Smoked Venison Roast

Since deer season is now open here in Missouri, I thought I’d do a smoked venison roast on my Weber kettle grill to demonstrate how you can turn out some top-notch roast deer with basic equipment which most everyone has.

First we need to build a brine. If you don’t know what a brine is, let me explain. A brine is not a marinade. It may seem like a similar technique, however there is one huge difference. A marinade uses an acid to tenderize and flavor the meat. A brine on the other hand uses a strong salt/sugar solution to push moisture and flavor into the meat by way of diffusion and osmosis. To make a brine, you’ll need a large non-reactive stock pot, like stainless steel and enough space in your refrigerator for this pot to set for about 24 hours, a gallon of water and some other very simple ingredients. Here’s my Oakridge BBQ Venison Brine recipe:

Put one quart of the water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients to the hot water and stir to combine completely. Once the brine powder/bbq sauce/rub are fully dissolved, pour the mixture into the remaining 3 quarts of COLD water which should be in your large non-reactive stock pot. Let this mixture cool fully in the refrigerator before you add the meat. Since I had two roasts, I doubled the recipe.  (Click on thumbnails to see larger image)

Now, we need to get our deer roasts out and trim them up. For this, I am using a Sirloin roast and a Sirloin Tip roast. I let them thaw out in the fridge for about 4 days before I started this project.  You want to try to remove as much fat and connective tissue as you can.  Remove any thick sinewy silver skin, however the thin sliver skin is OK to leave on.  You can score it with a sharp knife if you like.

Thawed Deer Roasts:

Smoked Venison Roast

Trimmed Deer Roasts:

Smoked Venison Roast

Once you trim them all up, carefully drop them into your brine, cover with a tight fitting lid, and place them back in the fridge. Let them set in the fridge for 24-48 hours, no less and no more.

Smoked Venison Roast

After time is up, your roasts will look like this.  Set a baking rack inside a sheet pan and dust them liberally with Oakridge BBQ Venison rub while you get the fire ready.

Smoked Venison Roast
Smoked Venison Roast

I always use 100% hardwood lump charcoal with white oak and hickory chunks in my Weber kettle and never use lighter fluid to start it. A charcoal chimney and a wad of newspaper is all you really need, but I like to use my turkey burner to kick things up a notch…

Set your grill up so that the coals are on the sides and put a drip pan in the middle. Weber calls this the “Indirect Method.” You’ll only need about half a basket of coals on each side.  If you use too much, you’ll burn you meat.  After you’ve lit your charcoal well and dumped it into each basket, place about 3-4 chunks of white oak and hickory on top of the coals.  Do not pre-soak them!  You want them to coal up and not smolder.  You’re shooting for a grill temp of between 350-400 degrees.  Any cooler and you’re roasts won’t turn out right.  For an average sized deer roast, plan on about an hour to an hour and a half total cooking time.

Put your roasts right in the middle on the rack above the drip pan and close the lid, and leave it closed. If you have a remote probe digital thermometer, put it in and let it tell you when they’re done.

Smoked Venison Roast

Once the roasts reach your desired internal temperature (I shot for 140*), take them off the grill.  Do not overcook them.  Venison becomes very dry if overcooked, and don’t forget about carryover cooking, as your roasts will climb an additional 5 degrees on average AFTER you remove them from the grill.  Once removed from the grill, wrap in several layers of plastic wrap and let them rest for a minimum of ONE HOUR. Then, if you must eat them right away, dig in. Otherwise, it’s actually best to chill them overnight in the fridge before you slice them. This helps the meat to draw juices back into itself and firm up so you can make nice clean and thin slices.  After an overnight chill, your roasts should look like this:

Smoked Venison Roast
Smoked Venison Roast

And will slice up like this…

Smoked Venison Roast
Smoked Venison Roast

Time to dig in and enjoy.  Could somebody please pass me the horseradish?…

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