Northwest Blacktail Secrets with Tom Ryle — Hunt Backcountry Podcast Episode 45
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Northwest Blacktail Secrets with Tom Ryle — Hunt Backcountry Podcast Episode 45

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The Blacktail deer is incredibly elusive.  The especially thick forests of the Northwest make hunting this stealthy animal extremely difficult, and incredibly rewarding.  In this episode, we speak with a native of the Northwest, Tom Ryle, about his decades of experience hunting blacktail, as well as elk and other game.  Tom also has some bonus content to share with us, including a delicious way to prepare your next wild game dinner.

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In this episode, Tom mentions a marinade/recipe that we wanted to share with you guys.  Here’s the info, straight from Tom:

Wild game can dry out quickly due to the low fat content.  I love to marinate all my game with either of these simple recipes.  The first was just an extension of using plain merlot red wine.  You simply whisk red wine, a couple table spoons of extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic (crushed), and thyme and marinate steaks for an hour or so.  Grill on hot grill for a few minutes per side. Killer results every time.

The second recipe is one I picked up while watching a cooking show many years ago, and modified to my liking for red meat.  The original version was used on quail.


  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves fresh crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • A few shakes of your favorite seasoning salt (I use Johnny’s or Cabela’s wild game blend)

Marinate meat in a glass bowl or Zip-Lock bag for 2-8 hours (not critical) and grill to your liking. I cut all my deer and elk backstraps into 6 to 8 inch “logs” so I can grill them whole then slice before serving.  This seals in the moisture and keeps the meat from drying out.


Elk Tenderloin

For best results, I sear the outside on high heat, then insert a meat thermometer into the end running lengthwise into the thickest portion. After searing the outside to seal in the juices, I turn off one burner and move the roast to that side. I turn up the other side to high and cook with indirect heat until the thermometer reads 150 degrees.

Then I remove the roast from the grill, tent with foil on a plate, and allow the internal temperature to climb to 155-160 (beef/medium) on the countertop. Slice and serve with fresh steamed veggies and potatoes. Try this with any cut from any specie – you’ll enjoy it!

A general tip for wild game – if you use olive oil in your marinade and mist your meat with an olive oil mister while cooking, you keep your meat from drying out and it adds a wonderful flavor.