So, wasn't sure where to start, but this looks like as good a place as any. . . . Tonight I got to really try my smoker out for the first time. I don't think it turned out exactly how I wanted, but not bad all the same. I would love to hear tips, suggestions, ideas of how I might do it better next time. But following are the basics and hopefully pics (if I can figure that out) of my smoke.
Smoker: Smoke Hollow 2-door 38" Propane Gas smoker
Meat: 3-ish lb wild elk roast (got him this last November near Silver Lake, WA)
Preparation: Olive oil, dry rub (from New Seasons, not my own, salty and spicy of some sort), and bacon.
Smoke: Apple & Cherry wood chunks (thought I would try mixing them. First time I've used either)
Smoker Temp: 275-300
Target Internal Meat Temp: 165
Total Cook Time: 2 hours
We had thawed the elk roast out for a party we were having this last Saturday, but ended up not needing it (which was good, it hadn't thawed yet). So, we decided to try smoking it. My wife picked up the rub from New Seasons, and we though we would give it a try.
When it came time to start prepping the meat, I had turned the smoker on, had water in the water pan, a mixture of chips in the chip pan, and came in to prep the meat. My wife has a super sensitive nose and decided she wasn't sure about the smell of the meat (we think this might just be because the elk roast, we have been told, tends to be a little more "wild" than the rest of the elk, as well as it was in an elastic netting too). I was left to oil and rub down my beautiful chunk of elk, and then drape it with four large, thick strips of bacon. The final product, ready for the smoker looked like:
It then went into the smoker for a couple of hours. All I knew was that I wanted the internal temperature to be at least 165 as suggested by the USDA for wild game, especially elk in the Washington area to kill all growies. But, just for those who want to see it in the works:
After about 2 hours, the internal temperature reached 160 and I pulled it out, covered it with foil and ended up putting it back in to reach the 165 for my wife's peace of mind. It reached 167 and I pulled it out and put it in our oven (cool oven, not turned on at all, just keeps it away from our two 70 lbs dogs) to rest and carry over cook. When we did pull the meat out and start cutting into it, my wife was concerned that it still looked really raw. The internal temperature had read 167, so it SHOULD have been save, but she was still concerned.
At first, I was not concerned about it, but with my wife calling everyone she could think of to check and get their opinion on whether the meat was undercooked or not, and since i was going to be feeding it to our 3.5 year old daughter as well, I was a little concerned as well. So, I ended up decided to finish the roast by cutting it into about 1" thick slabs and searing the slabs off in a hot cast-iron pan. The end result:
It was tasty, probably a little chewier than it needed to be, but definitely nice and juicy. There was a nice red smoke ring evident on the roast, and still about a nice medium rare inside and very tasty (to me at least). After all the concern about the temperature, my wife realized she disliked the rub. My daughter, on the other hand, snorted down her portion of elk. . . . I now have about two and a half pounds of smoked, seared elk that no one else wants to eat. . . . I guess it's still a win in the end!
So, any suggestions on better ways to smoke an elk? I have backstrap, sirloin tip steak, and a couple more roasts and would REALLY like some assistance and guidance on how to more properly cook these. If there is anyone in the southern Washington area who would like a padawan smoker, I could sure use a Jedi to train me in the ways of the smoker force. Thanks all, and I look forward to constructive comments. ;-)