Barbecue smoked venison roast cooked low and slow over wood fire. This easy smoked game recipe is incredibly tender, and perfectly balanced with hickory wood and a homemade dry rub.
This smoked venison roast is a great way to mix up your barbecue roast meats. Smaller in size than most similar beef joints, venison is a forgiving meat that’s quick and easy to cook on your backyard smoker. While the taste of BBQ game might not be to everyone’s taste, this recipe boasts enough seasoning and smoke to surprise any skeptic.
Our simple barbecue roast is prepared in a simple herb & spice dry rub to balance out venison’s deep flavors. Cooked to medium-rare in just two hours, this recipe is perfect for beginners and more seasoned pitmasters alike.
From dry rub seasoning to find the right smoking wood, discover how to smoke venison roast today.
What is Venison Roast?
While the term venison originally encompassed almost all types of wild game animals, it’s since narrowed down to mean deer or elk. For our venison roast, we’ll be focusing on deer.
Venison has a mild earthy flavor and can be enjoyed as a whole roast or broken down for stews and soups, or cut into steaks. Venison roasts are the most common venison meat and are best cooked low and slow, like for barbecue smoking, oven roasting, or slow cooking. While roasts can cover many different meat cuts, the most common are deer haunch or tenderloin.
Venison roast is relatively thin and doesn’t hold well when cooked over high heat. Therefore, it’s best to cook it at lower temperatures for extended periods to keep it tender and moist.
Time & Temperatures
Venison roast should be smoked to an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C) for medium-rare. This will produce beautifully tender and juicy meat that’s just the right side of cooked. If you prefer your venison more well-done, smoke to 160°F (70°C). If you want it rarer, aim for 135°F (57°C).
For the most accurate reading, make sure you use a digital meat probe thermometer to check temperature at the thickest part of the meat.
Smoke time will depend on the weight and size of your venison roast. As a rough guide, aim for one hour per pound of venison. So for our 2-pound roast, we’ll take a temperature reading after 2 hours.
Best Wood for Smoking Venison
The best woods for smoking venison are hickory, mesquite, and oak. While they burn slowly, these hardwoods impart a deep, earthy flavor to the meat, and should complement the sweetness of the rub and the rich meat taste. Try blending in some applewood to add a touch of sweetness.
For this recipe, we’ve gone for hickory wood. While it is a robust smoking hardwood, venison is strong enough in flavor that hickory won’t overpower it.
BBQ Dry Rub
For our dry rub seasoning, we’ll use our classic venison rub recipe. We’ve used this on our smoked venison ribs to great effect, and have found that the flavor blend works just as well on venison roast too.
This dry rub has the perfect blend of salt and pepper seasoning mixed with onion and garlic, with a light dash of spice thrown in too. The end result complements the rich and gamey taste of venison perfectly. Best of all, it only takes a minute to make! For the dry rub you’ll need:
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 2 tbsp of paprika
- 2 tbsp of garlic powder
- 2 tbsp of black pepper
- 2 tbsp of onion powder
- 1 tbsp of cumin
- 1 tbsp of cilantro
- 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper
Simply combine the ingredients in a small bowl to create an evenly mixed blend. Use a fork to crush any clumps that form (it happens) or simply remove them altogether.
Apply a thin layer of olive oil to your venison roast to act as an adhesive. Then, just apply the dry rub to the meat’s surface. No need to massage it too firmly, but do try to cover as much of the meat’s surface as possible, and be sure to work it into any folds, dips or crevices along the roast’s surface.
Now we’re ready to smoke.
Smoked Venison Roast
- Hickory wood
- Water Pan
- digital meat thermometer
- 2 lb venison roast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp cilantro
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- Fire up your smoker to 225°F (107°C). If you are using a charcoal grill, ensure you are set up for 2-zone cooking with the indirect zone for placing the roast.
- In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients. Use a fork to remove or crush any lumps that may have formed.
- Apply a thin layer of olive oil to the outside of the venison roast, covering as evenly as possible
- Apply the dry rub to the roast, covering all sides of the meat and working into any crevices in the surface
- Once the smoker is at 225°F, place the venison roast on your smoker grates. Place a water pan underneath the grates to catch drippings and to help retain air moisture during the cooking.
- After 2 hours, take an internal temperature reading. Insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. We want an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C).
- When done, remove the venison from the smoker. Tent in foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice to serve