Smoked Venison Brisket

Video brisket on a deer

Venison brisket can be one of the toughest cuts on the deer. Learn how to prepare it so that it comes out tender and juicy every time!

Sliced deer brisket on wooden cutting board.
Sliced venison brisket on wooden cutting board

Smoking, like many other cooking technique, gets a bad rap. It is really a very forgiving way to cook. People tend to overcomplicate the process though. Keep reading and we’ll simplify it a bit.

You will just need some planning ahead of time to make sure it comes out perfect.

What is brisket?

The brisket of the deer is found on the chest (breast), above the front legs. It is a thinner cut of meat and has more connective tissue due to the fact that this muscle works harder than other muscles in the animal.

Most of the time it ends up in the grind pile for a lot of people. We have been saving them for years. When they are slow cooked. They are absolutely delicious. Tender and very flavorful.

Smoking low and slow is a perfect way to tenderize this meat. There is very little hands on time because the smoker does all of the work. The only thing you have to possess is patience. Don’t try to rush the process.

Beef or pork have fatty briskets and are a lot larger, so they take eons to smoke. Deer briskets will smoke in a fraction of that time. Because the deer is so lean, it doesn’t require the Texas crutch that beef requires, so it’s much easier.

Trimming the venison brisket

The first key step is to trim the brisket of all silver skin and any large pockets of fat that you can see.

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Season the brisket

Next make a delicious rub so that the brisket will take on a great flavor and texture. Make sure you cover it with enough rub.

Ingredients you need

  • brown sugar – dark brown or light brown sugar will both work
  • granulated garlic – you can substitute garlic powder but granulated has a better flavor.
  • onion powder –
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • cayenne pepper – or chili powder, chipotle powder is good too.
  • Dutch cocoa powder – optional but this adds a fun mole negro type flavor.Ingredients for rub. See details in recipe below.Pin
  • venison brisket
Venison brisket

How to make it

In a small bowl, mix ingredients for the rub. Generously season roast with kosher salt or sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Then season it generously with the rub.

If the rub doesn’t seem to be sticking well, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and then rub it into the meat with your hands.

Cut a large piece of plastic wrap and tightly wrap roast. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours to marinate.

The next day, remove it from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Set up and start your smoker heating to 225°F. Don’t go over this or it will cook too quickly. You could go down to 200°F but realize that it will take a bit longer.

Process for making leftover venison brisket. See details in recipe below.

Place the piece of meat on a rack in your smoker. spritz with a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts of olive oil or the oil of your choice in a clean, food safe spritzer. Close the lid or door and leave it but be careful tending the heat so it doesn’t get too hot.

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Pro tip: We often cook a beef brisket at the same time. If you do this, place the venison under the beef so that the fat from the beef drips on it.

Spray the meat a couple times with the vinegar and oil mixture. If your smoker is equipped with temperature probe, insert it into the thickest part of the meat.

Smoke the brisket for 2-4 hours, depending on the size. This brisket was 2¼ pounds and took about 3 hours. The time will vary according to several factors. How many times you open the door and lose heat, how accurate the thermometer is, how much the meat weighs and the particular cut you use.

Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. Stick a fork into the meat. Turn it a bit. The meat should be fork tender.

Different deer populations taste and cook differently, depending on diet, predators, and terrain. See our ultimate guide to cooking deer for more information.

What type of smoker to use

You can use a wood pellet grill or smoker, an electric smoker or a charcoal smoker to make this deer brisket.

Appetizer plate with brisket crostini.

How to warm leftovers

If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator.

  • Place slices or a whole chunk in a deep baking pan. Pour venison broth or chicken stock (beef is too overpowering for the mild venison flavor) in the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake at 325°F about 20 minutes for slices. About 40 hour for larger chunks.

You can also warm it in the slow cooker on low for a couple of hours with some stock, BBQ sauce or other liquid.

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What to serve with deer brisket

  • mashed potatoes
  • French fries
  • coleslaw
  • cornbread
  • fresh veggies, like corn on the cob
  • BBQ sauce
Appetizer plate with brisket crostini and cherry tomatoes and pickle slices.
Appetizer plate with brisket crostini.

What to do with leftovers

Leftovers will last for about 4 days refrigerated. For longer storage, vacuum pack and store in freezer for about 6 months.

Venison brisket makes some great dishes with the leftovers.

  • Great tacos, quesadillas and the best fajitas
  • Great appetizers. Try a toasted crostini topped with cheddar cheese, brisket and grilled onions, like the ones we did in the photo below.
  • Make classic mac & cheese with brisket.
  • Warm some sliced brisket and make sandwiches or subs with cheese, grilled onions and BBQ sauce.
  • Frittatas

More smoking recipes

  • Smoked Beef Brisket
  • Chipotle Peppers
  • Smoked Spare Ribs
  • Steelhead Trout
  • Smoked Pulled Pork – Finish with Slow Cooker
Appetizer plate with brisket crostini.

Tools to use

  • smoker
  • meat thermometer
  • chef’s knife

This venison brisket is a delicious addition to your venison recipe book. Next year don’t grind it. You’ll be happy you didn’t!

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>