Venison shanks are an underrated delicacy, and one that is often discarded for the grind-pile. Today I’m going to share with you my version of a tasty recipe I often remember from my grandfather. Today we are cooking roasted venison shanks.
- 2 or more venison (or comparable) shanks
- 2-4 potatoes
- A dozen small carrots
- Red wine
- Can of broth
- One half onion
- As much garlic as you dare
- Garnish (Parsley, chives, chopped peppers)
- Season list (below)
My grandfather raised sheep his whole life. During that time, he perfected cooking lamb shanks. And we grew up eating lamb shanks on Sundays as a special treat.
The shank of an animal, is the lower portion of the leg. From the knee down. These parts of the animal are often discarded to the scrap or burger pile due to their nature. They are quite full of sinew which makes them a challenge to clean up.
And due to their location, they often dry out more than other parts of the animal during the aging process. Today’s recipe will help you turn these sometime less-desirable pieces of your game into a delicious delicacy you’d prodly serve your family.
Preparing your venison shanks
Start by removing the shanks from the animal, I prefer to do this after at least a day or two of aging. I use a saw to get as clean a cut as possible without disturbing too much of the meat on the bone.
Additionally I saw off the lowest portion of the bone (the ankle area) since it is mostly bone and unnessesary. Opening both ends of the bone also allows the cooking process to liberate the marrow inside, which is full of taste and nutrients.
Once the shanks are removed, clean them as best you can. Scoring the exterior of the shank slightly in many places also allows penetration of your seasoning. Season the shanks as you like, but this is my way:
- Olive or avocado oil
- Salt (or garlic salt)
- Coriander seed
- Bay leaf
After a healthy rub of oil, add the rest of your spice list. Allow them to marinate thusly for as long as possible. Pass the shanks into a rippin’ hot cast iron to brown them. Prefferably to get a good even crisp around all surfaces.
I also like to add either bacon grease or other lard and baste the shanks in the hot grease while they brown. Once the shanks are browned, I add a glass of red wine (cabernet) and reduce by half.
If you like things a little spicy like we do at my house, I also add some chopped jalapeños from my garden. But you do you. Half an onion and several cloves of garlic are coursely chopped and added to the pot as well. Followed by one can of your preffered broth.
You can either pass the roasting dish to the oven, or put the entire mixture into a slow cooker. Oven roasting would ideally be done for around 3-4 hours, while slow cooker can be done up to 8 hours. Cook the shanks until they are falling off the bone. When done you should have to carefully remove them with tongs to prevent them falling apart.
Slow cooker tip: Do not completely cover the slow cooker crock with the lid, as the condensation will “wash” the color from your shanks. Leave it slightly open to allow vapor to escape. Add water as needed.
Towards the end of the cooking process, add a bunch of carrots and potatoes. Put them in with enough time to finish cooking with the meat. And soak up some of the delicious flavor.
When the shanks are done, plate them with vegetables and top with some fresh chopped veggies and perhaps some parsley or chives. I’ve used peppers here for a kick.
Roasted venison shanks is a greasy delicious meal that feels like something from the old world. The cooking process renders all the tendons and fat down into a tasty and nutritious gravy you can serve over the vegetables.
Dont grind up your shanks, they can be a delicious special meal during hunting season. Apart from rendering every part of my game animals into a meal, this recipe also reminds me of those cold winter Sunday afternoons eating a hearty meal as snow falls outside. Enjoy these roasted venison shanks.