If you’ve never had venison before—specifically, from an American antelope—I would compare the taste to other hoofed species like deer or elk. Pronghorns eat sagebrush and have a naturally grassy characteristic that I love. I will go as far as saying that it is my favorite animal to eat above anything else. The backstrap or loin is the prized steak on game animals. It is best to prepare it simply. Here, I season with nothing more than crunchy salt and fresh black pepper. I get the grill as hot as I can and sear for a short amount of time. Just before digging in, I add spoonfuls of a refreshing salad made with radishes from the garden. I planted about 40 radish plants this year, maybe more. They’re more versatile in the kitchen than one might think and deserve a highlight. I gave mine a quick soak in lime juice to tone down the pungency of the roots. It also adds the acidity needed, and a bright pop of flavor to counterbalance the robust quality of game. —Danielle Prewett
Grilled Venison With Radish Salsa
8-12 ounce venison loin filets
Kosher or sea salt plus freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat a grill, light charcoal, or burn a hot fire down to coals.
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator at least half an hour in advance of cooking. Season generously with salt and pepper and drizzle with enough oil to coat.
Make the radish salad by combining the cherry tomatoes, pickled radish, shallots, cilantro and jalapeño in a bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and add one or two tablespoons of the pickling liquid if more acidity is desired.
When you are ready to cook, lay the steaks down on the grates and grill each side for about 3-4 minutes, giving a quarter turn halfway through for grill marks, if desired. For very rare, bring the meat to an internal temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit. For medium-rare, go to 128 to 130 degrees. For medium, go to 135 degrees.
Allow the meat to rest before serving, and serve with the radish salad.
Scrub the radishes clean and dice. Place inside of a large, clean Mason jar, making sure to leave at least 1/2-inch of headspace at the top.
Add the lime juice, water, sugar, and kosher salt to a small pot. Bring to a simmer on the stove and stir to dissolve the ingredients.
In the Mason jar, pour the pickling liquids over the radishes to cover.
Allow the radishes to sit in the liquids at least 30 minutes before using. They will last a couple of weeks in the fridge.