This post was generously sponsored by my husband. 🙂 Another successful deer hunting season in the books!
If you are looking for a hearty and meaty appetizer, try these Bacon Wrapped Venison bites. First, we marinated lean venison backstrap in our signature homemade game marinade. Then we did what any self-respecting Southerner would do...we wrapped them in hickory smoked bacon and basted them with barbecue sauce. Fast, easy, and mouth-watering!
Bacon Wrapped Venison Bites
The other day on Facebook, I saw a meme that read "There is a deer stand in my family tree." THIS has been my life for the last few months. Even before deer hunting season started here in Tennessee, my husband has been building hunting blinds, shopping for new gear, and getting ready to fill our freezer with venison meat.
Now that hunting season is officially over (YAY!), I get to spend more time with my hubby. And I am spending more time in the kitchen cooking up all of his hard work. I mean, if you can call freezing your butt off in the woods hard work. (Hunters everywhere are rolling their eyes at me.) But hey, I'll sit right here in my warm + cozy kitchen eating these delish Bacon Wrapped Venison Bites all day long.
While you can certainly prepare these bacon wrapped appetizer bites from beef, there is nothing quite like the taste and texture of a lean venison backstrap. Some people refer to the backstrap as the filet mignon of deer, and it is my husband's favorite cut.
As you can see, it is EXTREMELY lean with very little fat. However it is typically very tender and takes well to simple seasonings and cooking methods. Me? I love it wrapped with bacon to add fat and keep the deer meat juicy.
And, well, bacon makes everything taste better.
Ingredients needed for Bacon Wrapped Venison Bites:
- Venison backstrap
- Olive oil
- Soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Black Pepper
- Hickory-smoked bacon
- Barbecue sauce (optional)
First whisk together an easy and savory homemade marinade. This is a great all-purpose marinade for venison and beef. You can throw it together in a second with equal parts olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Toss in crushed garlic, a squirt of mustard, and black pepper and you are good to go.
Does the marinade the gamey flavor of venison? Well that depends. The taste and level of wild flavor in venison is directly related on their diet. Many deer do not have that strong flavor at all, especially if they have fed on corn.
TIP: Wild flavor is more common with fattier pieces of venison. This backstrap = zero fat. So in this case, our game marinade is more for taste and tenderizing, nothing more.
Next step? Rinse the backstrap in cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Then, cut it into bite-sized cubes. Mine are about an inch. This venison is so tender it cut like warm butter.
Add the prepared pieces of deer meat into the marinade. I like to use my hands to toss them to make sure each and every bite gets coated with the tasty marinade. Into the fridge for at least an hour, and you are ready to assemble.
TIP: There is no need to marinate these bites longer than two hours. You want the marinade to complement the natural venison flavor, not overwhelm it.
How to Make Bacon Wrapped Venison Bites:
- Whisk together the marinade. (See bottom of this post for complete recipe.)
- Rinse the venison and pat dry. Cut into inch sized pieces.
- Toss the venison chunks into the marinade, coating all pieces. Cover and chill for at least one hour.
- Drain the marinade from the venison, and pat the excess marinade.
- Wrap each piece of venison meat with half a strip of bacon. Secure with toothpicks.
- Bake for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven.
- Remove from oven and baste with thin barbecue sauce.
- Broil and baste, turning frequently until the bacon is crispy and browned.
Next, drain marinade off of the venison and pat off any excess marinade. You don't want them soaking wet, because that will cause them to "steam" in the oven and the bacon won't get as crisp. I pour mine into a colander and let them drain, then soak up any excess with paper towels.
Wrap each piece of deer meat with half a strip of thick-cut hickory smoked bacon. I love the flavor of traditional hickory smoked bacon. It pairs well with the venison flavor and savory marinade.
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Arrange the Bacon Wrapped Venison Bites in an even layer on a broiler pan. For the best airflow and even cooking, I like to use a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet.
While the bites are baking (about 1o minutes in a HOT 450 degree oven), whisk together your favorite barbecue sauce with a little water. You can put it on thick if you'd like, but this step is to add just a little sweetness to balance out the flavors. Plus the simple bbq basting gives the Bacon Wrapped Venison a gorgeous color.
Turn the broiler on and baste + broil and turn the venison bites until the bacon is crisp and brown. Watch them carefully and turn frequently...broilers can go from zero to nuclear in a matter of seconds.
The final result should look like this:
Tips on cooking Bacon Wrapped Venison Bites:
- Pat the venison dry before marinating and again before wrapping in bacon.
- Marinate for no longer than 2 hours.
- Wrap the bacon tightly for best results.
- For even cooking and browning, cook the bites on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
- Make sure your oven is pre-heated and hot. If your oven cooks "cool", adjust the temperature.
- Baste with thin barbecue sauce during the broiling portion for gorgeous color and taste.
Warning: You may want to make a double or triple batch of these delicious Bacon Wrapped Venison bites. They never last long around my house.
Bacon Wrapped Venison Bites
- In a bowl large enough to hold the venision, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Add the crushed garlic, mustard, and black pepper. Set aside.
- Rinse the venison backstrap and pat dry. Cut evenly into 1 inch sized pieces.
- Place the venison chunks into the prepared marinade. Toss with your hands to coat all pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If your oven runs "cool", adjust to 475.
- Drain the marinade from the venison completely. Pat with paper towels to remove excess marinade.
- Wrap each piece of venison with half a strip of thick cut bacon. Wrap tightly, securing with a toothpick.
- Arrange the bacon wrapped bites seam side down onto a broiler pan or wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 450. Remove from the oven and turn on the broiler.
- Stir together the barbecue sauce and water to a thin consistency. Using a brush, baste the bacon wrapped venison. Broil and baste the bites, turning FREQUENTLY, until the bacon is browned.