Recipe: Montreal Smoked Elk Meat

posted on June 7, 2024
Fenson Montreal Smoked Elk (11)

If you have ever tried Montreal smoked meat, you know it is full of flavor with a smoky and aromatic background. It is similar to pastrami but more moist when finished. Like most smoked meats, a brine infuses flavors and cures the meat. A dry brine is used to cure the meat. Montreal smoked meat takes things further by steaming it instead of finishing it with smoke and heat. The result is a tender, juicy sliced sandwich meat.

Meat on sandwich

Montreal smoked meat is traditionally made with beef brisket. However, the brisket of a larger ungulate like elk, moose or bison, works great. However, any venison will work and the smaller round roasts will cure and finish perfectly.

Set up a camp stove outdoors to steam the meat and prevent excessive odors in the house. Wild game briskets are not as big or thick as those from beef. If you feel creative, use a pressure cooker with a rack to steam and cook the meat to finish.

Meat being smoked


6-7 pounds of elk brisket or round roasts

The Cure

  • 4 oz. of black peppercorns, cracked
  • 2 oz. of coriander seed, cracked
  • 2 oz. of white sugar
  • ½ cup of kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp of whole cloves
  • 5 dried bay leaves crumbled
  • 1 ½ tsp of pink salt - Prague powder number 1

Seasoning on meat

The Rub

  • 2 oz. of brandy
  • 3 oz. of black peppercorn, cracked
  • 2 oz. of coriander seed, cracked

Sliced Smoked Meat


1. Trim the brisket or roasts, removing large pieces of fat and connective tissue.

2. Combine the cure ingredients and rub them evenly into the pieces of meat. Cover the ends and into any flaps or seams in the meat.

3. Place the meat in a sealable plastic bag and push the air out. A vacuum or chamber sealer works great. Place the bags on a large baking sheet and refrigerate. Turn the meat over every second day for 8 to 10 days.

4. When curing is complete, remove the meat from the bags and rinse well under cold water. Place the meat in a meat tub and cover it with cold water, allowing it to sit for 30 minutes. Repeat the cold-water soak five or six times to ensure the final product is not too salty.

5. Remove the meat from the water, pat dry with a paper towel, and place it on a rack set on a baking sheet. Place the meat in the refrigerator overnight to allow it to air dry.

Meat on smoker rack

6. Place the meat in a smoker set to 250°F and monitor the internal temperature until it reaches 155-165°F. It will take about four hours or more, depending on the thickness of the meat.

7. Remove the meat from the smoker and allow it to cool before refrigerating overnight.

8. Use a steamer or roasting pan with a raised wire rack on a stovetop or outside burner. Add 2 to 3 cups of water so that it is just below the level of the rack. Place over medium-high heat and steam the meat until it reaches 195-200F internal temperature. The high temperature will ensure a tender, moist finish.

Steaming/roasting meat

9. Allow the meat to cool, brush with brandy, and sprinkle with the peppercorn and coriander rub.

10. Slice the meat thin and stack it in a sandwich. Consider a rye bread with hot mustard and sauerkraut.

Montreal smoked elk

*Instead of steaming the meat in a roasting pan, consider putting it in a pressure cooker with a rack, allowing water to steam from the bottom and heat and pressure to come up to temperature. Set the unit on high pressure for 30 minutes and let it depressurize independently.


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