Food Recipes

The Ultimate Guide to Smoking Elk Steak

This mouthwatering dish is a crowd-pleaser that will leave your taste buds begging for more. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about smoking elk steak, from selecting the right wood to achieving the perfect level of smoky flavor. So, grab your apron and let’s get started!

Why Smoke Elk Steak?

Smoking elk steak is a fantastic way to enhance the flavor of this delicious wild game meat. Whether you’re using backstrap or medallion pieces, the smoky aroma and tender texture will win over even the toughest critics. The low and slow cooking process infuses the meat with a rich, smoky flavor that complements the natural taste of the elk. Plus, it’s a great way to showcase your grilling skills and impress your friends and family.

Choosing the Right Wood for Smoking Elk

When it comes to smoking elk, choosing the right wood is crucial for achieving that perfect smoky flavor. Different types of wood impart different flavors, so it’s important to select the one that best complements the taste of elk. Here are a few wood options that work well with elk:

  1. Hickory: Hickory wood brings a robust, bacon-like flavor to the meat. It pairs beautifully with the rich, gamey taste of elk.
  2. Mesquite: Mesquite wood adds a bold, southwestern flavor to the elk. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a more intense smoky taste.
  3. Fruitwood: If you want to add a touch of sweetness to the elk, consider using fruitwood like apple or cherry. These woods provide a subtle, fruity aroma that balances well with the savory elk meat.

Ultimately, the choice of wood comes down to personal preference. Feel free to experiment with different combinations to find the flavor profile that suits your taste buds.

Preparing the Elk Steak for Smoking

Before you fire up the smoker, it’s important to properly prepare the elk steak. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your elk steak ready for smoking:

  1. Trim the Fat: Start by trimming any excess fat from the elk steak. While a little fat can add flavor, too much can result in a greasy texture.
  2. Season the Meat: Season the elk steak with your favorite rub or seasoning blend. You can go as simple or as bold as you like with the flavors. Just make sure to evenly coat the meat for maximum flavor.
  3. Let it Rest: Allow the seasoned elk steak to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will help the flavors penetrate the meat and ensure even cooking.

Getting the Smoker Ready

Now that your elk steak is seasoned and ready to go, it’s time to fire up the smoker. Follow these steps to prepare your smoker for the perfect smoke:

  1. Preheat the Smoker: Preheat your smoker to a temperature of 225°F (107°C). This low and slow cooking temperature will ensure that the elk steak cooks evenly and absorbs the smoky flavor.
  2. Add the Wood: Once the smoker has reached the desired temperature, add your chosen wood chips or chunks. This will create the smoke that will infuse the elk steak with flavor.
  3. Place the Elk Steak: Carefully place the seasoned elk steak on the smoker grates, making sure to leave enough space between each piece for even heat distribution.

The Art of Smoking Elk Steak

Smoking elk steak is a labor of love that requires patience and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve the perfect smoke:

  1. Monitor the Temperature: Keep a close eye on the temperature of the smoker. Ideally, you want to maintain a steady temperature of 225°F (107°C) throughout the cooking process. Fluctuations in temperature can affect the cooking time and result in unevenly cooked meat.
  2. Baste with Marinade: If desired, you can baste the elk steak with a marinade or glaze during the smoking process. This will add an extra layer of flavor and help keep the meat moist.
  3. Rotate the Steak: About halfway through the cooking time, rotate the elk steak to ensure even cooking on all sides. This will help prevent any hot spots in the smoker from causing uneven cooking.
  4. Check the Internal Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the elk steak. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 130°F (54°C). Remember to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat for an accurate reading.

How Long to Smoke Elk Steak

The smoking time for elk steak can vary depending on the thickness of the meat and the desired level of doneness. As a general guideline, you can expect the smoking process to take around 2.5 to 3 hours for medium-rare elk steak. However, it’s important to rely on the internal temperature rather than the cooking time alone. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the elk steak reaches your desired level of doneness.

The Reverse Sear Technique

For an extra burst of flavor and a beautiful crust, consider using the reverse sear technique when smoking elk steak. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Finish on High Heat: Once the elk steak has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and set it aside.
  2. Preheat a Grill or Cast Iron Skillet: Preheat your grill or cast iron skillet to high heat. You want to get it nice and hot for the searing process.
  3. Sear the Steak: Place the elk steak on the grill or skillet and sear it for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until you achieve a caramelized crust.
  4. Rest and Serve: Remove the elk steak from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a tender and flavorful steak.

Serving Suggestions

Now that your smoked elk steak is ready, it’s time to plate it up and enjoy! Here are a few serving suggestions to complement the rich flavors of the elk:

  1. Grilled Vegetables: Serve the smoked elk steak with a side of grilled vegetables, such as asparagus or zucchini, for a fresh and healthy accompaniment.
  2. Creamy Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are the perfect comfort food to pair with the smoky elk steak. The creamy texture and buttery flavor provide a delicious contrast to the meat.
  3. Red Wine: Pair your smoked elk steak with a robust red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. The bold flavors and tannins in the wine will complement the richness of the elk.


Smoking elk steak is a culinary adventure that will delight your taste buds and impress your guests. With the right wood, seasoning, and cooking techniques, you can achieve a perfectly smoky and tender piece of meat that will have everyone coming back for seconds. So, fire up the smoker, grab your elk steak, and get ready to enjoy a flavor-packed dining experience like no other.

Remember, smoking elk steak is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Embrace the process, experiment with different flavors, and have fun along the way. Happy smoking!

Leave a Comment