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

Venison Tenderloin Tataki Recipe
Photo by Larry White

As pictured above, I take things in the direction of modern cooking by serving 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 tataki recipe is great served on top of a rice bowl topped with chopped peanuts and cilantro. And if you want to keep things simple, the tataki is great served with a side of sushi rice or crispy fried potatoes.

Looking for other venison recipes? These are a few of my favorites:

Lastly, if you make this venison tataki recipe, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram! I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.



Serves: 2 to 4 people

Prep time: 15 minutes

Marinade time: 3 to 24 hours

Cook time: 12 minutes

Author: Larry White


For the Venison Tataki Marinade

• 2 venison tenderloins or 6 ounces backstrap

• 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. The marinade can be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator.

  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. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds and more salt and pepper if you like.


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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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