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posted December 21, 2020

Smoked Venison Steak with Smoked Cherry Sage Butter

This Smoked Venison Steak is the best way to smoke some wild game. 

Sliced smoked venison steak topped with cherry sage butter. Text overlay reads: Smoked Venison Steak with Cherry Sage Butter.

Smoked Venison

I didn’t grow up eating or preparing venison, in fact, I still remember the first time my brother served me a steak from a deer he had hunted and I actually cried at the dinner table. It used to be out of my wheelhouse, but as I’ve grown, I’ve come to truly appreciate the amazing effort and unique flavors that you can only get from wild venison.

Now, I can’t wait to get beautifully wrapped packages of frozen venison from my father-in-law, and next season I’m actually going to go out and hunt my own! This recipe is for all you hunters who are looking for a great way to smoke your venison!

Smoked Venison Steak

As an added layer of deliciousness, the venison steak is topped with a smoked butter infused with garlic, sage, and dried cherries. The whole dish put together is like eating a fresh bite of the crisp fall mountains. The earthy venison, savory garlic, bright herbs, rich butter, and a little kiss of sweetness from the cherries come together beautifully


Just unbeatable.

My husband said, without any prompting, that this venison was one of the best things he has ever put in his mouth. I sincerely hope you feel the same way. Drop a comment below and let me know your favorite ways to grill venison! I’m always looking to expand my skills!

Venison Steak in a frying pan.

How to Smoke Venison Steak

We are going to start out with a fairly simple venison recipe that is packed with flavor and good technique so you end up with an amazing result whether it’s your first time grilling venison or your thousandth. Venison is perfect for using the reverse sear method (I describe it in more detail using beef steaks on THIS post if you want even more info).

  1. Smoke the venison. For the first step, we slowly raise the internal temperature of the steak on the Woodwind smoker at 225 degrees F. This keeps the inside of the steak juicy and moist while infusing it with delicious smoky flavor.
  2. Sear the steak. Once the steaks are within 10 degrees of our target finished temperature (so 125 degrees F if we want to finish with a medium rare steak) we transfer them over to the preheated Camp Chef sear box and give the exterior a nice crust. I am using a venison rump steak, but the same process works with a different steak cut or even a backstrap. Get a good thermometer and cook to the internal temperatures as written in the recipe instead of a set time and you’ll be good to go!

Venison on grill grates.

Best Wood to Smoke Venison

There are many great wood options when smoking venison. Many folks prefer oak, mesquite, or hickory to give it a strong, robust flavor. If you want something a bit lighter, fruit wood is a good choice.

For this particular recipe, I recommend using cherry as it goes great with the smoked cherry sage butter. If you aren’t a fan of cherry wood (or don’t have any on hand), other mild woods like apple, alder, or pecan would work great as well.

Tips for Smoking Venison Meat

Hold your horses…uh…deer! Check out a few of my tips for smoking venison before you dive in to the recipe!

  • Choose a tender cut of deer meat. Most venison steaks are cut from the backstrap. It is the most tender part of the deer and definitely the most tender.
  • Don’t be scared of butter. Venison is notoriously lean. A little bit of butter really helps add moisture and flavor.
  • Use the reverse sear. This method of slow smoking and searing is great for lean cuts of venison. The slow smoke seals in flavor and keeps the meat juicy.

Sliced venison on a wood cutting board drizzled with garnish.

Smoked Venison Steak Recipe

grilled venison steak

Smoked Venison Steak with Smoked Cherry Sage Butter

This smoked venison steak is topped with a smoked butter infused with garlic, sage, and dried cherries. The whole dish put together is like eating a fresh bite of the crisp fall mountains.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 1 hr
Resting Time : 10 mins
Total Time : 1 hr 20 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 222kcal


  • 4 8 oz venison steaks (I used rump steaks)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Smoked Cherry Sage Butter

  • 8 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh sage (minced)
  • cup dried cherries (chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • Preheat the smoker. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • In a heat-proof shallow pan, place the butter, garlic, sage, dried cherries, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • Season the steaks on all sides with the salt and pepper. Place the steaks and the pan with the cherry sage butter on the grates, close the lid, and smoke for about 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on the thickness of your steaks. The goal is to smoke your steaks to about 125 degrees F internal temperature if you want to end with a medium rare steak.
  • When your steaks hit 125 degrees F, remove them from your grill and preheat your sear box (or a cast iron skillet) to high heat (at least 500 degrees F). Dip the steaks in the butter mixture. Don't get any pieces of garlic or cherries, just a thin coating of the smoked butter.
  • Place the steaks on the grill grates and sear for 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Top each steak with a spoonful of the warm smoked cherry sage butter and enjoy!


Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 202mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 834IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
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**This post was originally published in September 2017. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Grilled Venison Steaks with Smoked Cherry Sage Butter


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