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Smoked Deer Shoulder

Today, I’m diving headfirst into the world of smoking deer shoulder, and let me tell you, it’s a wild and delicious adventure. So, grab your aprons, and let’s get smokin’!

smoked deer shoulder

Smoked Deer Shoulder: A Mouthwatering Journey

Step 1: Prep That Shoulder First things first, get yourself a nice chunk of deer shoulder. Now, you’re gonna wanna trim any excess fat and give it a good rinse. Pat it dry, folks, we’re in for some flavorful magic!

Step 2: Rub-a-Dub-Dub Now, let’s talk about the rub. The best rub for smoked deer shoulder is a matter of personal taste, but I’ll give you a pro tip. Mix up some salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and a touch of brown sugar. Rub that concoction over your shoulder, and ensure it’s well-coated. Let it sit for an hour or so to let those flavors mingle.

Step 3: Wood Choice Matters Choosing the right wood for smoking is crucial, my friends. For deer shoulder, you want a mild and sweet flavor. Fruit woods like apple, cherry, or even a bit of maple work wonders. Avoid anything too strong, like mesquite – it’ll overpower the meat’s delicate flavor.

Step 4: Get Smokin’ Fire up your smoker, and once it’s humming along at around 225°F, it’s time to introduce that deer shoulder to the smoky dance floor. Pop it on the rack, close the lid, and let the magic happen. You’ll need patience; we’re looking at several hours here.

Step 5: Low and Slow Smoking is all about the low and slow, baby! Keep that temperature steady, and don’t rush it. You’re looking at roughly 5-7 hours of smoking time, depending on your shoulder size. Throw some wood chips on the coals every hour to keep that smoke party going.

Step 6: The Waiting Game While your deer shoulder is sizzling away in smoky heaven, resist the urge to peek too often. Trust me; it’s doing its thing. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the intoxicating aroma filling the air.

Step 7: The Juicy Finish The moment of truth has arrived. When the internal temperature reaches 195-200°F, it’s time to pull that deer shoulder off the smoker. Wrap it in foil and let it rest for a good 30 minutes. This is crucial, folks. It allows the juices to be redistributed, resulting in a tender, succulent masterpiece.

smoked deer shoulder roast

But Wait, There’s More: Marinating Madness

Now, let’s address the age-old question: marinating. Do you need to marinate your deer shoulder? Honestly, it’s not necessary if you’ve got a killer rub and the patience for a good smoke. The flavors from the rub and the smoke will do the heavy lifting, but if you want to marinate for a few hours before the rub-down, go for it. Just remember, don’t overdo it; you don’t want to mask that fantastic deer flavor.

Serving Up Deliciousness

So, your smoked deer shoulder is rested, and your taste buds are on high alert. What to serve alongside this culinary masterpiece? Well, my friends, the possibilities are endless. But here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Classic BBQ Sides: Coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread – the trifecta of BBQ sides. They complement the smoky goodness beautifully.
  2. Wild Game Risotto: Whip up a creamy wild game risotto with mushrooms and fresh herbs. It’s the perfect companion for your smoked shoulder.
  3. Grilled Vegetables: Keep it simple with some grilled asparagus, zucchini, and bell peppers. A drizzle of balsamic glaze will elevate them to another level.
  4. Potato Salad: A creamy potato salad with a hint of mustard and dill is always a winner at any BBQ.

smoked deer shoulder recipe

And there you have it, folks – the lowdown on how to smoke a delectable deer shoulder. It may take some time and patience, but the end result is worth every second. So, fire up that smoker, grab some friends and family, and let the good times roll. Thanks for joining me on this flavorful journey, and as we say in the smoking world, “Keep the fire burnin’!”

Happy smokin’, y’all!

Smoked Deer Shoulder

Experience the perfect harmony of smokiness and succulence with our smoked deer shoulder. Taste the difference that quality makes. Try it now!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings 6


  • 1 whole deer shoulder 4-6 pounds
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Fruitwood chips apple, cherry, or maple
  • Cooking oil for seasoning


Preparing the Deer Shoulder

  1. Start trimming excess fat from the deer shoulder using a sharp knife. Don't remove all the fat, as it adds flavor and moisture to the meat.
  2. Rinse the shoulder under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. This helps the rub adhere better.
  3. Mix the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and brown sugar in a small bowl. This will be your rub.
  4. Drizzle a bit of cooking oil over the deer shoulder and rub it in lightly. This will help the rub stick.
  5. Generously coat the entire surface of the deer shoulder with the rub. Use your hands to massage it in, ensuring an even distribution.
  6. Once the shoulder is nicely coated, let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Setting up the Smoker

  1. Fire up your smoker using charcoal or wood, targeting a temperature of around 225°F. Make sure you have a good bed of coals before adding wood chips for that smoky flavor.
  2. While the smoker is heating up, soak your fruitwood chips in water for about 30 minutes. This will ensure they smolder and create a steady stream of smoke.

Smoking the Deer Shoulder

  1. Place the seasoned deer shoulder on the smoker rack, bone-side down.
  2. Add the soaked fruitwood chips to the hot coals or wood chunks. This will create that mouthwatering smoke.
  3. Close the smoker's lid and let the magic happen. Maintain a steady temperature of 225°F. Smoking time will vary depending on the size of your shoulder, but plan for 5-7 hours.
  4. Add a handful of soaked wood chips to the smoker every hour to keep the smoke flowing.

The Waiting Game

  1. While your deer shoulder is getting its smoky bath, resist the temptation to open the smoker too often. Keep that lid closed, my friend!
  2. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the heavenly aroma wafting from your smoker. This is the part where you're going to need some patience.

The Grand Finale

  1. When the internal temperature of the deer shoulder reaches 195-200°F (use a meat thermometer), it's time to work your culinary magic.
  2. Carefully remove the shoulder from the smoker and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. This is your ticket to moist and tender meat.
  3. Allow the wrapped shoulder to rest for a good 30 minutes. This crucial step lets the juices redistribute, ensuring a succulent and flavorful final product.
  4. Once rested, it's time to unveil your masterpiece. Carefully unwrap the foil, and behold the smoky goodness.
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