I’ve really enjoyed dry-aging all kinds of meats in my Umai Dry aging bags, especially the whole legs I’ve done, so it was only a matter of time before I tried out the process on the most prized cut of venison: the backstrap.
Being familiar with the process of dry-aging and having some ideas about how backstraps would perform, I hedged my bet and went out of my way to source some elk New York strip instead of taking a backstrap off of a white tail deer. The biggest reason being that elk muscles are larger than whitetail deer, and I knew there would be a fair amount of trimming after the meat had aged. The bigger the muscle, the more of the prized final product will be left after trimming.
The results were delicious, but, dry-aging backstraps will probably not be for everyone due to the time commitment, and the large amount of trim. Backstraps are a very lean cut of meat, without the low-moisture fat and bone around them you’ll get on a leg that can help reduce some of the trimming needed after aging.
That being said, the finished product was still really good, and definitely could be an option for people that have lots of backstraps, or, more likely, are professional chefs looking for rich, intense flavors in a small package.
If you’re interested in dry-aging, but don’t want to do it with backstraps, aging a whole leg is a great alternative that will involve less trim. See my original post on dry-aging venison in Umai Dry bags here.
After aging, the meat is dense as it’s lost a lot of water. You’ll be able to taste the difference in texture, and it makes it a good candidate for cutting into small cubes, seasoning and serving as tartare.
- Cutting thin slices and serving as sashimi was also another preparation I liked.
- As the meat is dry, it will sear more quickly than non-aged meat.
- Less is more here, grilling or searing a 3-4 oz portion for a serving, and resisting the urge to serve it with sauces or lots of garnishes will be the best way for the flavor of the aged meat to shine.