How to Cook Deer: Bone-In Smoked Venison Leg

I had a really short deer season this year.

I spent almost all of 2015 deployed to the Middle East. I got back home right before Christmas and was able to go hunting the following week. This year Ohio had a short two day shotgun season between Christmas and New Year’s. I saw a nice buck that morning but was unable to get a shot. But during lunch my cousins five year old looked out the window and started almost yelling “There’s a deer, there’s a deer.” Sure enough there was a small doe feeding behind out hunting cabin. I grabbed my shot gun, walked out on the porch, and put a slug it right behind its shoulder. It ran 30 yards. Since it was right outside the house my son and cousins daughter got to do their first tracking job. They followed the blood and almost stepped on the deer before the found it.

Turns out it was a really small deer, but that is not a bad thing. Not only did I have some meat for the freezer, but I had a small hind quarter just the right size to smoke. I have always wanted to smoke a whole bone in deer leg, but I have always been intimidated by trying such a large piece of meat. In preparation I smoked a couple of smaller roasts with great results and felt pretty confident I could pull this off.

I’m a let the meat speak for itself type of guy. I just added mustard to make it sticky, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I have a charcoal smoker so exact temperatures are a little difficult to achieve, but I kept it between 220 and 240. Smoked to Rare 115 degrees then put in hot oven 450-500 degrees and reverse sear for 10 minutes. Pull it out wrap in foil and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

It turned out amazing. I can honestly say it was the best deer roast I ever had. I am not sure about the science behind it, but the smoke seemed to seal in all the juices. I did not see very much in the way of drippings in my water pan. After letting it rest it was still really juicy and tender. I highly recommend this preparation. You will not be sorry.