How Long to Smoke Venison Backstrap? (Guide for Best Results)

Smoked venison backstrap is one of the most delicious treats in the wild, but many people are intimidated by it. You’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about how it can turn out dry and tasteless, but with a little know-how, you can enjoy perfectly-smoked deliciousness every time.

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to smoke venison backstrap just right so that you get maximum flavor and juiciness with minimum effort.

Ready for some lip-smacking goodness?

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How long does it take to smoke venison backstrap?
  • Prepping for success: tips for prepping your meat before smoking
  • Smoking your backstrap: step-by-step instructions from start to finish
  • What temperature should my smoker be at while smoking venison?
  • Doneness temperatures and time guidelines for smoked venison backstrap
  • Flavoring ideas and marinade recipes for extra deliciousness.

Let’s get cooking!

Best Venison to Smoke

Preparing for Smoking Venison Backstrap

Smoking venison backstrap can be an exciting culinary experience, granting you the chance to enjoy the rich, gamey flavors of one of nature’s finest red meats. However, there are a few things you need to set up and understand before you can begin.

Setting up the Smoker

Setting up your smoker is the first step in your smoking journey. You’ll want to make sure your smoker is cleaned and ready to go before you start. Proper maintenance, like removing residual ash and grime, will ensure a consistent and pure smoke, which imparts that delightful flavor to your venison backstrap.

What Wood Do You Use to Smoke Venison?

The choice of wood can significantly impact the final flavor of your venison. Hickory is often a popular choice due to its robust, hearty flavor, while Oak provides a solid smoke without overpowering the meat. If you prefer milder flavors, applewood or cherrywood might be more your speed. On the other hand, if you enjoy a bit more intensity, hickory and pecan are excellent choices. Feel free to experiment and find which wood suits your taste best!

What kind of smoker can you use

When it comes to the type of smoker you can use, there are several options available. Traditional charcoal smokers are a popular choice, as are propane smokers. However, pellet smokers have gained popularity due to their ease of use and versatility. The decision depends on the resources you have at your disposal and your comfort level with the equipment.

Seasoning Venison Backstrap

Now that you have your smoker set up, it’s time to prepare the star of the show – the venison backstrap. The seasoning process is crucial as it enhances the natural flavors of the meat while adding a unique dimension of your own.

Smoked Beef Tenderloin Rub

Do I Need a Binder for the Rub to Adhere?

Binders can help your spice rub stick to the meat, but they aren’t necessary for every recipe. For venison backstrap, the natural moisture of the meat is typically enough to help the rub adhere. However, if you find the rub isn’t sticking as well as you’d like, a binder like yellow mustard can be used.

Smoked Venison Seasonings

Seasoning is where you can let your creativity shine. A basic venison seasoning might include salt, paprika, onion powder, and brown sugar. But don’t be afraid to experiment with other herbs and spices like cumin, cinnamon, or clove for an unexpected twist.

What Other Seasonings Are Good on Venison?

Venison pairs well with a variety of seasonings. You can try sweet marjoram, juniper, rosemary, and sage for a traditional flavor profile. Earthy herbs and spices such as cumin, cinnamon, and clove can also impart a deliciously exotic twist to your venison backstrap.

Trim The Meat and Season the Meat

Before you season your venison, you’ll want to trim any excess fat. Unlike beef, venison fat can have a waxy texture and an unpleasant flavor when cooked. Once you have your venison trimmed, you can season it with your chosen herbs and spices. Take your time and make sure the venison is well-coated for maximum flavor.

Why add bacon to the smoked venison backstrap?

Ah, bacon. Is there anything it can’t do? Wrapping your venison backstrap in bacon serves two purposes. First, it adds a delightful smoky, savory flavor that complements the venison beautifully. Secondly, it helps keep the venison moist during the smoking process. Venison is a lean meat and can dry out if not cooked carefully, but the bacon acts as a natural baste, keeping your backstrap juicy and tender.

How to Smoke Venison Backstrap

Now that your venison backstrap is seasoned and your smoker is ready, it’s time to start the smoking process. The key here is patience – slow and steady definitely wins the race when smoking venison.

Fire up the Grill or Smoker

First, you’ll need to fire up your grill or smoker. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a low cooking temperature – around 225 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect. This allows the meat to cook evenly without drying out, and also gives the smoke plenty of time to penetrate the meat, enhancing its flavor.

Smoke the Backstraps

Once your grill or smoker is up to temperature, it’s time to add your venison backstraps. Position them so they’re not directly over the heat source – this is called ‘indirect grilling’ and it helps to prevent the meat from burning. Close the lid and let the magic happen. The smoke will circulate around the meat, slowly cooking it and infusing it with that wonderful smoky flavor.

How not to overcook venison?

The golden rule of venison is: don’t overcook it! Venison is a lean meat and can dry out and become tough if overcooked. To avoid this, monitor the temperature closely with a meat thermometer. You’re aiming for an internal temperature of between 120°F to 135°F.

What temperature do you cook deer backstrap to?

The optimal cooking temperature for deer backstrap is between 120°F to 135°F. This will ensure that your venison is cooked to medium-rare or medium, keeping it tender and juicy. Remember, the meat will continue to cook for a bit after you remove it from the heat, so it’s a good idea to take it off when it’s a few degrees below your target temperature.

Test for Doneness

The most reliable way to test for doneness is with a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the backstrap without touching any bone. When the internal temperature reaches your target (between 120°F to 135°F), your venison is done.

Tips and Tricks for Smoking Venison Backstrap

Like any culinary art, smoking venison backstrap comes with its own set of tips and tricks to help you achieve the best results. Here are some to help you on your smoking quest.

Crisp Up the Bacon

If you’ve wrapped your venison in bacon, you’ll want to make sure it’s nicely crisped. After the venison is done, increase the heat and cook for a few more minutes until the bacon is crispy. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.

Do I need to bring the backstrap to room temperature before cooking?

It’s generally a good idea to bring the venison backstrap to room temperature before cooking. This helps the meat cook evenly, reducing the risk of the outer layers being overcooked while the inside remains undercooked. Remove your venison from the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before you plan to cook it.

How To Cook Backstrap

When you’re ready to cook, place your seasoned venison on the grill and close the lid. Remember to cook indirectly and keep the temperature low for slow and even cooking. Monitor the internal temperature closely, and remove the venison from the grill when it reaches your target temperature.

Reverse Searing Venison Steaks

Reverse searing is a great technique for cooking venison steaks. This involves smoking the steaks at a low temperature until they’re almost done, then searing them over high heat for a minute or two each side. This gives you a beautifully tender steak with a deliciously crispy sear.

Finishing and Serving Smoked Venison Backstrap

You’ve done it – your venison backstrap is smoked to perfection! But the journey doesn’t stop there. Here’s how to finish and serve your masterpiece.

Sauce the Smoked Venison Backstraps

While your venison is resting (more on that in a moment), now’s the time to add some sauce if desired. You can use your favorite barbecue sauce, or make something special like a berry compote or a red wine reduction. Apply the sauce generously to your venison backstraps and let them rest a while longer to absorb the flavors.

Rest, Carve and Enjoy the Smoked Venison Backstraps

After your venison is cooked, it’s crucial to let it rest before you carve it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful bite. After about 10-15 minutes of resting, you can carve your venison. Slice against the grain for the most tender results.

What to serve with venison backstrap?

Venison backstrap pairs well with a variety of sides. Classic choices include mashed potatoes, green beans, and a crisp salad. For something a bit different, try serving your venison with a side of wild rice, roasted root vegetables, or a sweet and tangy coleslaw.

Storage and Reheating Smoked Venison Backstrap

If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge in an airtight container. They should keep for about 3-4 days. To reheat, place the venison in a covered dish with a splash of water or broth to prevent drying out. Reheat in the oven at 325°F until warmed through.

Variations and Alternatives

While the classic smoked venison backstrap is delicious, there are plenty of ways you can switch it up and make the recipe your own.

Substitutions and Variations

If venison isn’t available, you can substitute other game meats like elk or moose. You can also try different seasonings, such as chili powder for some heat, or rosemary and thyme for a more herbaceous flavor.

What if I don’t have a smoker? Can I make this recipe in the oven?

Yes, you can make this recipe in the oven if you don’t have a smoker. Cook your venison at a low temperature (around 225°F), and if you want that smoky flavor, consider adding a bit of liquid smoke to your rub or marinade.

Smoked Venison Backstrap Recipe

Finally, here’s a simple smoked venison backstrap recipe to get you started.


– 1 venison backstrap

– Salt, paprika, onion powder, and brown sugar for seasoning

– A few strips of bacon

– Your favorite barbecue sauce


1.Trim any excess fat from the venison and season it with your chosen herbs and spices.

2.Wrap the venison in bacon.

3.Preheat your smoker to around 225°F.

4.Smoke the venison for about 2-4 hours, until the internal temperature reaches between 120°F to 135°F.

5.Allow the venison to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.

Venison Backstrap Recipe Tips and Notes

Remember to monitor the temperature closely to prevent overcooking, and allow the venison to rest before carving to keep it juicy and tender.


Venison is a lean, high-protein meat that’s low in fat. It’s also a great source of vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, iron, and zinc. However, the exact nutritional content will depend on the specific cut and how it’s cooked.

Did you make this recipe?

If you’ve made this recipe, we’d love to hear about it! Share your experience in the comments below. Smoking venison backstrap is a rewarding process that results in a delicious, flavorful meal. By understanding the steps and tips involved, you can turn out a perfect smoked venison backstrap every time. Happy smoking!


What is smoked venison backstrap?

Smoked Venison Backstrap is a cut of meat taken from the loin of a deer, also known as venison. It can be marinated, grilled, fried or smoked for maximum flavor and tenderness. Smoked backstrap is enjoyed by many hunters who hunt their own deer and enjoy preparing it themselves with unique recipes.

How do you cook smoked venison backstrap?

The best way to cook smoked venison backstrap is to marinate it first in olive oil and steak seasoning before smoking it over low heat (175-200 degrees F). Make sure to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat while cooking it until medium rare (145F). Additionally, you can add flavors like soy sauce and brown sugar during the 2-hour smoke time.

What ingredients are needed for a smoked venison backstrap recipe?

A simple recipe for a smoked venison backstrap requires olive oil, steak seasoning, soy sauce, kosher salt, onion powder and brown sugar. You’ll also need an oven-safe pan or tray for your smoker or grill along with wood chips/chunks for extra flavor. Lastly, make sure you have a good quality meat thermometer handy so that you know when your dish has reached its desired internal temperature – typically medium rare (~145F).

How do I remove silver skin from my deer meat?

Silver skin must be removed from most cuts of deer meat before cooking as this tough membrane does not break down when cooked and will instead leave your dish chewy and unappealing. To remove silver skin, pull one corner up away from the surface of the meat followed by gently sliding a knife between it and the flesh underneath until it’s beit’sompletely lifted off.

What is venison tenderloin?

A venison tenderloin is a succulent and lean cut of meat that comes from the inside of the deer’s deer’seg. It is also known as a fillet mignon or filet mignon due to its similarity with beef tenderloin in shape, size, and texture. Unlike other cuts of wild game, it has very little fat or gamey flavor. Venison tenderloins are often served as steaks or roasts and can be cooked at home on the grill or stovetop.

How do you prepare venison tenderlion?

Venison tenderloins should first be patted dry with paper towels before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. To enhance the flavor even further, marinate them in a blend of citrus juices, herbs, spices and olive oil for at least an hour prior to cooking. When ready to cook, heat your grill or panic over medium-high heat before adding a few tablespoons of butter or oil. Cook each side until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) using either direct or indirect heat (such as wrapping in foil). Once cooked through remove from heat and allow resting for 10 minutes before serving.

How do you smoke venison?

Smoking venison requires low temperatures over long periods of time which results in incredibly tender meat. First pat dry the outside of your cut before marinating overnight in a mixture such as lemon juice, BBQ sauce and black pepper – this will help give it more flavor when smoked later on! Place your cut into your smoker, making sure not to overcrowd it so that all pieces benefit from consistent smoke exposure during cooking process – preheat smoker to 225-250 degrees F (107-121 celsius). Smoke for around 2 hours using wood chips such as applewood/mesquite/cherry etc…until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F when checked with good thermometer, then remove from heat & rest for 10 mins – Then enjoy!

What type of cut is suited best for smoking venison?

The best type of cuts suited for smoking would be loin primal cuts which consist primarily of lean muscle tissue and are usually boneless – these types include Tenderloins, Eye Rounds & Strip Loins which are all relatively small yet provide many servings per pound when compared with larger muscles like shoulders & shanks. These cuts tend to have less excess fat than others, too, meaning they won’t produwon’t overwhelming gamey taste when smoked like some other larger cuts may. Additionally, these types tend towards quick cooking times, meaning that you don’t have don’t about over cooking them leading up to much tastier end product !

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