There are roughly 200.000 reindeers (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) in Finland. They all live up North, in the area which covers one third of Finland. That’s practically the whole Lapland and more. Closest relative to reindeer in North America is called Caribou (Rangifer tarandus).
Size of a male reindeer is typically 3ft 7in (110cm) height and it weighs 200-400lb (90-180kg), whereas female is 2ft 11in (90cm) in height and weighs 133-220lb (60-100kg). Living on arctic circle, reindeer have adapted to conditions, where temperatures can go as low as -94°F (-70°C)!
Reindeer meat is rich in iron, protein, selenium and vitamins. In addition to meat, the heart, liver, tongue and blood are also excellent material for various delicacies.
This time I grilled two reindeer sirloins.
Reindeer is not very big creature so one sirloin weighs only ½ lb (230g). For the reasonable dinner, you will need one for each guest.
Here comes the method:
- Sprinkle salt all over the sirloins and place into fridge for an hour or two.
- Just before grilling, rub black pepper and rosemary on sirloins. Thyme or any other mild flavor herbs go well also.
- Heat your grill up to 395°F (200°C) and prepare for direct heat grilling.
- Place sirloins on the grill grate
- Reindeer is very lean meat and target temperature is 126°F (52°C). This means roughly 5min searing both sides. Make sure to take sirloins out and wrap in foil when meat temperature hits 119°F (48°C). Temperature will carry over few degrees while resting and result is nice medium rare. You can cook sirloins few degrees higher if you like but be careful. If the meat starts to get closer to well done, it will dry up and turn chewy. Fast reading thermometer is a must in this exercise!
After 20-30min rest, unwrap sirloins, carve and serve with roasted root vegetables. Excellent sauce for reindeer or any venison is cranberry sauce.