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Whole elk roast on a cutting board, chimichurri sauce and tomatoes on table.
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Smoked Elk

If you love a good elk roast recipe, then you're going to love this smoked elk. Not only is it easy to make, but it's out of this world juicy and flavorful! Covered in a garlic herb butter and a savory and spicy dry rub, this is a must-try elk recipe you won’t soon forget.
Prep Time15 mins
4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 279kcal
Author: Amanda Mason


  • Smoker


For The Garlic Herb Compound Butter

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 springs fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse ground pepper

For The Elk

  • 3-4 lb elk roast
  • ½ Tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ½ Tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


To Make The Garlic Herb Compound Butter

  • In a medium bowl, combine the butter, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper using either either a wire whisk or electric mixer.
  • Set the butter mixture set aside.

To Smoke The Elk Roast

  • In a medium bowl, combine the black pepper, rosemary, ground mustard, salt, garlic powder, dill, paprika, coriander, and red pepper flakes.
  • Using your hands, generously apply the compound butter directly to the roast, ensuring all sides are covered. Expert Tip: It can be challenging to evenly and smoothly apply the compound butter onto the meat. Instead of using your hands, try using a basting brush for the application.
  • As evenly as possible, sprinkle the dry rub mixture onto the entire roast, ensuring all sides and crevices are covered.
  • Prepare the smoker and preheat until the internal temperature reaches 225°F.
  • Put the elk roast on the smoker racks and insert a digital thermometer.
  • When the internal temperature reaches 130°F, remove the roast from the smoker and let it rest for 5-7 minutes before serving. Expert Tip: For medium-rare, I recommend pulling the meat from the smoker when it reaches 130°F. During the resting period, the meat will continue to cook up about 3-5 degrees in temperature.


  • If you hunt your own elk in the wild, it's best to smoke the meat to medium-well to well done (160°F-165°F). I don't recommend consuming freshly hunted wild elk cooked under medium-well. Ranch raised elk are vaccinated, similar to cattle and I feel comfortable eat medium-rare ranch elk, but not one that was wild and killed on a hunt. 
  • As I mentioned earlier, it can be challenging to evenly and smoothly apply the compound butter onto the meat. Instead of using your hands, try using a basting brush for a smoother application.
  • Hickory wood pairs amazingly well when smoking elk. It adds a subtle bacon flavor.
  • Elk tends to cook faster than other meats due to the lower fat content, so ensure you insert a digital meat thermometer when you place the meat on the smoker. This also eliminates you needing to open the lid on the smoker. You don't want the smoke to escape.


Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 1096mg | Potassium: 655mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 522IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 4mg