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Venison Tenderloin Tataki Recipe
Photo by Larry White

Tataki is a very popular Japanese dish that consists of beef or fish that is seared over a high heat and leaving the flesh rare. Here I'm using venison tenderloin because of its soft texture and tenderness. I think this method is great for lean venison, which benefits from rare cookery.

Taking things in a modern cooking direction, I served this version with crispy rice cakes and truffled ponzu sauce. If you’ve never had the flavor of truffles paired with venison, you’re in for a special treat.

If you can't get your hands on any rice cakes, this is great served on top of a rice bowl topped with chopped peanuts and cilantro. And to keep things simple the tataki is great served with a side of sushi rice or even fried potatoes.

Serves: 2 to 4 people

Prep time: 15 mintues

Marinade time: 3 to 24 hours

Cook time: 12 minutes


For the Venison Tataki Marinade

• 2 venison tenderloins

• 2 cups apple juice

• 1/2 cup soy sauce

• 1/2 tsp fish sauce

• 4 garlic cloves (chopped)

• 1/2 of a jalapeño (thinly sliced)

• 1/2 red onion (chopped)

• 1 tsp sesame oil

• 1 tsp ground black pepper

For the Truffled Ponzu

• 4 tablespoons soy sauce 

• 1 tsp truffle oil

• 8 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• 2 tablespoon ginger (minced)


  1. Combine the venison and marinade ingredients in a container or gallon freezer bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and no more than 24.

  2. Combine the ponzu ingredients and refrigerate until needed. *Can be made the day before.

  3. Pull the venison from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Dry off the meat with paper towels.

  4. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of high smoke point cooking oil. Once the pan starts lightly smoke, add the tenderloins and sear on all sides until the internal temperature of the meat is rare to medium rare. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes and slice about 1/8” thick.

  5. Serve over top of rice, rice cakes or fried potatoes with the truffled ponzu, scallions and cilantro.

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