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Smoked Elk Backstrap

Today, we’re diving headfirst into the wonderful world of smoked elk backstrap. If you’re like me, a middle-aged American with a hankering for some wild game, you’re in for a treat. So, grab your apron, and let’s get smokin’!

smoked elk backstrap

How To Make Smoked Elk Backstrap

First things first, let’s talk about how to smoke up the most mouthwatering elk backstrap you’ve ever sunk your teeth into. Here’s a short and sweet summary of the recipe:

  1. Prep Your Elk: Start by trimming and cleaning your elk backstrap. Remove any silver skin or excess fat. You want that beautiful, lean meat to shine.
  2. Seasoning Time: Next up, season that bad boy! I’m talking salt, pepper, garlic, maybe a little paprika for some kick. Get creative with your spice blend, and don’t hold back. Rub it in real good, like you’re giving your backstrap a massage.
  3. Fire Up the Smoker: Choose your wood (we’ll get to that in a second), and fire up your smoker to around 225°F (107°C). Let it get nice and toasty in there.
  4. Smokin’ Time: Place your seasoned elk backstrap on the grates and let it bathe in that smoky goodness. Smoke it until it hits an internal temperature of 135-140°F (57-60°C) for medium-rare. This usually takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the size of your backstrap.
  5. Rest and Slice: Once it’s done, resist the urge to dig in immediately. Let it rest for about 10 minutes to let those juices redistribute. Then, slice it up and savor the moment!

Seasoning and Spicing: Unleash the Flavor!

Now, let’s talk seasoning and spicing, shall we? This is where the magic happens. You see, elk backstrap is a lean and mean cut of meat, so it needs some extra love in the flavor department.

I like to start with a good ol’ salt and pepper base. But hey, don’t stop there! Throw in some garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of smoked paprika for that smoky punch. Maybe even a dash of cayenne if you’re feeling feisty. Remember, the spice blend is your canvas—paint it how you like it!

smoked elk backstrap recipe

Choosing the Right Wood

Now, onto the wood choice. Picking the right wood for smoking your elk is like choosing the right wine for a fancy dinner—important stuff!

I’m a fan of using fruitwood, like apple or cherry, for elk. They give off a sweet and mild smoke that beautifully complements the gamey richness of elk meat. Mesquite and hickory can be a bit overpowering, so save those for beef or pork.

What to Serve: A Sidekick for Every Bite

Alright, we’ve smoked our elk to perfection, and now it’s time to decide what to serve alongside this culinary masterpiece. Here are a few of my favorite sidekicks:

  1. Wild Mushroom Risotto: Creamy, earthy, and a perfect match for the bold flavors of elk.
  2. Grilled Asparagus: The slight char and crunch of asparagus are a delightful contrast to the tender elk.
  3. Cranberry Sauce: The sweet-tartness of cranberry sauce adds a zing that complements the smokiness.
  4. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic—need I say more?
  5. Red Wine: A good bottle of red wine, like a robust Cabernet Sauvignon, will elevate your meal to gourmet status.

Remember, the key is balance. You want your sides to enhance the elk, not overpower it. That’s the secret to a memorable meal.

elk backstrap recipe

Well, there you have it, my friends—a flavorful journey into the world of smoked elk backstrap. I hope you’ve enjoyed this wild ride, from seasoning to serving. Now, it’s time to fire up that smoker, gather your pals, and savor every bite of this delicious dish.

Remember, cooking is an adventure, and it’s all about having fun and indulging in the finer things in life. So, get out there, try new things, and always keep those taste buds guessing!

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining me on this culinary escapade. And as I always say, “Life’s too short to eat boring food!” So, go forth and conquer the kitchen, my friends! Happy smoking!

Smoked Elk Backstrap

Elevate your cooking game with an irresistible smoked elk backstrap recipe. Impress your guests with this delicious and unique dish.

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 4


  • 1 elk backstrap approximately 2 pounds (900g)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • Fruitwood chips apple or cherry for smoking
  • Cooking oil for seasoning


Prep Your Elk

  1. Begin by placing your elk backstrap on a clean cutting board. Check for any remaining silver skin or excess fat and trim it off using a sharp knife. You want that lean meat to shine.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper (if using). Mix them well to create your spice rub.
  3. Drizzle some cooking oil over the elk backstrap, spreading it evenly to ensure the spices adhere properly.
  4. Generously sprinkle the spice rub over the elk backstrap. Don't be shy! Rub it in with your hands, giving your backstrap a nice, flavorful massage. Make sure every inch is coated.

Fire Up the Smoker

  1. Fire up your smoker, aiming for a temperature of around 225°F (107°C). If you're using a charcoal smoker, light the charcoal and allow it to ash over. If you have an electric smoker, preheat it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. While your smoker is heating up, soak the fruitwood chips in water for about 30 minutes to create a nice, steady smoke.

Smokin' Time

  1. Once your smoker is at the right temperature and the wood chips are ready, it's time to get smokin'! Place the soaked wood chips onto the coals or in the designated tray for electric smokers.
  2. Carefully place your seasoned elk backstrap directly on the smoker grates. Close the smoker lid and let the magic happen!
  3. Maintain the smoker temperature at 225°F (107°C) throughout cooking. Adjust the vents or settings as needed to keep it steady.

Monitor and Baste

  1. During smoking, keep an eye on your elk backstrap's internal temperature. You're aiming for medium-rare, which is around 135-140°F (57-60°C). Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the backstrap to check.
  2. Baste the meat occasionally with any juices that accumulate on the smoker grates to keep it juicy and flavorful. Use a basting brush to apply the juices evenly.
  3. Depending on the size of your backstrap, smoking typically takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. However, always go by the internal temperature rather than the clock.

Rest and Slice

  1. Once your elk backstrap reaches the desired temperature, carefully remove it from the smoker and place it on a cutting board.
  2. Resist the temptation to slice into it right away! Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the backstrap, ensuring a juicy and flavorful bite.
  3. After the rest, slice the elk backstrap into thin, elegant medallions. Serve it up with your choice of side dishes, and prepare to be amazed!
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