Rack of Venison (Grilled)

If you’re familiar with haute cooking, you know grilled racks are right up there.

Almost every top restaurant will have a rack of lamb to offer, and if you happen to find yourself in Europe you can also get a rack of venison.

If you don’t fancy traveling all the way to Europe for what might be some of the best venison in your life I’m going to tell you how to make it right there in your home.

Making The Rack Of Venison Cut

A rack is a cut you don’t often see home cooks with when it comes to venison.

It’s a lot of effort for marginal upside. 

Rack of Venison

However, if you have a dinner party or someone to impress, or you just want to impress yourself, then here’s how to do it.

The rack is nothing more than the backstrap with the rib bones left attached.

The easiest way to remove it:

  1. Remove the tenderloins
  2. Remove the flanks
  3. Cut the backstrap as you normally would, start at the top, and work to the bottom, but don’t work underneath.
  4. Using a butcher’s saw or a Sawzall (these are great for butchering deer) Cut beside the backstrap just off the spine.

Now you have the rack but it needs to be tidied up

Rack of Venison

First, you can work your knife up and down the ribs to remove the excess rib meat, this can go in the grind pile.

Then, you can cut the rib bones down to a more suitable size using the sawzall again.

Clean up the remaining bones with your knife by scraping the meat and tissue away.

Lastly clean up the backstrap as you normally would, removing silverskin and fat.

As I said it is a little extra effort, but there is something pleasurable in having a grilled rack of venison sitting in front of you.

I did mention a marginal improvement in the flavor, but perhaps it’s a little more marginal than I dare to say. I don’t know it just tastes better to me.

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The Ingredients

Let me share a secret with you about fine dining racks of venison. 

Although they look elegent, and taste divine, there’s only a handful of everyday ingredients used.

Rack of Venison

For this recipe I used:

  • Avocado oil
  • Garlic
  • Wild garlic leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Onion powder
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Dried Thyme (fresh also works)
  • Rack of venison

Most of these ingredients are already in your pantry, say for maybe the wild garlic.

It’s also real simple to put together. Mince the garlic and all the ingredients to a mortar and work until you get a paste-like consistency.

Using your hands (gloves or not, your choice) rub the mixture into the rack of venison, making sure to cover every bit.

This can stay like this overnight, but it’s not necessary, I cooked mine shortly after.

Cooking a Rack of Venison

This is the make-or-break moment where all of the magic happens. All of the hard work is behind you with only 15 minutes of cooking remaining.

The reality is, it’s easy to cook, but also easy to overcook.

Although having the bone in gives you a little bit of leeway with cooking.

The part by the bone will be rarer than the rest of the cook.

Rack of Venison

Start by firing up your grill, preferably a charcoal grill as it adds a great deal of flavor that works particularly well for this dish.

The grill needs to be set up for dual-zone cooking.

Because of the herbs you put on this rack, you will need to do a reverse sear.

  1. Get the grill to about 400-450 F.
  2. Set the rack on the cool side and close the lid
  3. Cook the venison rack until you are about 10 degrees below your desired temperature. 125F is a nice medium rare, and takes about 10 minutes for the rack I cooked (smallish doe, I made a four-rib rack). But I urge you to use a meat thermometer
  4. Once you have reached 10 degrees beneath your desired temperature open the grill as well as the bottom vent
  5. Move the rack over to the hot side to get a nice sear on both sides. This will bring the temp up to about 5 degrees lower than your desired cook
  6. To finish the rack rest it on a wooden block and loosely cover it with foil. Rest it for about half of the time you were cooking for.
  7. This will bring the meat to your desired temp.

I served this with some homemade potato salad and green beans. If you want the recipe for the potato salad feel free to reach out.

Grilled rack of venison

Grilled Rack of Venison

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • rack of venison
  • 1 sprig rosmary chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme fresh or dried
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup high temp oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried wild garlic
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder


  • Add all the ingredients, minus the venison, to a mortar and work with teh pestle until you get almost a paste like consistency.
  • Rub the mixture all of the rack of venison. Place the rack into a ziploc bag and set in the refrigerator.
  • Set up your grill for dual zone heating, and heat to about 200-250F
  • Remove the venison rack from the refrigerator and place onto the cooler side of the grill. Close th grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning halfway
  • Monitor the temperature of the rack. About 10 minutes should get you to around 115-120F
  • Next move the rack to the hot side of the grill for the final sear, this should take about 5 minutes. See note 1
  • Remove the venison rack from the grill and set onto a wooden block. Using some aluminum foil, cover the rack loosely and rest for 7 minutes.


  1. These are the times I used for a medium rare rack, but your milage may vary according to your grill setup and the size of the venison rack. It's best to use a good meat thermometer.

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