Skip to main content

Venison Backstrap with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms Recipe

Venison Backstrap with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms Recipe
Print Recipe

The thing I love about this Venison Backstrap with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms Recipe is that it is malleable. You can adjust it depending on whatever you have on hand. The one constant, other than the venison, is the caramelized onions. I love them so much I make large batches just to have around. Even a few tablespoons adds richness and sweetness to any dish — it's like a flavor grenade.

Backstrap with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms Venison Backstrap With Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms Recipe (Holly A. Heyser photo)

Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, divided

  • 3 onions, peeled and sliced from root to tip
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Recommended

  • 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
  • 1 pound venison (elk, deer, etc.) backstrap, preferably in one piece
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (ideally hen of the woods a.k.a. maitake)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • Dandelion leaves, for garnish (optional)


1. To caramelize the onions, heat two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. Add the sliced onions and toss to coat. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook slowly, stirring once in a while. You want the onions soft and brown, not scorched on the edges. After 10 minutes or so, sprinkle salt over the onions and keep cooking.

2. When the onions just begin to brown, add the thyme and honey. Cook until they are well-browned, then put them in a bowl for now. You can make the onions in advance.

3. As the onions cook, take the venison out of the fridge and salt it. Let it come to room temperature; this is especially important if you are using elk or moose backstrap, which is thick.

4. Wipe out the pan you cooked the onions in and add the remaining butter. Pat the venison dry with a paper towel and sear it over medium-high heat, turning it to make sure all sides are well browned.

Backstrap with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms (Holly A. Heyser photo)

5. Cook the meat until it's about medium-rare, which will depend on the thickness of your backstrap. To determine, touch your forefinger to your thumb: Now, with your other hand, touch the pad/muscle at the base of your thumb. That is the right amount of squishiness the venison should have when it's medium-rare.

6. Take the backstrap off the heat and let it rest. Put the mushrooms in the pan and turn the heat to high. Sear the mushrooms until they release their water (this might not happen if you are using hen-of-the-woods mushrooms).

7. When the water has almost boiled away or when the mushrooms begin to brown, add some salt and more butter and cook until the mushrooms are browned.

8. Add the caramelized onions and the parsley to the pan and toss to combine.

9. Heat through for one minute, then put some on everyone's plate. Add the dandelion leaves if you are using them. Slice the venison and serve.

Current Magazine Cover

Don't Miss

The Essentials Gear Box.

Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.

Learn More

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.

Cedar Break Bucks

David Draper is with Dory Schoby talking about the benefits of using red dots for hunting and taking a look at the Aimpoint Micro H2.

Aimpoint Red Dots for Hunting

David Draper is with Nathan Robinson of Winchester talking about the 6.8 Western Cartridge. It offers impressive long-range accuracy, low recoil and staggering knockdown power when you need it for both long-range shooting and hunting.

Winchester 6.8 Western

Joe Ferronato is joined by Luke Thorkildsen from Weather by to check out the Backcountry 2.0, which builds on the classic steel Mark V action — with some key updates.

Weatherby Mark V Backcountry 2.0

Nosler has some exciting new products. Mason Payer of Nosler shows our own Joe Ferronato new suppressors, 21 Chassis Rifle and Trophy Grade Ammunition.

New from Nosler!

Shawn Skipper of Leupold explains their Custom Dial System to Petersen's Hunting's Joe Ferronato.

Leupold CDS

Kevin Steele gets a chance to test this impressive rifle at Roundtable 2022.

CZ 600 Range

Petersen's Hunting's Dale Evans is with CJ Johnson of Bushnell checking out their new Elite 4X.

Bushnell Elite 4500 4X Scope

Tim Herald shares tips on how to best use a ground blind.

Trijicon Tip: Ground Blinds

Petersen's Hunting Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Petersen's Hunting stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now