smoked venison tenderloin

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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.


  • 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


  1. Put the venison tenderloin, whole, into a zip-style bag or large bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. Pour the marinade over the venison and massage it in. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
  4. 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.
  5. Set and preheat your smoker to about 225 F degrees.
  6. 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!
  7. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and topping with extra cracked black pepper.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes + 4 hours- overnight
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
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