Smoked Venison Backstraps Wrapped In Bacon {Pecan Wood No Brining

Smoked Venison Backstraps Wrapped In Bacon {Pecan Wood No Brining

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We are excited to share this venison recipe with all of our fellow hunters out there. Even more exciting is just how good these smoked venison backstraps are! From the woods to the table, these smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a flavorful lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.

It’s deer hunting season here in Virginia, which means David is in full hunt mode; it is practically all he can talk about. I have been after him for about bringing some wild game recipes to the blog for a while now. I’ve actually had a couple of readers suggest it. Unfortunately, last year wasn’t a good year. David didn’t even fire his shotgun. He had purchased the shotgun a couple of years ago and wasn’t even sure about how accurate it was firing or if he even wanted to keep the thing. He had mentioned that he was thinking about trading it in for another one he had his eye on. Well, I would say that the gun does a fine job considering he shot and killed two deer on the first day of hunting season, wouldn’t you? So all that talk about hunting this year comes with good reason. My whitetail deer hunter brought dinner for us and many others!

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

David always asks me to go hunting with him, but I’m not cut out for hunting. It’s not that I care about killing Bambi. Bambi’s cousin pissed me off years ago when he ran out in front of my Jeep. No really, I am not cut out for hunting because I’m not good at it and never have been. My daddy was a great hunter. They even gave him “Buckman” as his CB handle. When I was little he took me hunting one fall evening. I can remember riding with him down a long dirt path to a cut over near our house just before dark. We got out of the truck and walked over to a pile of logs that had been cleared by the loggers. We climbed up a few of the logs and used them as a bench to sit. We were supposed to be still hunting. You have to be very still when you are “still hunting”. I know this because my daddy kept telling me to “Be still!” and “Be quiet!”. That’s all I remember about that experience because I didn’t like “still hunting” very much. I never went still hunting with him anymore. I’m pretty sure it was a mutual decision.

Anyway, David cleaned up a few backstraps for us to experiment with on the grill. We were so pleased with how these backstraps turned out and have been eager to share our recipe here on the blog. Up until now, the only backstraps we have ever eaten were battered and fried with gravy, (just like everything was when we were growing up) and there is NOTHING wrong with deer meat and gravy, but these smoked venison backstraps wrapped in bacon are quite different from any deer meat we have ever eaten before, and it is absolutely amazing. They are seasoned with steak seasoning, wrapped in bacon, then smoked and basted in barbecue sauce. I mean the meat was wrapped in bacon…. need I say more?

Here’s how we smoked these incredible venison backstraps:

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

Smoked Venison Backstraps Wrapped in Bacon | Servings: 6-8 | Time: 105 Minutes

Recipe adapted from HowToBBQRight.com

What’s Needed:

The Cut: What is a backstrap?

Like the most wild game, venison is a lean meat that is high in protein with very little fat. If you are not familiar with venison, the backstrap is cut from the top of the deer from each side of the spine. This cut of meat is very similar to the loin section of beef or pork. Backstraps are not to be confused with tenderloins. Venison tenderloins are found on the inside of the deer’s abdominal cavity.

Trim The Meat and Forget the Brine or Marinade, Just Season

You may have heard or tasted meat that is referred to as “gamey”. Many recommend brining venison to help tenderize it and eliminate some of the “gamey” taste without sacrificing flavor. It is also believed that since venison is so lean, brining preserves the natural juices of the meat. Backstraps are naturally tender, so you really don’t have to marinate or brine them, so David opted not to brine them, but he definitely took some extra time to remove the silver skin and sinew. The silver skin and sinew actually are where a lot of the gamey flavor comes from. Properly trimmed venison should never have a “wild taste”, so always trim the meat. You may still choose to brine or marinate, and that is perfectly fine.

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

Trim the backstraps removing as much of the silver skin and sinew as possible. Rinse the backstraps under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. For our experiment, we sprinkled the steak seasoning directly one of the backstraps and for the second we wrapped it in bacon and sprinkled the steak seasoning onto the bacon. We could not tell a difference between the two, both were nicely seasoned, so however you wish to apply the seasoning will work, just don’t add too much. A nice light coating works best. Once the meat has been seasoned and the bacon is wrapped around the backstraps, the meat is ready for the smoker.

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

Pecan Wood Smoke

We chose pecan wood to smoke the backstraps because of its subtle smoke flavor. Pecan wood is sweet and mild similar to hickory, but not as strong. Pecan falls in the middle part of the spectrum of the smoking woods. If you cannot find pecan, you could use hickory, maple, or oak instead. These types of wood are strong enough to stand up to game meats.

For this process, David used large chunks of pecan cut from his cousin’s tree. He opted not to soak the wood in water for a more gentle smoke.

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

Fire up the Grill or Smoker

The backstraps do not require long hours of smoke, so David opted to use his Weber Performer grill to smoke the backstraps. It is a kettle-type grill, so he set up the grill for indirect heat. You can use any smoker or grill just set it up for indirect cooking.

Preheat the grill to 275 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

Smoke the Backstraps

When the coals are ready to cook, place the backstraps on the hot grate on the cool side of the opposite side of the coals, toss a large chunk of the pecan wood onto the coals and cover the grill.

Bring the temperature back up to 275 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so if your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, purchase a digital thermometer. The backstraps are delicate, you don’t want to over-smoke them. Smoke the backstraps with smoke for no more than 45 minutes, allowing them to cook 1 to 1 ½ hours. It is important to use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature as it climbs.

Check the temperature of the smoker also, check every 30 minutes or so to keep the temperature between 250 and 300 degrees F. Make adjustments with the vents and add more coals as necessary.

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

Sauce the Backstraps

About three-quarters of the way through, when the backstraps reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees, brush on some barbecue sauce and continue cooking until the internal reaches 130 to 150 degrees F.

I have a confession to make here… As you may know, I’m not usually a barbecue sauce slinging kind of girl (I know… I’m “special“). I wasn’t sure about the barbecue sauce being basted on during the smoke. I made up a batch of our classic barbecue sauce but David left one of the backstraps plain for me, just in case it was too sweet for my liking.

I cannot believe I am saying this, but the barbecue sauce sent these smoked venison backstraps over the top, so sauce these bad boys up!

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

Test for Doneness

When you spend hours in the field to harvest that buck, and in David’s case, spend miles on the highway for the opportunity to hunt, you want to make prepare the meat the best it can be on the table. Tender cuts of venison are best prepared from rare to a medium-rare level of doneness. If it is prepared past medium-rare too much moisture will be cooked out causing the meat to become dry and tough.

David pulled the backstraps off the grill at the lower end of the range. The meat was a little rare for our taste, so we recommend cooking it until it is at the higher end at about 150 degrees.

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com
From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

Rest, Carve and Enjoy the Smoked Venison Backstraps

When the meat reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker. Allow the backstraps to rest at least 10 to 20 minutes before cutting. The bacon should be browned and fully cooked the outside and the inside of the meat should be somewhat firm to touch and pink. Add extra sauce if desired!

From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com
From the woods to the table, smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.  | TheMountainKitchen.com

The look on his face says it all!

I have created a new category of recipes called “Wild Game Recipes here on the blog. This smoked venison backstraps recipe is the very first wild game recipe to be added to this group and we are hoping to add more.

We hope you enjoy some smoked venison backstraps this season. If you try this recipe, please let us know what you think. I’m pretty sure that it will be the best piece of deer meat you’ve ever put in your mouth.

Good luck to all you hunters out there. Be safe!

Smoked Venison Backstraps Wrapped In Bacon

Smoked Venison Backstraps Wrapped in Bacon

From the woods to the table, these smoked venison backstraps are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a flavorful lick of hardwood smoke, smoky bacon, and barbecue sauce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword backstraps, bacon, smoked venison, venison
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 358kcal

Ingredients

What’s Needed:

  • 2 1 ½ to 2-pound venison backstraps
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 to 2 pounds thinly sliced bacon
  • Charcoal Grill or Water Smoker
  • Large Pecan Wood Chunks
  • Charcoal
  • Charcoal Chimney
  • Water
  • Tongs
  • Instant Read Meat Thermometer
  • Classic BBQ Sauce or BBQ Sauce of your choice + extra for serving
  • Grilling brush

Instructions

  • Trim the backstraps removing as much of the silver skin and sinew as possible. Rinse the backstraps under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the steak seasoning directly on the backstraps being sure not to add too much. A nice light coating works best. Once the meat has been seasoned and the bacon is wrapped around the backstraps, the meat is ready for the smoker.
  • Set the smoker or grill for indirect cooking. Preheat the grill to 275 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)
  • When the coals are ready to cook, place the backstraps on the hot grate on the cool side of the opposite side of the coals, toss a large chunk of the pecan wood onto the coals and cover the grill.
  • Bring the temperature back up to 275 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature. Allow the meat to cook 1 to 1 ½ hours, but smoke the backstraps with smoke for no more than 45 minutes. 
  • Monitor the temperature of the meat, but also check the temperature of the smoker. Check every 30 minutes or so to keep the temperature between 250 and 300 degrees F. Make adjustments with the vents and add more coals as necessary.
  • When the backstraps reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees, brush on some barbecue sauce and continue cooking until the internal reaches 130 to 150 degrees F.
  • When the meat reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker. Allow the backstraps to rest at least 10 to 20 minutes before cutting. The bacon should be browned and fully cooked the outside and the inside of the meat should be somewhat firm to touch and pink.

Notes

Recipe adapted from HowToBBQRight.com

Nutrition

Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 563mg | Potassium: 175mg | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 0.7mg
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Hi, my name is Debbie, Author and Photographer at The Mountain Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious homemade recipes using clean food ingredients, and stories about mountain life.
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8 thoughts on “Smoked Venison Backstraps Wrapped In Bacon {Pecan Wood No Brining”

  • Debbie and David,

    Thanks for the wonderful inspirational idea you gave to us with this recipe. My son harvested his first pronghorn antelope last fall. Many times antelope meat can be very strong in flavor and hard to eat. We cooked one of the back straps on the bbq before investing in a smoker. It was a bit challenging to eat because of the strong game taste. So we tried this idea for our antelope that you used with your deer. I made a few adaptations. We like our meat well done so I injected the antelope back strap with a water, salt, garlic, and onion mixture and then smoked it to a well done internal temperature. It was amazing. Possibly one of the best meats I’ve ever eaten. We served it to other guests that were more then apprehensive to try antelope meat and they fell in love with it. It was so juicy and tender. We loved the bacon rapped around it and the final added bbq sauce was a perfect touch. Amazing dinner we enjoyed, thanks for sharing this delicious idea.

    • Hi Chad! Thanks so much for your feedback on this recipe. Antelope sounds quite intimidating. I’m so glad we could inspire you to come up with a recipe that worked so well with the meat. The injection sounds like it may have really done the trick, but of course, bacon never hurts anything it touches…lol! Awesome!

  • Made it the past weekend and everyone loved it. Didnt have pecan wood so used Apple wood. No left overs

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