How Long to Cook Venison Steak

Venison steak often gets a bad rap for being gamey or tough. However, this is often because the steak is overcooked.

Understanding cooking times for venison steak is crucial to achieving a perfect cook.

Venison is not the same as beef; depending on the cut, you can cook a venison steak in as little as two minutes.

Time Per Steak 

There are many different types of venison steaks, and all will have different cooking times. Below I will go through the primary steaks, their typical cooking methods, and the time it takes to cook them.


How Long to Cook Venison Steak

The tenderloin is the most tender cut of meat on a deer. There are two ways to make tenderloin; it can be cooked whole or cut into medallions and cooked.

When cooking the tenderloin whole, it’s typically cooked in the oven and seared on the pan. 

Many people prefer this method as it’s easier to get an even cook. This method takes 10 – 20 minutes, depending on the size of the tenderloin and your desired cook.

For the second method, the medallions are cooked on the pan or grill. This would be similar to if you ordered a steak at a steakhouse.

This method is much faster than the last, and people often overcook the steak.

Cooking a tenderloin on the pan can take as little as two minutes per side but rarely longer than six minutes.

I like to cut venison tenderloin into 1.5 – 2 inch steaks.

Assuming you are using the same size cuts:

Medallions on the grill 

DonenessCooking TimeRest Time
Rare2.5 – 3 minutes each side5 minutes
Medium Rare4 minutes each side6 minutes
Medium5 minutes each side8 minutes

Medallions in the oven (pan seared)

Sear TimeCooking Time (oven)Rest Time
1 minute per side3 – 4 minutes…….

Whole tenderloin in the oven

Time varies according to the size of the tenderloin. Cook to your liking using temperature. Approx time 6-8 minutes. Rest 8 minutes

Whole tenderloin in pan 

Time varies according to the size of the tenderloin. Cook to your liking using temperature. Approx time 6-8 minutes. Rest 8 minutes


How Long to Cook Venison Steak

The backstrap is almost as tender as the tenderloin and often cooked similarly.

One method of cooking venison backstrap is cutting it into butterfly steaks and frying them on a skillet.

This approach gives you a larger steak without making it too thick.

The other method for making backstrap venison steaks is baking them in the oven. Using this approach, you can sear before or after baking in the oven.

This method takes longer than butterfly steaks but is excellent for retaining moisture and getting an even cook.

Butterfly steaks

DonenessCooking TimeRest Time
Rare1 – 2 minutes per side3 minutes

Whole backstrap in the oven 

DonenessSear TimeCooking TimeRest Time
Rare2 minutes14 – 17 minutes per pound7 minutes per pound
Medium2 minutes18 – 20 minutes per pound9 minutes per pound

Flat Iron

The flat iron is a venison steak only a few get to enjoy. 

This cut is located on the shoulder of a deer and is typically very small, which is why most people don’t remove this cut.

The flat iron is a tender steak that takes very little time to cook. I like to use this cut for steak sandwiches or stir fry.

Depending on the size of the deer or elk the steak came from, you may have a large or small steak. However, most flat iron steaks are relatively thin and don’t take much cooking time.

Unlike other steaks where you can choose a degree of cook, with a flat iron, you don’t get this luxury due to how thin it is. At best, you can aim for medium and hope you don’t go over it.

CutDonenessCooking Time
Stir fry (sliced thin)Medium Rare1 minute per side
Whole steakMedium Rare4 – 5 minutes per side


The flank steak is another venison steak that is often overlooked. This steak is also very thin and thinner than the flat iron steak.

The flank steak cooks faster than all other venison steaks.

Similar to the flat iron steak, it isn’t easy to choose a degree of cook on a flank steak due to its thickness.

CutDonenessCooking Time
Fried/Grilled flank steakMedium1 – 2 minutes per side


How Long to Cook Venison Steak

One crucial step when cooking venison steak is to allow the steak to rest. It’s also worth noting that a resting steak still cooks and adds to the cooking time. 

People often overlook the resting stage and end up complaining that the steak is tough while navigating a plate of juice.

Resting the steak allows the muscle fibers to relax after the cooking period.

This is crucial for venison steak as it allows the steak to retain moisture. If you were to cut into an unrested venison steak, most of the moisture would escape.

And as we already know, venison tends to be on the dryer side of steaks.

A good rule of thumb for resting venison steaks is to allow 50% of the cooking time.

How Long to Cook Venison Steak

How Long to Cook Venison Steak

A simple method for cooking venison steak
No ratings yet
Print Pin
Course: Big Game
Cuisine: Wild Game
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Rusty


  • Venison Steak
  • High temp oil
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Remove the steak from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking
  • Pre heat the pan to a very high temperature, add a little oil
  • Season the steak just before cooking
  • Place the steak on the pan and press gently to get a nice sear. Flip the steak and cook the other side
  • Remove the steak and allow to rest for about 50 percent of the time it took to cook.

Similar Posts