Issue Date: November, 2011
Serves: Serves 4 to 6
Courtesy of: Courtesy of Louisiana Cookin’ columnist Frank Davis, New Orleans, LA
First, prepare the backstrap filet. It’s an extremely tender tube-like piece of meat about 12 inches long and 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Because of its shape, it can be cut around the perimeter, 1/4-inch thick, and rolled out flat. To do this you need a very sharp knife. The backstrap should be trimmed of all traces of fat and silver skin.
Place the filet perpendicular to your body on a cutting board and make a shallow slice about 1/4-inch deep at the outer edge of the meat. Then, as if removing paper towels from a roll and loosening them along the edge as you go, begin working the outside perimeter of the filet until the backstrap flattens out. It takes a bit of practice, and you might not get it just right the first time, but you can do it. Don’t be concerned if the knife accidentally cuts all the way through the meat during this stage, as the process of rolling it up during assembly will negate the accidental knife slip.
When the meats are flattened, put both pieces into a glass or plastic container and cover them with whole milk. Marinate the venison in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight. The milk tenderizes the deer and helps to remove any unwanted gaminess.
Next, remove the filets from the milk (which you can discard) and pat the venison dry with paper towels. Then liberally sprinkle both sides with wild game seasoning and rub it briskly into the meat. At this point, preheat your oven to 400ºF. Then combine the Velveeta and the Rotels in a food processor until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.
Form the pinwheels by spreading a thin layer of the cheese mixture evenly over one side of the flattened meat. Then place a layer of bacon strips—side by side—on top of the cheese. Finish up by lightly sprinkling on sliced green onions and a little minced garlic.
Tightly roll up the filets and set them aside momentarily. Then on the same work surface, lay out another 8 to 10 strips of bacon side by side and put one of the rolled backstraps on top. Finish by wrapping the bacon strips around the venison and pinning them in place with toothpicks. Start 1 inch from the end and space the toothpicks about 2 inches apart; this is important for the next step (when done properly, the backstrap should be completely encased in bacon strips). Repeat with the other backstrap.
All that’s left is to take a sharp knife, slice the venison rolls into 2-inch-thick pinwheels, each slice should have at least 1 toothpick holding the pinwheel together. Position the slices on a shallow cookie sheet (slightly touching each other), and bake them uncovered for about 40 to 45 minutes. A light sauce will form in the bottom of the cookie sheet, which you can use to baste the pinwheels as they cook. Just a word of caution—do not overcook the venison. It will turn out dry and chewy instead of juicy and tender!
Chef’s Note: Food safety advice is to cook the venison to 160ºF.