Deer Camp Tenderloins and Heart Smothered in Onion Gravy
As much as the hunting, for us, deer camp means celebrating time together in the outdoors, doing what we all love the most. A big part of that celebration is enjoying camp meals together between and after hunts.
One of our favorite traditions is to cook up the heart and tenderloins from the first deer killed to share among camp attendees.
The results will warm everybody up and fill empty stomachs after a long day of hunting.
1 deer heart, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced into roughly 1x2-inch strips
2 deer inside loins, trimmed and cut into similar-sized chunks
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup of Kentucky Kernel or your favorite brand of seasoned flour, divided
3 sweet yellow onions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can of your favorite dark beer or 12 ounces venison or beef stock
Start by cleaning the heart. Trim away all fat from the surface. Slice down one side (follow the obvious seam in the muscle) and fold the heart open flat. Trim away any connective tissue from inside the heart. Rinse well. Slice the heart into roughly 1x2-inch strips. Clean and cut the tenderloins into similar-sized pieces.
Brown the meat in batches, just until surface is nice and golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning frequently, until all sides are browned. Remove the meat from the pan and cover with foil.
Place the lid on the Dutch oven and cook until the onions are soft and caramelized, stirring often. This should take around 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the heat level.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the reserved flour over the softened onions. Stir well. Pour in the beer — we used Hazelnut Stout from Country Boy Brewing — or stock and stir to make a gravy.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until thickened. Return the meat to the pot and stir to combine with the onion gravy. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.