Mastering the Art of Smoking Elk: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a fan of game meat, then you’ll definitely want to give smoked elk a try. It’s often considered the best-tasting game meat out there and for good reason – it’s packed with protein and minerals, and tastes amazing when smoked slowly. There are so many different ways to smoke elk, from ribs and tenderloin to sausage and jerky. Keep reading for all the details on how to smoke this delicious meat to perfection.

Elk is a nutritious and flavorful game meat that is often smoked for its delicious taste. It is best to smoke elk meat at a temperature between 220°F and 250°F and cook it to an internal temperature between 120°F and 160°F to prevent drying out. Wrapping elk meat in bacon or pork fat and partially smoking it before reverse searing it on a pan is a popular method for adding moisture and flavor to the meat. There are several different cuts of elk that can be smoked, including ribs, tenderloin, roast, backstrap, sausage, burgers, and jerky. Smoking an elk roast can be challenging due to its leanness, but one strategy is to smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F and then reverse sear it. To smoke elk backstrap, it is best to sear the meat first to seal in the juices before finishing it in the smoker. Elk sausage should be smoked at 225°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F, and elk jerky can be made by slicing the meat thin, marinating it, and drying it in a dehydrator or smoker until it reaches the desired texture.

Tips and Techniques for Moist, Flavorful Elk Meat

  • Elk is a tasty and nutritious game meat
  • It is best to smoke elk meat between 220°F and 250°F, and cook to an internal temperature between 120°F and 160°F to prevent drying out
  • Wrapping elk meat in bacon or pork fat and partially smoking before reverse searing on a pan is a popular method
  • There are several ways to smoke elk, including ribs, tenderloin, roast, bacon wrapped roast, backstrap, sausage, burgers, and jerky
  • Elk roast can be challenging to smoke because it is lean and has a tendency to dry out
  • One strategy is to smoke the roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F, then reverse sear it prior to serving
  • To prevent the roast from drying out, it can be wrapped in bacon or pork fat and smoked for around 1 hour per pound (4 to 5 hours for an average sized roast)
  • To smoke elk backstrap, it is best to sear the meat first to seal in the juices, then finish it in the smoker
  • To smoke elk sausage, it should be smoked at 225°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F
  • Elk jerky can be made by slicing the meat thin, marinating it, and drying it in a dehydrator or smoker until it reaches the desired texture

Different Ways to Smoke Elk: A Comprehensive List

Cut of Elk MeatSmoking TemperatureCooking TimeNotes
Elk Ribs220°F – 250°F1 hour per pound
Elk Tenderloin220°F – 250°F1 hour per pound
Elk Roast220°F – 250°F1 hour per poundWrap in bacon or pork fat to prevent drying out
Bacon Wrapped Elk Roast220°F – 250°F1 hour per pound
Elk Backstrap220°F – 250°F1 hour per poundSear first to seal in juices before finishing in smoker
Elk Sausage225°FCook to internal temperature of 160°F
Elk Burgers220°F – 250°F1 hour per pound
Elk Jerky220°F – 250°FVariesSlice meat thin, marinate, and dry in dehydrator or smoker until desired texture is reached

The Best Ways to Smoke Elk: Tips and Techniques

Unlike most meat such as brisket or pork shoulder, elk only needs to be cooked to an internal meat temperature of about 160°F. Elk meat is leaner and less marbled, so the meat has a tendency to dry out. One of the most common strategies for smoking elk is to smoke the meat until 160⁰F, and then reverse sear the meat prior to serving. This especially works well for the tenderloin.

Smoking Elk Roast: Expert Tips and Tricks for Perfect Results

Cooking an elk roast can be tricky, especially if you’re used to cooking other types of roasts like brisket or pork butt. The goal with most low and slow roasts is to cook the meat until it’s super tender and falls apart, but if you cook elk to this point, it’ll turn out dry. That’s because elk roasts are made up of lean muscles, which need to be cooked at low temps for a long time to break down the connective tissues and become tender. If you cook a brisket, for example, to 200°F, it’ll be super tender, but if you try to cook an elk roast to this temperature, it’ll dry out because it doesn’t have the fat or marbling to keep it moist for long periods of time. The solution is to add fat to the outside of the roast, like wrapping it in bacon. This helps prevent it from drying out and gives the connective tissue time to break down. Plus, the smoke will still penetrate the meat and the bacon will fuse to the roast.

Smoking Elk Roast: Step-by-Step

  1. Optional step: Inject the elk roast with broth to add moisture and flavor.
  2. Wrap the elk roast in bacon or use pork fat (without the rind) to hold it in place with toothpicks.
  3. Season the roast with a barbeque rub or a simple SPOG seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder). Use a binder like olive oil or mustard to help the seasoning stick.
  4. Set your smoker or pellet grill to 225°F.
  5. Use dry, seasoned smoking wood and add a few chunks to the fire. Wait until there is nice smoke rolling.
  6. If using a charcoal smoker, fill the water pan to regulate the temperature and add moisture.
  7. Smoke the roast uncovered for about 1 hour per pound (4 to 5 hours for an average sized roast). Cook until the internal meat temperature reaches 130°F for medium or slightly under for medium rare. Don’t take the roast over 150°F. Use a meat thermometer to track the meat while it’s cooking.

Smoking Elk Backstrap: Tips and Techniques for Delicious Results

If you’re looking to cook elk in the most delicious way possible, you’ll definitely want to try smoked elk tomahawk. This cooking method was first popularized by Joe Rogan and Cam Hanes, and it’s a surefire way to create a mouthwatering meal. Whether you’re using a pellet grill or any other type of smoker, this method is sure to impress. Get ready to enjoy some seriously delicious elk with this amazing cooking technique.

  1. Take a full elk backstrap, leaving the rib bones attached.
  2. Season the meat with a rub.
  3. Set the temperature of your smoker to 225°F.
  4. Place the backstrap in the smoker, cutting it in half or in quarters if it doesn’t fit in your smoker.
  5. Smoke the backstrap until the internal meat temperature reaches 120°F, using a meat thermometer to track the temperature.
  6. Slice the backstrap into individual tomahawk steaks.
  7. Reverse sear the tomahawk steaks on the outside to cook them to your desired doneness.

Smoked Elk Jerky

Smoked elk jerky is a great way to use up some of your elk meat. Elk jerky works best is an electric smoker or a pellet grill, but you can use a charcoal smoker. To smoke jerky, the temperature needs to be kept low in the 150°F to 200°F range. Be careful not to over smoke jerky or you will ruin the meat. Jerky is thin, so it doesn’t need long in the smoker to absorb smoke flavor.

  1. Trim the meat of any fat.
  2. Cut up smoke elk meat into thin strips.
  3. Season with SPOG (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder) and some brown sugar and soy sauce.
  4. Place the strips into a zip-lock bag and leave in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  5. Place toothpicks on the elk strips and hang them from your grill grates on your smoker. You can also hang the meat strips on metal skewers if you have some.
  6. You can cook the jerky in a pellet grill at about 180°F to 200°F and it should take about 3 hours.
  7. You can also try smoking at even lower temperatures, where the meat is almost cold smoking.
  8. To cold smoke the jerky, set the temperature of the smoker as low as possible, in the 110°F range and slowly increase the temperature every hour until you reach about 170°F. Don’t go any higher.
  9. It should take 6 to 8 hours depending on the thickness of the slices.

The Differences Between Elk and Deer

If you’re a fan of game meat, you may have heard of elk and wonder how it compares to other types of deer meat, like venison. While elk is part of the deer family, it is actually larger than deer and has a slightly different taste. Some people describe the taste of elk meat as being less gamey than venison, especially if the elk has been raised on a farm rather than living wild.

The Health Benefits of Elk Meat

One of the great things about elk meat is that it is much healthier than other types of meat like beef, pork, or lamb. It has more protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it a great choice for those looking to up their intake of these important nutrients. In addition, elk meat is leaner than beef, which means it has less fat and calories. It also contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good health and can help prevent certain diseases.

The Non-GMO Status of Elk Meat

Another benefit of elk meat is that it is non-GMO, meaning it is not made from genetically modified organisms. According to the FDA, 95% of the meat consumed in the United States comes from animals that have eaten GMO crops, so choosing non-GMO options like elk meat can be a good way to avoid these products. If you’re not a big fan of gamey flavors, you may be wondering if elk is still a good option for you.

What Does Elk Taste Like?

Elk meat has a slightly different taste than other types of game meat, like venison. Some people describe it as being less gamey, with a milder flavor. However, the taste of elk meat can vary depending on where it comes from and what the animal was fed. Elk that has been raised on a farm may have a milder flavor than wild elk, which has a more distinctive gamey taste. Overall, elk meat is generally described as having a rich, slightly sweet flavor that is similar to beef, but with a slightly more wild taste. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, including smoking, grilling, or roasting, and goes well with a variety of seasonings and marinades.

My Favorite Meat Smoking Tools

Thanks for checking out this article. I hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools I use when smoking brisket that may be useful to you. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase any of these products, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends who are just starting out.

Meat Thermometer: There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For around $50, I have a high-quality meat thermometer with two probes, and can track the temperature of my smoker with one probe, and my meat with the other probe. The ThermoPro TP20 is an Amazon Best Seller because it’s the easiest thermometer to operate, is durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.

Instant Read Thermometer: Arguably, the second most important tool you need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the latter stages of the cook when the meat needs regular checking in multiple areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can do, but for a fraction of the cost. You can check out the TP19 on Amazon here.

Wireless Thermometer: The latest thermometers on the market have no wires and can be controlled by wi-fi via your phone. Airprobe 3 is the best of this technology.

Butcher Paper: Wrapping brisket in butcher paper has become a huge trend in barbeque thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping your brisket in paper will give you a nice brisket bark. However, you can’t just use any old paper, it has to be unwaxed, food grade paper. You can find it on Amazon here.

Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller: Once you’re ready to take things seriously, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cook sessions on your smartphone, and attaches to an an automatic blower that will convert your charcoal smoker to a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBoard website here.

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Author and founder at Meat Smoking HQ

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