Venison is just a fancy word for deer meat. Like beef, chicken and other meat, venison also comes with different meat cuts. This fact shouldn’t come as a surprise, really.
In today’s article, I have decided to take a break from the usual and get my hands onto something new – the Venison Backstrap! This cut is no ordinary cut, and is often found to be compared with filet mignon (found in the cow).
If you are as excited about this deer cut as I once was when I laid my eyes on it for the first time, then calm your nerves and proceed! There is a whole recipe waiting for you to read! So be the narrator and give this recipe a try later.
It is important to know what kind of meat you are getting your hands on before preparing and smoking it. So let’s get to know about Venison Backstrap before we get our smoker hot and ready for smoking.
What is Venison Backstrap?
Venison Backstrap, often known as the Venison Loin, is one of the premium cuts obtained from a deer. It is found above the ribcage running from both sides of the spine – more specifically from the neck to the hindquarter.
Venison Lion is usually confused with Venison Tenderloin, but do keep in mind that these two are different cuts. Venison Tenderloin is found just beneath the Backstrap, running at both sides of the spine but inside the ribcage.
Venison Backstrap is an extremely tender and flavorful cut. The secret to its tenderness is its location. This muscle is barely used by the deer itself, hence making it a lean meat.
But with every lean meat comes a tough task. Since Venison Backstrap is almost devoid of fat, the chances of meat drying up and becoming chewy increases. Fret not! We will be telling you just how exactly you need to smoke it to retain its best qualities.
How To Smoke Venison Backstrap
This sensitive meat is a tasty delicacy if cooked and smoked properly. Although tougher meats are usually known for being smoked for long hours, venison backstrap is comparatively a tender meat that needs to be smoked for less amount of time and at lower temperature.
The purpose of smoking venison backstrap is to give it a nice smoky flavor, and of course to cook it as well.
For smoking venison backstrap, you will be needing a smoker, a bag of wood chips, a meat thermometer, and a nice chunk of backstrap! For further guidance, scroll down and get an idea on how to smoke venison backstrap like a pro.
Preheating The Smoker
This rule goes out for every meat out there. Preheating the smoker provides sufficient temperature to the meat. Once the backstrap is in the smoker, it wastes no time and begins the cooking process instantly.
The ideal temperature for preheating the smoker is within the range of 180° F – 200° F.
Preparing Venison Backstrap
Owning a backstrap is not enough. You will have to trim it nicely to get the desired flavor. Venison backstrap usually comes with a very unpleasant layer of fat. Unlike the fats in beef cut, this one knows how to ruin the venison. So, chin up and be brave enough to lose few grams of loin in the name of fat! Unless you like your meat super tough and give your jaw a tough time, then who am I to judge you? Definitely a stranger!
If the venison of yours is resting in the freezer, make sure you thaw it naturally and completely. Once the deer meat is thawed properly, pat it dry with a tissue paper to get rid of the moisture. Now, let’s get it seasoned with favorite herbs and spices!
Seasoning Venison Backstrap
I believe seasoning truly brings out the creative side of mine. Not everyone excels in choosing the right combination of seasoning, and that’s art! And that makes me an artist!
I don’t go extra on seasonings. I have found that too much spices really suppresses the natural taste of venison backstrap. I like to season it with kosher salt, minced garlic (or garlic powder), paprika, onion powder and some brown sugar.
So bring out the salt bae in you and sprinkle your favorite seasonings! Give it a nice rub thoroughly and let it stay for few hours or overnight in the fridge.
Note: Longer the seasoning stays on the meat, more delicious it gets. I would recommend letting it stay overnight at least.
Choosing The Wood
Wood choice is up to you. I am a fan of strong robust flavor so I prefer hickory or mesquite for cuts like these. If you are looking for something sweet and fruity then apple, cherry and peach woods are some of the excellent choices.
Put the woods in their desired location in the smoker, and look for the color of the smoke! It should be light bluish or grayish in color.
Smoking Venison Backstrap
Now that your smoker is hot and smoky, put the marinated backstrap on the cooking grate. To keep track of the internal temperature of the lion, insert the meat thermometer or probe in the middle and the thickest part of the lion.
Now the timing depends on how thick the meat is. At 180° F, the backstrap usually takes 3 hours to smoke. However, I am not really a fan of keeping track of the events inside the smoker through a clock.
A meat is best smoked if the internal temperature is frequently monitored. I like backstrap medium done, so I take it out once the internal temperature reaches 140° F.
|Degree Of Doneness||Internal Temperature|
|Well Done||165° F|
Always remove the venison loin when it is 5° F away from reaching the desired internal temperature mentioned above. It’s because the super hot meat gets wrapped in the foil and the heat remains within – taking time to get to room temperature.
My Advice: It is better to take the venison backstrap out at 140° F regardless of how you like it. Venison backstrap is a lean meat, the longer you will cook it, the chances of it becoming dry and chewy increases. So wrap the deer meat a bit longer in foil (for 30 to 40 minutes) if you like meat well-done.
Maintaining The Temperature
It is crucial to maintain the temperature so the quality of the meat remains intact. The temperature can be maintained by:
- Keeping an eye on the woods burning.
- Opening the lid as less as you can.
- Smoking under a shelter if it’s snowing outside.
Resting The Meat
When you open the lid to take out that delicious venison of yours, you will be hit by a pleasant aroma of it. Don’t let it lose control! Wrap up the meat in an aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
The purpose of resting the backstrap in foil is to trap all the juiciness inside and make it tender. You can make it extra tender and aromatic by adding some butter before wrapping it up.
Serving Smoked Vension Backstrap
Smoked Venison Backstrap can be served in so many ways that I have seriously lost the count. But my working gears of my brain remind me that this backstrap can be eaten as a taco, sandwich or simply with your favorite sauce!
I personally like to treat myself with a bubbly drink and simple sides like mashed potatoes and green vegetables. And if I have my favorite sauces by my side, I don’t hold back and drizzle it on the steamy hot smoked venison backstrap!
How To Smoke The Best Venison Backstrap – A Recipe
- 2 pounds fresh orfrozen deer venison backstrap/lion
- 1 teaspoon koshersalt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powderor freshly minced garlic
- 1½ teaspoons smokedpaprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Defrost the venisonbackstrap completely and trim down the unnecessary fat in it.
- Pat the backstrapdry with a tissue, and season both sides with salt, garlic powder, smokedpaprika, onion powder and brown sugar. Let it stay overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat thesmoker to 180° F, and add your favorite wood chips in the smoker.
- Put theseasoned venison on the cooking grate. Close the lid and monitor the internaltemperature through meat thermometer. Make sure the thermometer is inserted inthe thickest region of the backstrap. Smoking should take roughly 3 hours.
- Once theinternal temperature reaches 140° F, take the backstrap out of the smoker andwrap it in the foil for 15 minutes to retain the juiciness. You can also addcubes of butter before closing the foil.
- Serve the smokedvenison backstrap as sandwich, taco or however you like.