Smoked Elk Roast

4.54 from 69 votes
4.54 from 69 votes

This smoked elk roast is lean but full of flavor. This hearty meat is made with simple dry brine and dry rub seasoning before cooking low and slow over hickory for the perfect barbecue wild game. Learn how to smoke elk roast with our easy recipe.

smoked elk roast recipe

Elk is a beautifully lean cut of meat that’s rich in protein and low in fat. It’s soared in popularity over the past few years and is widely considered to be one of the best wild game meats. It’s often compared to venison, but carries little gamey flavor and is typically leaner.

Just like with venison, we can treat it much like we would with beef. In fact, for our smoked elk roast, we’re going to treat it just like our smoked beef top round. The big difference is that the lower fat content means we have to be careful not to let it dry out. To combat this, we’re going to dry brine it overnight and also use a marinade injection. Let’s get into it!

Where to Buy Elk

Your access to elk might be limited depending on where you are, and you’re more likely to find it at a specialty butcher’s counter if you are in the Western region of North America. Outside of this, you will have more luck ordering online.

Times & Temperatures

Elk needs to be smoked at 225°F (107°C) for one hour per pound of meat. We’re using a 4 lb roast, so will aim for four hours of smoke time. However, the most important thing is that the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130°F, at which point we’ll pull it from the smoker. We’ll then wrap it in foil and allow it to rest for ten to fifteen minutes, letting it rise to a final temperature of 140°F-150°F. Anything over this and the elk will dry out due to its low fat content.

smoked elk roast recipe

Smoked Elk Roast

4.54 from 69 votes
Smoked elk roast cooked low and slow over hickory wood for the perfect plate of barbecue meat. Prepared with an easy dry brine and Texas-style paprika and garlic dry rub, this lean cut of wild game is packed full of flavor!
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Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Dry Brine8 hours
Total Time13 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 people


  • 4 lb elk roast
  • kosher salt

Dry rub

  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • ¾ cup black pepper
  • 1 ½ tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp onion powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder


  • Rinse and pat dry elk roast. Apply kosher salt across the meat and leave in refrigerator brine. Leave for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
  • Remove roast from refrigerator. Rinse off excess salt and pat dry. Allow meat to come to room temperature.
  • Fire up the smoker to 225°F (107°C). If you are using a charcoal grill, ensure you set up for 2-zone cooking, with enough room for the elk roast on the indirect side of the grates.
  • Place water pan in smoker chamber and add wood chips to firebox or coals.
  • Inject elk with injection marinade. Apply across the entire meat surface, injecting every 1-2 inches.
  • Apply the dry rub all over the meat, on all sides.
  • Place elk roast on smoker grates and close chamber door or lid. Smoke until internal temperature reaches 130°F, or about 4-5 hours.
  • Remove from smoker and wrap in foil. Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes. If wrapped tightly, the temperature should rise to 140°F-150°F. Slice to serve.


Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 73g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 178mg | Sodium: 5856mg | Fiber: 3g

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.

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