I finally tried smoking venison by doing an entire hind quarter, on the bone. I had this mule deer and only about 6 weeks of layover in Reno before hitting the road full-time for over a year. I already gave away a full hind quarter to a friend in Montana and I processed out the front quarters, rib and neck meat into roasts and stew meat (I didn’t have a grinder handy), the tenderloins didn’t last more than 24 hours and were eaten in the field and the backstrap is frozen as individual steaks for the next month. That left a full hind quarter of beautiful meat. I wanted to try something different and my dad happens to have a big Green Mountain Grill that uses pellets so I decided to roll the dice and smoke the entire quarter.
I started with a 24-hour brine using the following ingredients:
- 1.5 gallons of water
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1.5 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup Kosher Salt
- Red pepper flakes
I added everything into a little cooler and left it in the garage for 24-hours.
Then I pulled it out and patted the meat dry with paper towels. On went a Brown Sugar Weber rub that I picked up at Walmart in a hurry. I’d love to find some other custom rub options specifically made for game or just make my own from scratch but the Weber flavor was great. I injected some brine juice into the meat as well, rubbed it down with Olive Oil and threw it on the grill at 210-degrees with Hickory Flavored pellets.
I turned it every hour and a half or so for the first 4 hours, then injected some apple juice to hydrate and sweeten the meat. I also found a pack of bacon in the fridge and stuffed a few slices between the muscle groups. I don’t think the bacon did much in the end and it also discourage me from flipping the smoking venison quarter in the last 2-3 hours. Turning it one more time would have helped even out the cooking as the bottom half was slightly more done than the top half.
The hickory flavor was strong but not overpowering. I was worried about drying out the meat but injecting apple juice seemed to help and it remained surprising moist. The end result was exceptional and even the non-game eating folks at the table couldn’t get enough of this smoked venison recipe. I will definitely be doing this again. I liked the hickory flavor but think applewood would also be great and I might try that on the next round. Cooking at a lower temperature for a longer period of time would also be great.