Wild Recipes

Smokey Southwest Venison Flank Steak with Wild Game BBQ Sauce


Recipe Contributed by Editor-in-Chief J. Townsend.

To be honest, I am not completely sure that this piece of venison is flank steak as it was unmarked in my freezer. BUT! I know that it is venison, I know my butchering skills, and it appears to be a flank steak so I am going to go with that concept. Either way this Southwestern Desert Style BBQ Dry Rub be delicious with any cut of Venison, Elk, Buffalo, etc that you are going to throw in the smoker for a couple of hours.

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A friend and I have been working on an American Indian cookbook for a year or so now and it has initiated me to play around with different types of chilies and chili powders from the Southwest as I conduct research (aka, cooking and eating). I love the aromatics that each variation provide. If you decide to prepare this dish, just take a moment and smell each chili powder before you mix them together. I predict that you too will begin to appreciate the differences in the aromas of each type of chili.

While in college, I really began to play around with the concept of BBQ sauce and the different variations that are found regionally around the country. I grew up in the South where BBQ is almost a way of life for many so it is naturally one of my most sought after foods. I love BBQ and I love BBQ’ed Wild Game even more! period. This is a BBQ sauce which I have cooked up to pair with wild game meats which are darker. It has a nice balance, in my opinion, of the four elements which are key in any BBQ sauce – vinegar, spice, heat, and sweetness. This recipe makes about a pint so that you can play around with adding it to other dishes as you see fit.

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Southwestern Desert Dry Rub


  • 1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Ancho Chili Pepper Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Pepper Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Sprinkle of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


Mix all of these spices together and rub the meat down to create a heavy coating. If there is not enough to coat all of the meat then repeat the recipe. You can save any excess that has not been cross contaminated by touching the meat or your hands after it has touched the meat.

Smokey Flank Steak


  • 1 Venison Flank Steak
  • Southwestern Desert Dry Rub (From Above)


  1. Coat the Flank Steak in the Desert Dry Rub
  2. Heat your smoker to between 200 – 250 degrees.
  3. Place the meat in the smoker and cook for 2 hours (rotate it every hours)
  4. Test the internal temperature of the meat. I cooked mine to medium.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Wild Game BBQ Sauce

Wild Game BBQ Sauce

(yield: 1 pint)


  • ¼ Yellow Onion, finely minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 cup of Ketchup
  • ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • Sprinkle of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Melt the butter in the pan
  3. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions become translucent
  4. Stir in all of the other ingredients
  5. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour
  6. Stir frequently
  7. Allow to cool before storing

Justin Townsend

Justin (Choctaw) is an avid hunter, angler, and chef whose passion for the outdoors lead him to create Harvesting Nature in 2011. He continues to hunt, fish, and cook all while sharing his experiences with others through film, podcasts, print, and with recipes. He also proudly serves in the United States Coast Guard.

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