While we may not know exactly what the menu at the first Thanksgiving looked like, historians are certain that copious amounts of venison were consumed. One of the most striking presentations you can make on the holiday table is a grilled and smoked bone-in rack of venison loin.
Your butcher will probably be familiar with the cut and most will provide it for a small fee. If you butcher your own deer, the bone-in loin cut is simple to do. Filet the backstrap away from the spine to allow space for the saw blade. Stop the cut where the backstrap meets the ribs. Next, using a cordless reciprocating saw or a sharp butcher’s saw, cut through the ribs about four to five inches below the loin, or just about midway down the center of the rib. Next, you have a choice to make, if you would like the venison roast to stand up for presentation, cut down the center of the spine. The extra bone will stand the rack for cooking and at the table, but it will be a bit more difficult to slice the chops. For easier slicing at mealtime, move your saw blade just to the edge of the spine, where the rib bones attach, and slice down through the top of the ribs.
Once you have your bone-in rack removed, the next step is to clean the meat from the ribs. You can scrape it away with a knife, or use this trick employing kitchen twine. I like to keep the seasoning simple, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.
Set your grill up for offset smoking, with charcoal to one side and a water pan on the other. The PK Grill is perfect for this application, with room for a water pan in the back and charcoal at the front of the hinged grill grate in case additional fuel or wood chips need to be added while cooking.
While the grill heats, wrap the bones of your venison rack with foil to prevent them from browning during the smoke. Move your venison rack or racks to the grill over direct heat and sear on both sides for two to three minutes per side.
After searing the roast, move the venison over to the cool side of the grill and finish the cook. For rare venison, pull the roast at 130, for medium, take it up to 135 to 140. Remove the roast once it hits temperature and cover loosely with foil to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
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