Smoking fresh deer meat is a centuries-old method of cooking and preserving the venison by using the indirect heat of a fire. Adding aromatic wood chips to a grill or smoker can impart sweetness or a woody flavor to the roast. Tougher cuts of meat become more tender when smoked, as the lengthier cooking time tends to soften and break down meat fibers. Because venison is such a lean meat, rendered beef or bacon fats, oil or butter rubbed or basted on the meat produces a juicier, smoked roast.
Things You'll Need
Gas, charcoal or wood smoker or grill
Disposable or washable rubber or plastic kitchen gloves
Clean cutting board
Large bowl or container with lid
Large stirring spoon
5 lb. to 6 lb. venison roast
1/2 gal. water
1 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. sage
1 tbsp. tarragon
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup butter, cooking oil or bacon fat
The night before the roast is to be smoked, rinse it under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Lay the roast on a cutting board and remove any remaining fat or silver skin with a sharp knife. Slice a deep, horizontal pocket in the middle of the roast, taking care not to cut all the way through the meat.
Pour the salt, sugar, herbs and spices into a large, clean container. Add 1/2 gal. of water and stir the mixture until the salt and sugar are entirely dissolved. Add the roast to the container, making sure it's totally submerged. Add more water as needed. Cover the container and store it in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the roast from the marinade and set it on a clean cutting board in the kitchen sink to drain for about one hour. In the meantime, prepare the grill or smoker according to the manufacturer's directions.
Using gloved hands, evenly spread the fat, butter or oil in the cavity sliced into the middle of the roast . If desired, rub the outside of the venison with a dry mix of any spices, herbs and seasonings not used in making the marinade.
Place the roast in the grill or smoker and allow it to cook for about 90 minutes per pound. Check the center of the roast at its thickest part with a meat thermometer until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the roast to a serving platter and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice the roast and serve it immediately, or tightly wrap the sliced venison and store in the refrigerator for later use.
The roast may be basted during the smoking process with a favorite barbecue sauce or salad dressing. This will help the meat retain moisture.
Always use a meat thermometer when cooking wild game to ensure a temperature sufficient to kill all bacteria.