How long to smoke deer roasts

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Hi everyone. I just got a Big Chief smoker. My dad used to have one when I was growing up and did all our roasts in it. I have 2 deer roasts weighing 350g each (0.7lbs) that I want to do up. How long should I leave them in? My dad used to leave ours in pretty much all day, though not smoking the whole time. Can I cook the roasts completely in the smoker or do I need to take them out and finish them in a crock pot or oven?
The size and the fact that there are two of the same size makes me think they're maybe tenderloins? If so, I would cook them to an internal temp of no more than 135˚. If they're from the leg or shoulder, I'd cook them low and slow, to an internal temp of around 165˚ then wrap in foil and into the oven or finish in the crock pot to an internal temp of 195˚ or until you're able to stick a toothpick or knife tip in with little to no resistance. 

Welcome aboard and please provide a little more info in what you've got and also where you are.


Time is all relative when it comes to smoking. the temp of the smoker, the amount of smoke you want and what type of meat all play into the equation. That's why I recommended internal temps instead of times.
Last edited:
Both Big & Little Chief smokers don't get hot enough to completely cook meat. They are good for cured jerky and fish only. You can smoke flavor your roasts for a pan or two of chips, but then you must move to the oven or crock etc. to finish cooking.
Please do some reading before you try this in your big cheif. I have one and it only gets to 135 degrees on a good day. You might think along the lines of partially cooking in the smoker and finishing inderect on a barbeque or in the house. If that is tenderloin you certainly wouldn't want to cook it much. Whitetail? Muley? slice into medalions and saute in butter with onions and bacon...haha I dearly love venison tenderloin. If it happens to be front leg meat or any weight bearing muscle you could search for venison barbacoa in the search bar at the top of the page here. There is an art to making due with a big cheif. I usually only use mine for jerky and fish these days. Just too hard to get it right with no temperature control.
By the way welcome to the forum. It would help to answer your question if we had an idea where you are located, elevation, weather, what equipment you have and experience. Stop by roll call and introduce yourself. Great and helpful bunch of folks on here that are always willing to give great meat saving advice. Happy smoking.
Thanks - the roasts were given to me and not labeled but they do look like tenderloins to me. They are Queen Charlotte Island deer, very small, the live weight on these deer is about 150lbs.

I'll check the temps on them throughout the day. I'm thinking because they are so small  they won't take too long, I don't want to over-do them. Most of all the recipes I am finding online are for 3-4lb roasts.

If I like the meat my neighbor gave me - a couple roasts, burger and stew - I want to head over to the island and shoot a few of them myself.
Thanks everyone - I can easily throw them in the crock for a couple hours this afternoon. I mostly bought the Big Chief just for doing jerkies and fish anyway, just thought it would be fun to smoke the roasts. I raise quail as a hobby and wanted to try jerking them and making smoked eggs - I threw some eggs in yesterday but after 2 hours they were only soft-boiled so I can't imagine that it gets very hot. Had to finish the eggs in the oven. Quail eggs are a pain the behind to peel and someone told me smoking them raw in the shell makes them way easier to peel - nd it does, a bit. Still in the experimenting stages. I will stop by the roll-call and introduce myself :)
I wouldn't take them much past 130 farenheit that is for sure. I bet those babys are delicious. I just checked out where that is. Awesome. Is it too late to wrap in bacon? could provide some moisture and help to keep them from getting overdone. I would bet it is pretty darn cold where you are. I built a doghouse for my cheif and sometimes even throw a blanket over that to get the temp up in the winter.
The Chief smokers are very good for fish & jerky but you will find on even a breezy day you had better have a bunch of free time. You will do well to buy an insulation blanket or make one.
Yes I was thinking about the jacket. Actually because I am right on the ocean it hardly ever gets cold here. We haven't had any snow since November. Temperatures usually hover around 40-50 F in the winter with the odd cold spell. I will probably bring the roasts in after a couple hours and finish them in the crock so I can keep a close eye on them. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts