“Cilantro Mint Sauce” really means “Chimichurri again.”

Hi. Umm Yum. Send me to the recipe ASAP.

Honestly, this is the first time i’ve ever cooked venison tenderloin. The tenderloin has typically been special enough that I never wanted to screw it up, so El Gallo has been the one to make it. Usually in an uninspired salt-and-pepper, pan-fried or grilled kind of way. Which is fine, because the meat is good and tender enough to stand on its own. Then I discovered tenderloins can involve rubs. And rubs involve interesting spice combinations, and suddenly I have taken the tenderloin away from El Gallo and it is now part of my domain.

venison tenderloin recipes

I actually got the inspiration for this from a cookbook for endurance athletes. We are big runners, and El Gallo especially does the crazy races like ultra marathons and Iron Man triathlons. When training for a big race nutrition is pretty important, and in addition to race fuel (read: carbs), lean protein is an important part of the runner’s diet. A nice lean venison tenderloin is perfect, especially paired with any whole grain and a fresh salad or steamed vegetables. It’s the perfect star player in what I like to call the “American trifecta,” the sometimes boring trio of meat-veg-starch you find on most plates in this country, and the very thing that people can get a little cranky about sometimes when you steer too far away from it.

The spice rub here, however, is pretty far away from the traditional American palate. I accidentally put in 1/2 tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of cardamom because my measuring spoons have a 1/2 tablespoon one thrown in there to throw me off. (I used the 2nd from the biggest, thinking it was the teaspoon. Oops.) I thought it was a little too much, but everyone else liked the spice level so just make sure to adjust everything to your liking.

Spiced Venison Tenderloin with Cilantro Mint Sauce

Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 14 minutes
Total time 44 minutes
From book The Feed Zone Cookbook



  • 1 venison tenderloin (about 1-2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon cardamom (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Green Sauce

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 packet fresh mint (or a scan 1/4 cup plucked from stems)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons citrus juice (I used orange, lemon or lime will also do)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (give or take)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Step 1
Combine all spices for the rub. Coat the tenderloin and let sit until at room temperature (about 30 minutes to an hour). Meanwhile, combine all your ingredients for the green sauce in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Sauce should be a somewhat runny consistency, so add more citrus juice if it's too thick.
Step 2
Heat a pan on medium and spray with pan spray. Cook the tenderloin on one side, then flip and continue to cook to your desired doneness. (Medium rare is about 7 minutes per side for a tenderloin that is about 1 to 1.5 inches thick). Slice and serve with the green sauce drizzled over it.

Non game substitution: Either beef or pork tenderloin would be good with this. But if you’re using pork, make sure to cook it all the way through.

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