Cooking Simple

Last weekend, I had the luck to be in possession of a rather beautiful chunk of venison sirloin. I had considered firing up the grill, but the weather was cold and rainy and my give-a-damn was in short supply. Did that mean the sirloin got saved for another day? Not at all. One of the wonderful things about such a beautiful piece of meat, a generous gift from my parents, is that low effort cooking is actually the preferred method for letting its flavor and quality shine through. So instead of getting anything like fussy, I put a little fat in the pan, rubbed a little spicy seasoning on the meat, seared it on all sides, and finished it in minutes in a preheated oven. The result? You can go to five star restaurants and not see a plate as beautiful as this:

What really makes this "recipe" work is making sure you don't crowd the pan with lots of extra stuff. In this case, I melted a little bacon fat in a skillet (I highly recommend using bacon fat for this, but you can also use canola oil if you must ... but at least try it with bacon fat once!), started searing the meat, and then tossed a handful of whole cloves of garlic into the pan before moving the entire thing to a preheated oven. Minutes later, everything came out, sides were finished and taken to the table, and I sliced the steak for serving and we ate. I love crumbling a little blue cheese over my steak while it's still hot, so I did that when I plated the food. The result was a perfectly delicious steak with a little hint of creamy, tangy cheese. The sides I chose for the meal were simple herb-buttered red potatoes and a roasted beet salad, but whatever floats your boat is what you ought to set alongside a meal like this. In fact, we were in the mood for hard cider that night, so we opted for a couple of bottles of that instead of the traditional red wine reserved for a steak and potatoes meal. And you know what? It was absolutely delicious!

Here's hoping your weekend holds culinary joys like these and more. I'll be back next week with more to tickle your tastebuds!

Simple Steak

  • 1 lb. venison sirloin, NOT cut into steaks (you can use this same method for other game, beef, or lamb)
  • 1 T. seasoned salt (I used Penzeys Northwoods Fire)
  • 1 T. bacon grease or canola oil
  • 5-8 whole cloves garlic, optional
  • Blue cheese, optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Rub the sirloin generously with the seasoning mixture. Set aside.

Melt the bat grease in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear on all sides. If needed, use a set of tongs to hold the meat against the hot surface to get an even sear.

Once the meat is evenly seared, toss the garlic cloves (if using) into the pan and stir enough to coat evenly with the fat. Place the entire pan into the preheated oven and bake to desired doneness, as follows:

  • Rare - 120 degrees
  • Medium rare - 126 degrees
  • Medium - 135 degrees
  • Medium well - 145 degrees
  • Well-done - You're not my friend anymore :-P

Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. If desired, sprinkle some blue cheese over your steak after you've sliced it.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes, depending on desired level of doneness