Venison Backstrap with Cumberland Sauce

Adapted from Hank Shaw's recipe at
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people



  • 1 to ½ pounds venison backstrap in one piece
  • salt
  • 3 Tbls unsalted butter


  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • ¼ cup demi-glace or 1 cup regular stock
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • zest of a lemon and an orange
  • 1/4 cup Strawberry Smash
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Salt the venison well and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Over medium heat, brown the venison on all sides in the butter. Using an instant read digital thermometer, cook the venison to your liking: 130-135° F for medium rare and 135-145° F for medium. Move the meat to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let it rest while the sauce is being prepared.
  • Using the same pan, ensure there is at least 1 Tablespoon of fat left in it -- add more if necessary. Sauté the shallot over medium-high heat for 90 seconds, just until soft. Take care not to burn the shallot.
  • Add the port wine and deglaze the skillet by scraping up any brown bits stuck to the pan. Bring to a boil and let reduce by half. Add the demi-glace (or stock), salt, citrus zest, mustard and cayenne and let boil for a minute or two. Stir in the Strawberry Smash and black pepper. Boil down until thick but still pourable.
  • Slice the venison into medallions. Pour any remaining juices from the meat into the sauce and stir to combine. Serve with the sauce over the meat or on the side.