Hot dogs are more popular than hamburgers for the 4th of July in South Dakota, allegedly. While I am more partial to burgers than hot dogs, I would rather have some of my organic meat harvested from the Black Hills last fall.

I still had plenty of venison in my freezer so on Friday I decided it was time to finally cook up some of that delicious backstrap. I took it out of the deep freeze and let it thaw on the counter for the afternoon, then once it was no longer solid, I put it in the refrigerator to use the next day. Only I didn't get around to it Saturday so it sat until Sunday.

Unsure of how I wanted to prepare these two long hunks of meat that entered the vacuum sealed package on November 9, 2016, I pulled out my copy of Steven Rinella's The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game Vol. 1: Big Game. It was as if the book knew I was helpless on how to best prepare this delicacy because I opened the book up to the exact thing I didn't know I wanted, grilled whole loin.

Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7
Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7

The recipe was no secret. I seasoned the loins liberally with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, perhaps too liberally, then lightly brush with vegetable oil. Being no master of the grill I seared it according to the directions and then pulled it off the grill medium-rare. After checking the meat for temperature with the meat thermometer it was ready. I sliced it up as thinly as I trusted my knife skills and tried the first bite.

It was a heavenly hunk of meat. Maybe it was the satisfaction of bringing this meat from field to table completely on my own, without the aid of a butcher shop processing it for me, but this was one of the five best meat meals I've ever eaten in my life.

My only faux pas was I went a little overboard with the sea salt. I thought a lot of it would fall or cook off on the grill but it didn't so it was just a tad too salty. However the tender juiciness completely made up for my excessive seasoning.

Next time I'm going to try just pepper and use olive oil instead to keep it a little healthier.

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