Venison tenderloin

For more food-related blogs from Georgia Pellegrini, check out her website www.GeorgiaPellegini.com.

Tenderloin. Is there anything better?

Please name it.

Go ahead. I'll wait…

That's what I thought.

Tenderloin: the stuff of Gods.

There were dozens of deer aging in Paul Michael's snazzy cement hanging room at deer camp. And he let me go in and pull the tenderloins from as many as I wanted.

Christmas come early, I say! I took 6. There were a lot of mouths to feed. And I was convinced that most people would not go for the heart and liver.

They impressed me though, they got into it all.


Deer Tenderloin Photos

I marinated them in balsamic, orange juice, olive oil and rosemary. The acids from all of those tenderize the meat in a lovely kind of way.

And then we, Paul Michael and I, did something cool. He owns a nifty metal basket that is designed for cooking over a fire. It looked like this: Mr. Bar-B-Q Triple Nonstick Fish Basket.

And it is my new favorite cooking device.

The fire was burning white oak which imparts a wonderful flavor and aroma onto the meat.

Apple wood, cherry wood, hickory wood, pecan and maple all would be good alternatives.

As you know, I love a good fire. And now that I've discovered this basket I can cook and sit in front of the fire at the same time — see, tenderloin is the stuff of Gods.

I just want to spend a few more minutes here. It's so warm…

But wait! It should not ever get more than medium rare. So we must leave the fire. I would say about 4 minutes on each side, maybe 3 or 5.

I always err on the side of "with the pulse still beating." But I'm a bit of a vampire. We'll talk about my issues another day.

Look, everyone has a clean plate. All 14 of them. That is when you know your tenderloins are a success.

Venison Tenderloin

Venison tenderloins, trimmed of excess tissue
2 parts balsamic vinegar
2 parts olive oil
1 part orange juice
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper

1. Rinse the tenderloins and pat them dry. Place them in a non-reactive bowl and cover with all of the ingredients. Cover with plastic, pressing the plastic against the meat so there is little air.

2. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.

3. Remove from the bowl, shake excess moisture and place in the metal basket.

4. Hold over the fire for about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and let rest for a few minutes and then serve immediately!

Editor's note: Georgia's passion for good food began at an early age, on a boulder by the side of a creek as she caught her trout for breakfast. After Wellesley and Harvard -- and a brief stint on Wall Street -- she decided to leave the cubicle world behind and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

Upon graduating at the top of her class, she worked in two of America's best restaurants, Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, as well as in one of the premier destination restaurants in Provence, France, La Chassagnette. It was there that she decided it was time to really get at the heart of where our food comes from and head to the source -- Mother Nature. She bought a shotgun and set her sites on the cutting edge of culinary creativity intent on pushing the boundaries of American gastronomy, from field to stream to table.

Her new book, "Food Heroes: Tales of 16 food artisans preserving tradition" will be coming out this year. She currently roams the world, hunting, tasting good food and meeting the good people who make it. You can read more about her work at www.GeorgiaPellegrini.com.