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Updated: Apr 25

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This simple and delicious apple ginger venison backstrap marinade is one of the most flavorful concoctions that I've ever created for deer meat. It's perfect for grilling whole venison loins or for individually cut deer steaks.

Marinade for venison backstrap
Photo by Larry White

The flavors pair well with any summer or spring vegetables as well as various other vegetables that you may find in the fall or winter months such as sweet potatoes, cauliflower or roasted brussel sprouts. It also works great as a marinade for venison stir fry, which I like to make with the top round of a deer as well. Just be sure to trim away any visible connective tissue or silver skin.

The addition of apple juice in this recipe makes for a sweet marinade, but it's balanced out real nicely by the saltiness of the soy sauce. Just remember that when using soy sauce, opt for the real stuff. The "off-brands" that make fake soy sauce are often filled with stabilizers and additives that make for unappetizing flavors.

Venison Silver Skin
This is what venison silver skin looks like


If you want to try and go for a different flavor profile but keep the sweetness of the apple juice, try replacing half of the apple juice with a fruity red wine like sangria for a delicious flavor. And remember, don't believe the myth that venison has a naturally gamey taste. So this deer marinade isn't meant to be so strong and potent that it masks all of the flavor of the meat.

If deer meat tastes "gamey", it was more than likely due to the field care, the care of processor or it was overcooked. Overcooked venison can in fact taste "livery" to some folks. To avoid any overcooked livery flavors, I recommend not cooking your venison to more than a 140 degree F internal temperature.

I like to pull my steaks from the heat source at around 128 degrees F internal temperature and then let them rest for around 15 minutes. The heat from within the meat will naturally cause the steaks to "carry over cook" a couple of degrees, which will put it in the sweet spot of around a 130 degrees internal temperature. The easiest way to do this is by checking the temperature of the meat with an instant read meat thermometer.

So, if you are in the camp that simply wants to mask a bit more of the venison flavor (nothing wrong with that), the best way would be to increase the coriander to between 1 and 1 1/2 teaspoons. Coriander is one of those spices that works well with strongly flavored meats if used in higher quantities.

You can also apply a venison dry rub to the meat after is had finished marinating for some added flavor.

venison steak marinade


Not only this one of the best marinades that I've had for grilled backstraps, but it can also work with pan-seared venison as well. Just keep in mind that this marinade contains sugar from the apple juice, so you will need to keep a watchful eye on the steaks and the heat in order to obtain a golden brown crust.

Marinades that contain sugar are more prone to burning when using a skillet versus a grill due to the direct heat source. You can absolutely burn steaks on the grill too, but you have the option of moving the meat to a cool zone of the grill to help prevent this.

The easiest way to avoid burning steaks skillet is to transfer the meat to an oven set to 225 degrees F as soon as it has been seared over medium high heat.


While this is my goto marinade for backstraps, it also works great for grilled venison tenderloins and venison chops as well. Just be sure to cut the marinade time back to around 3 to 4 hours due to the small size of the tenderloins and the thickness of the chops.

I generally don't like to use salt in marinades for smaller cuts of meat, but if you reduce the marinating time as mentioned above, the salt wont be an issue.

This recipe also works perfectly as a venison jerky marinade. The sodium that is in the soy sauce will give you the salt content that you need to make some of the best deer jerky. Simply slice the meat across the grain, soak it in the marinade mixture and then dry in your dehydrator or smoker.


Contrary to belief, most marinades don't actually tenderize thick pieces of meat such as steaks. If it contains acidity, it can absolutely work to a small degree on thinly cut pieces of meat for something like carne asada, fajitas or venison stir fry.

The best way to have a juicy and "tenderized" venison backstrap is to not overcook it, to let it rest between 10 and 15 minutes before cutting into it and slice it against the grain. When you wait to slice into cooked meat, it has a chance to relax and disperse its juices throughout the meat.

If you slice into as soon as you remove it from the heat source, most of the juices will run out onto your cutting board. And when you slice the backstraps against the grain, the meat is easier to pull apart and break down while you are chewing it.


If you're interested in some of the tips and tricks I use for cooking venison steaks, check out this short article that I wrote. 5 Easy Tips For Cooking The Best Venison Steaks

Lastly, if you make this bacon wrapped venison, be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! Also, tag me on Instagram with some of your creations. I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.

Looking for other wild game recipes? These are some of my favorites:



Yield: 2 1/2 Cups

Prep Time: 12 Minutes

Marinade Time: 12 to 24 Hours

Author: Larry White


  • 2 cups apple juice

  • 1/2 cup real soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced thin

  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped

  • optional: 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 venison backstrap, silver skin and connective tissue removed


  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together. Place the venison in a food safe container or a gallon ziploc bag. If using a bowl, you can place a bowl on top of the meat to help submerge it.

  2. Pour the deer meat marinade over the trimmed steaks and ensure that it is fully covered.

  3. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours depending on the cut of venison you are using. If you're using a smaller cut of meat, reduce the time to no more than 4 hours.

  4. Any unused marinade will keep fresh in your refrigerator for 1 week if stored in an airtight container.



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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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