This Smoked Venison Tenderloin is marinated in a fresh, citrus marinade before spending time in the smoker. It’s tender, flavorful, smokey and juicy and totally easy to do.
We all know that tenderloin is like thaaa best cut of any meat. It’s right up there with backstrap/loin on a deer. It’s totally cherished in our household, and you don’t get much of it, so this year I decided I wanted to smoke some of ours this year for something really special. My husband J was blessed enough to harvest an Ohio buck this year, so the recipes have been coming at your guys like crazy! For more of my favorites, go buy my cookbook!
Yes, you heard that right, I wrote a cookbook, and it’s actually called Venison Every Day because I dedicated the entire book to making easy, simple ingredients for home cooks (like me) to make every day, all year round.
If you’re sick of the same old recipes, the unhealthy and dated stuff you find on Pinterest, or you feel like you don’t like venison…you need this book. It’s everything I wish I had 5 years ago!
The marinade here is what makes this so good, it’s a lot like my All-Purpose Marinade. It’s really citrus-forward, which is great for venison because it’s such a rich, gamey meat. I like to let this marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. The longer you leave it, obviously, the more flavorful it will be.
Adding plenty of acid to my venison marinades is one of the best tips I can give! Seriously, it will change the way you cook. If you want more cooking tips, check out this post.
What kind of smoker can you use
I use a wood pellet smoker by Traeger Grills and I LOVE it! They were kind enough to send me a grill this fall and we’ve been having so much fun playing around with it. I recently made this Smoked Venison Brisket with a spicy rub and it’s also amazing to make on the Traeger.
Love smoked venison? Check out my Venison Brisket with Spicy Coffee Rub!Print
Smoked Venison Tenderloin
This Smoked Venison Tenderloin is marinated in a fresh, citrus marinade before spending time in the smoker. It’s tender, flavorful, smokey and juicy and totally easy to do. I make this in my Traeger Wood Pellet Smoker, but you could do this in any smoker.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes + 4 hours- overnight
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Total Time: 53 minute
- Yield: 4 1x
- 1 lb. venison tenderloin or backstrap
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper, plus more for serving
- Put the venison tenderloin, whole, into a zip-style bag or large bowl.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper into a blender or small food processor. Process until it’s all incorporated and the garlic is broken to small pieces.
- Pour the marinade over the venison and massage it in. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook, remove the venison from the marinade, and rinse it off. Pat dry and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking while you preheat the smoker.
- Set and preheat your smoker to about 225 F degrees.
- Smoke the tenderloin for 1+1/2-2 hours, depending on the thickness of your meat. The internal temperature should be at 130 F for rare, and 140 F for medium rare. Don’t cook it to medium, you want it nice and juicy!
- Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and topping with extra cracked black pepper.
- Serving Size: 4 oz.
- Calories: 300
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 646 mg
- Fat: 17 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 11 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 3 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 33 g
- Cholesterol: 75 mg
This recipe was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2022.