Recipe: Smoke Detector Venison Loin with Black Pepper Molasses Sauce

This is a wonderful cast iron recipe for venison.  Deer proper, such as whitetail, black tail and mule deer are considered venison.  As are antelopes like our pronghorn and India’s blackbuck.  Elk meat is venison and I’ve heard of moose referred to as venison as well.  Axis, fallow, red stag, etc.

This is one of my top three recipes.  I included a sauce, and though it’s not necessary I enjoy dipping things.  On the bigger animals, I like to use the tenderloin, but on small white tails you can use either the tenderloin or backstrap.

Prep Time:  45 minutes


  • Cast Iron Skillet large enough for your unsliced tenderloin or backstrap
  • Tongs
  • Smoke detector batteries temporarily removed (trust me).
  • High quality oven mitt


Smoke Detector Venison Loin

  • A tenderloin per person or 12 ounces of backstrap per person.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • High quality salt, such as Fleur de Sel
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 TBS of butter

Black Pepper Molasses Sauce

  • 2 TBS of Black Strap Molasses
  • ¼ Cup full bodied red wine
  • ¼ Cup duck stock.  (can substitute venison or chicken broth)
  • TBS butter
  • TBS Course ground pepper


Smoke Detector Loin

  • Turn your oven on with rack set in the middle as high as dial will allow.  Usually in the 500-600 degree range.
  • Coat your cast iron skillet with olive oil and place in oven for 30 minutes
  • Of course trim your meat free of silver skin.  Coat your loin with olive oil, salt, and fresh ground pepper.  Allow to reach room temperature. I usually prep the meat, then turn the oven on and throw the skillet in.
  • Turn your stove top on as high as possible so that its super hot.
  • After 30 minutes, remove skillet and place on hot burner.
  • Change your oven from bake to broil on high.
  • Sear backstrap two minutes each side, sear small tenderloin 1 minute on each side.
  • Return Skillet with meat back to oven under the broiler on high.  For smaller tenderloin I cook 2 minutes for rare, 3 for medium rare and 4 for medium and never more.  For larger cuts, I cook 3, 4, and 5 minutes respectively.
  • Remove from oven.  Set on platter.  Add a slice of butter, and let settle for 5 minutes at least. Otherwise, all the yummy juices will spill onto your plate.

Black Pepper Molasses Sauce

  • After removing your meat from the skillet, pour in liquid ingredients first, then butter, molasses and pepper.
  • Slowly stir reducing to about ¼ cup of sauce.  It should be fairly thick.


Here I am searing the loin.   See the smoke?

Try and it and let me know what you think.  What is your best venison recipe?


  1. Oh man! Can’t wait to try it. There are some antelope hanging loins in the freezer that are begging for this treatment. I’ll let you know how it works with speedgoat.

  2. That sounds fantastic! Hopefully next season will be a bit more successful and I’ll be able to try it out. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Nothin’ better in the world than seared tenderloin or backstrap. I’ve gotta tell ya that I discovered that there’s a long muscle on the hindquarter that is similar in shape to a tenderloin, slightly larger in circumference, though. When silver skin is removed, it works in recipes very much like a tenderloin. Try it.

  4. I have vacuum sealed venison I processed myself from this past season, Cannot wait to try this. Usually I marinate mine in Dale’s a bit, bite size pieces, wrap in bacon, secure with toothpicks and grill the pieces. Yummy
    Roasts are placed in crock pot with variations of cream soups and Lipton Onion Mix, cooked all day. We also bagged several wild hogs this season, and have eaten back strap and roasts from them. Can’t wait to try this recipe

  5. Mr Spencer, My wife came across your recipe a while back and I finally got around to it last night 12/8/2015 with a nice WT Backstrap. That is an AWESOME recipe and one of my favs after the first try. I followed the recipe to the tee and it could not get any better than that. Your description of the process is dead-on. the only extra that popped into my mind as I got rolling is maybe a respirator next time. Thanks, Mike Bishop

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