Of all the pumpkin venison dishes that flood the Internet during the Thanksgiving holiday season, this might be the best one.
Braising a venison roast is one my favorite ways to cook this tougher part of the deer. Braising is a very simple way to make not-so-glamorous cuts of meat into culinary masterpieces with very few ingredients.
For this recipe, we got a little inventive and brought a few flavors to this roast that normally do not accompany such a game meat. Beer is definitely involved as well as your favorite bourbon.
With those two ingredients, what could possibly go wrong?
By the way, if you do not have a braising pot that is both stovetop and oven safe, then a crock pot works great as well.
Bourbon Braised Venison with Pumpkin Glaze
For the rub
- Coarse salt
For the braise
- 1 round of venison roast
- Vegetable oil
- 1 chopped onion
- Several garlic cloves, chopped and diced
- Several cups beef broth
- 1 bottle of your favorite beer
- 3/4 cup of your favorite bourbon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- Sprigs of thyme
- Chopped celery stalks
- 1 Can of diced tomatoes
- 1 chopped carrot
For the Glaze
- 1 small jar of pumpkin jelly or pumpkin preserves
- A small pour of bourbon
Okay, wow. Seems like a lot of ingredients right? Actually, this is pretty easy, especially once you have all the ingredients ready to go.
To start this off, cover your venison roast in the rub consisting of varying amounts of the listed ingredients. Use whatever you feel is appropriate for your tastes, but just so you know, I used two tablespoons coarse salt, 1 tablespoon pepper, about 1/4th teaspoon of the paprika, and 1/4th teaspoon of cinnamon.
Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in your braising pot on the stove. You want this oil hot to create a good sear. If you are going to use a crock pot, just do this in a deep dish pan. Once the oil is hot, brown all sides of the roast coated in the rub and set aside.
Now, while keeping all the grease and oil still in the pot (or pan if you are going to use a crock pot), add in a little butter and dump in the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook the vegetables just until the garlic becomes nice and fragrant.
You will be cooking the vegetables during the braising, not right now on the stove. Now, pour in one bottle of your favorite beer (I would suggest a darker beer) and about 3/4 cup of bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace). Also, toss in a few sprigs of thyme – five or six or so, soy sauce, tomatoes, and brown sugar. Stir until everything starts to simmer.
For the final step to preparing the braise, place the roast in the middle of the pot and pour in a few cups of beef broth just to add more fluid to the mixture and to cover about half of the roast in the pot. If you are using a crock pot, just put it all in the crock pot and cover with broth. Finally, place it in the oven with the lid on tight for about four hours at 325 degrees F. Flip the roast half way through. If using a crock pot, I’d suggest eight hours on medium.
Once the venison roast is done, remove it from the broth and strain all the veggies out of the liquid. Return the liquid back to the pot, and boil the liquid down to about two cups. The process of boiling the liquid down concentrates the flavors and also thickens it just a little.
More recipes from Wide Open Spaces:
While the broth is boiling down, create the pumpkin glaze by pouring the jar of pumpkin jelly in a mixing bowl with a nice splash of bourbon and several tablespoons of liquid from the pot. Whisk it all together until it becomes a glaze, nice and smooth. Coat the entire roast in the glaze and place it on a wire rack or cookie sheet and broil it in the oven until the glaze caramelizes on the roast. Be careful to not burn it.
When caramelized, cut the roast into pieces and place it in an oven-safe serving dish. Smother the pieces in the rest of the pumpkin glaze and pour the reduced liquid and vegetables all on top.
Place all this back in the oven for about five more minutes to cook the alcohol out of the bourbon. Enjoy the meal and the praise!
All photos by Brad Smith.