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Unread 09-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
HogFan
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Default Smoking a Venison Shoulder

A couple of days ago I moved a front deer from the freezer to fridge to thaw. It's a small shoulder from 7 month old deer my daughter shot last fall.

I'm thinking about smoking this shoulder but I've never done this before. Any tips for smoking this small shoulder? What pit temp? (I'm thinking low and slow but what do I know?), at what meat temp should I pull it?, and any suggestions on what to use for a rub and/injection?

Thanks!
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Unread 09-08-2012, 10:53 AM   #2
Juggy D Beerman
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Sorry to rain on your BBQ fire, but the best tip I can give you is don't do it. Don't cook the shoulder whole that is. There is not much meat at all on the shoulder of a deer that small. Not only that, there are a lot of muscles that run every direction on the front quarter too. This makes getting a good slice of meat hard to do. Out of all those muscle groups, there are maybe three individual muscles that might make a roast the same size as a very small pork tenderloin.

So here is what I do with the deer shoulders I harvest. Once the shoulder has thawed, I try to refreeze it so that the meat is easier to work with. Cut each muscle out seperately. Once the muscles have been cut, refreeze the meat so that you can remove as much of the silver skin as you can. When I use the term, "refreeze", I mean get the exterior of the meat extremely cold, but not to a point of being froze solid.

Now you have two options on what to do with the meat. You can either slice it for jerky, or you can grind it with some pork butt and/or brisket trimmings for burger. Bacon ends work good in the mix too. I go with a mix of 60% venison to 40% pork/beef.

Lager,

Juggy
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Unread 09-08-2012, 11:33 AM   #3
Grain Belt
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I respectfully disagree with Juggy. I have smoked many small venison shoulders. I feel there are two or more viable options. I do agree that ground venison mixed with beef or pork can be excellent but I think the roasts certainly have their place too.

Option one: Leave the bone in and trim all the visible surface membranes, fat, silverskin etc. Season with a light rub and smoke fairly hot and fast until an instant read therm. hits 125-135. The window will be small and short but close to the bone you will have rarer meat and it will be more done towards the outside.

Variations: You could cut out the bone and tie like some do with lamb. You could baste during the cook with herbed oil, melted seasoned butter or lay on bacon strips.

Option two: Smoke the meat fairly hot and fast until you get a reading of 150 internal. Then double foil with a fair amount of seasoned beef broth. Put back on the heat until meat reaches 200 degrees. Let rest, still wrapped in foil in cooler with towels for 1 hour. Pull the meat into shreds and add additional warm broth back to the meat until it is has your desired level of moisture.

Variations: Again you can bone out the meat. Also you could use a dark beer or red wine for moisture instead of broth in the foiling process.

As far as rubs go, I keep it fairly simple with a light coating of Season-All with additional fresh pepper and garlic powder added.

If you feel like injecting, a good beef broth with additional pepper and garlic can be good. I have also done some seasoned peanut oil , garlic powder/ pepper seasoned melted butter, red wine, and dark beer. All have been good, but if I had to pick one it would be seasoned beef broth.

As far as pit temp goes, I probably run around 300-325. I like to get the venison up to my desired internal temp in a reasonable amount of time without turning the outside into shoe leather. I also get the meat into a moist environment sooner and the higher temp helps braise the meat if I am using the foil method. As far as wood, I have enjoyed pecan, hickory, white oak, and cherry with my venison roasts.


My family and friends have enjoyed both methods and variations.

Also kudos to you for hunting with your family and trying your best to utilize the game you harvested.
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Unread 09-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #4
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The foil method running higher temps sounds interesting. Thanks for those suggestions!

Do you use bought beef broth and season it yourself?
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Unread 09-08-2012, 03:50 PM   #5
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I do it the way you are leaning. Add soy sauce. That's the way the goat wranglers in Kansas do it.
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Unread 09-08-2012, 06:55 PM   #6
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"Do you use bought beef broth and season it yourself?"

I have used broth I have purchased and made up. Just depends what I have on hand. I like to then season it with garlic powder and fresh ground pepper and sometimes herbs if I'm in the mood.
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Unread 09-08-2012, 10:34 PM   #7
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Deer shoulders make good bbq. Just pretend that it's a pork butt. Foil is your friend. Pull it and put your favorite sauce on it-good eating.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 08:02 PM   #8
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Hash Father, add soy sauce to the marinade or the injection?

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I'll smoke it tomorrow night.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 08:03 PM   #9
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Hawg Father......spell check got me!
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Unread 09-11-2012, 10:38 AM   #10
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I won't argue with anything Grain Belt has advised, but I will say this. The yearling deer where I live don't have but five pounds of salvageable meat at most on the shoulders. That is why suggested cutting out the individual muscles.
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