How to Tell When Venison Bacon is Fully Cooked for Safety and Perfect Texture

Venison bacon is a tasty and lean alternative to traditional pork bacon made from deer meat. Getting the doneness right is key for maximum flavor and food safety. Undercooked venison can harbor dangerous bacteria, while overcooking makes it dry and tough. Luckily, there are some simple ways to determine when your venison bacon is perfectly cooked.

What is Venison Bacon?

Venison bacon starts with cuts of boneless venison loin or round that are brined and smoked like traditional pork bacon. Sometimes it also contains pork fatback for added richness. The venison provides a lean gamey flavor while the smoking gives it that classic bacon taste. It has less fat than pork bacon but still crisps up nicely.

Signs Your Venison Bacon is Undercooked

It’s important to fully cook venison bacon to avoid potential foodborne illnesses. Here are some signs your venison bacon may be undercooked:

  • Vivid red or pink interior – Should be cooked through without raw-looking areas

  • Translucent appearance – Fully cooked bacon will be opaque

  • Soft, rubbery texture – Properly cooked bacon should be tender but firm

  • Lack of crisping or browning – Needs more time to crisp up exterior

  • Fat isn’t rendered – White fat pockets instead of translucent fat

  • Raw meat odor – Fully cooked bacon will smell pleasantly smoked

  • Lower than recommended safe temperature – Use a meat thermometer

How to Tell Venison Bacon is Fully Cooked

When venison bacon reaches the ideal internal temperature and has firmed up you’ll know it’s fully cooked and safe to eat. Signs it’s done

  • Opaque white and pale pink color – No translucent or red areas

  • Firm, sliceable texture – Little resistance when slicing

  • Formation of crust/bark – Crispy, caramelized exterior

  • Fat rendered down – No solid white fat pockets

  • Pleasant smoky aroma – No raw meat smell

  • Safe minimum internal temp of 145°F

  • Slight flexibility – Not brittle or crisp but holds shape

  • Browning on edges – Nice crispy edges but not burnt

Tips for Cooking Venison Bacon


  • Use mild wood like apple or cherry

  • Start at 130°F and increase by 10°F per hour

  • Cook until internal temperature reaches 160°F

  • Avoid oversmoking which can cause dryness

Pan Frying

  • Use medium heat in cast iron skillet

  • Fry for 4-6 minutes per side

  • Cook until temp reaches 130°F

  • Remove just before it gets crispy


  • Preheat oven to 375°F

  • Bake on slotted pan for 6-8 minutes

  • Brush with oil and season (optional)

  • Bake until internal temp reaches 145°F

  • Avoid overbaking which causes dryness

Storage and Food Safety

  • Refrigerate for up to 5-7 days

  • Freeze for 2-3 months in airtight packaging

  • Thaw in fridge before using

  • Cook to minimum internal temperature of 145°F

  • Discard if moldy, slimy, or foul-smelling

Properly cooked venison bacon is deliciously smokey and rich while still being leaner than pork bacon. Follow the tips above to perfectly execute venison bacon every time and enjoy it safely. With the right technique, you can experience gourmet flavor and texture from this unique alternative to classic bacon.

How to Make Venison (Deer) Bacon at Home | The Bearded Butchers


How to tell when deer bacon is done?

Place formed bacon on smoker racks and increase the smoker temperature 10 degrees every hour until the smoker reaches 180 degrees. The bacon is done when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

How to know when venison is fully cooked?

Cook all venison thoroughly and serve hot or very cold. Venison should be cooked to at least 165° to ensure harmful bacteria are killed. The color of the meat is not a reliable indicator of when the venison is fully cooked. Use an accurate, calibrated thermometer for monitoring the cooking temperature of the venison.

How long does it take to cook venison?

Venison cut
Suggested method
Approx. cooking time (rare)
Sear, then oven roast at moderate temperature
15 minutes per 500g @ 180C
Diced venison
Sear, then gently casserole at low temperature
1 hour @ 100C
Frenched racks
Sear, then finish in the oven at 180C
10 minutes per 500g @ 180C

Can you eat venison medium-rare?

What is the proper internal temperature? The CDC says 145° F for whole cuts or steaks (medium well) or 160° F for ground meat (well done). This of course is not what most chefs would say. For best flavor and texture, 130° F (medium rare) is commonly recommended for venison steaks.

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