Grilled Backstrap with Hot Chile Oil and Garlic Chips
Looking for some spice in your next venison backstrap meal? Try grilling up some medallions and topping them with hot chile oil and crispy-fried garlic chips just before serving. The combination of heat and spice makes the perfect topping for medium-rare backstrap.
You can use any chile flake to make your oil, but Sichuan or Thai chili flakes offer the most flavor and complexity of spice. Pair it with a neutral-flavored oil like peanut or canola. Use a razor-sharp knife to slice the garlic thin. Not Paulie from Goodfellas thin, but pretty close.
Keep a close watch on the garlic. You want the chips to get crisp, but not burn. If the garlic burns, your oil will be bitter.
1 to 2 pounds venison backstrap, sliced into 1 thick medallions
1 cup neutral flavored oil, like peanut or canola
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons red chili flakes
2 bay leaves
2 star anise pods, whole
1 tablespoon whole mixed peppercorns
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Start by slicing the backstrap into 1-inch or slightly thicker medallions. Heat your Traeger grill to 375 degrees. Season the backstrap with salt and pepper on both sides. Mix the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.
Drizzle or brush on half the mixture over the backstraps and place them on the hot grill. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, then turn. Drizzle or brush on the remaining soy sauce mixture. Grill an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the backstrap reaches medium-rare. Move the backstrap to a warm plate, and loosely tent with foil to rest.
Pour 1/2 cup of the oil into a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a slice of garlic bubble and sizzle (about 325 degres), add the remaining sliced garlic. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes until the garlic chips float and are crispy. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Move the garlic chips to a paper-lined plate. Pour in remaining half cup of oil. Add the bay leaves, star anise pods, mixed peppercorns, and chili flakes. Heat the mixture until the oil gives off a toasted pepper aroma and the flakes start to sputter. Remove from heat and let the mixture rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Scoop out the bay leaves, star anise pods and peppercorns if desired. Serve the backstrap by spooning the warm chili oil over each medallion at the table. Top with fried garlic chips.
Garnish with diced chives if desired.