara says:

    5 stars
    This will be my first attempt ever with game meat so thank you for the recipe… hope my husband likes it

    1. Jessica says:

      Yay!!! I’m so excited for you. I hope you all love it as much as we do!

  11. Jan says:

    5 stars
    I soaked mine in buttermilk also. It was so tender and was not dry. first time I pan fried mine and it was a hit. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Jessica says:

      Yaaaay! I’m so glad, and thank you for sharing how you did it!!!

  12. Bobbie Lewis says:

    This will be my first time frying deer meat. This recipe seems like it will be just right. I hope it works out for me.

    1. Jessica says:

      Hi Bobbie! I hope it turned out great and you loved it!

  13. Niki Rousell says:

    5 stars
    I love you and your dad! Very informative and quirky! Thank you!

    1. Jessica says:

      Awww, haha, thank you!!

  14. Billie says:

    5 stars
    I’m a huge deer fan. And love trying new recipes. This one’s definitely a keeper! Thanks Jessica for sharing. And your dad’s right, gotta cut it in the right direction or it will be tough 😉

    1. Jessica says:

      YES!!! It’s super good and it does make a difference with the way you cut it!

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