5 Unusual Venison Recipes You've Never Heard Of

If your family is getting tired of the same old venison roast, mix it up with these five unusual venison recipes.

Variety is the spice of life, as they say. So it's no wonder your family is sick of the same old recipes week after week!

If this issue has cropped up in your household, step outside your comfort zone, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to try some new dishes. Whether you prepare a new holiday venison ham for a large family feast or a braised shoulder for just another Tuesday night, your family will appreciate your new and adventurous culinary spirit.

These five unusual venison recipes are the cure your family has been looking (or praying) for.

1. Osso Bucco Venison Shank

I first saw this recipe on an episode of MeatEater with Steven Rinella. I was hooked as soon as I finished the show.


Two venison shanks, sawed into discs about 1 1/2 inches thick
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
3 medium carrots, diced into fine cubes
2 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 8-ounce cans of vegetable stock, beef stock, or water
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon each of finely chopped rosemary, thyme, and oregano
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


1. Set oven temperature at 325 degrees.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven or similar-sized cooking vessel over medium heat. Dust the discs of venison shank in flour, and then brown them on all sides in the oil. Set aside on a platter.

3. Melt the butter into the Dutch oven and sauté the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery over medium heat until softened and slightly browned (about seven minutes). Then lay the pieces of shank flat side down over the bed of vegetables, so they form a single layer.

4. Pour the crushed tomatoes over the meat, along with the tomato paste. Season with salt, pepper and herbs, and then pour in enough of the stock or water to bring the liquid up to the top of the shanks. Do not submerge the meat, though.

5. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it into the oven. Let it cook for three to four hours. Check on the dish every hour to make sure the liquid level doesn't drop below the shanks; add more stock or water if so.

6. When the meat falls off the bone with a fork, the venison osso bucco is done. Serve each disc of osso bucco with some parsley garnish and your favorite side dish. You can eat the bone marrow cylinder inside the bone as well!

2. Standing Rib Roast

This recipe is partially cheating because we're including the well-known backstrap as well, but the ribs are a necessary piece of the puzzle to make this unusual venison recipe so attractive.


Fresh venison rib roast, cut from the back loin section, trimmed of silverskin
Old WoodFire Grill KK's 10 BBQ Rub
Montreal steak seasoning
Chopped parsley flakes
Olive oil
2-3 strips of bacon
Hickory, pecan, apple or mesquite wood


1. Season the roast with the Old WoodFire Grill KK's 10 BBQ Rub and let it rest for a couple of hours. You can leave it at room temp for a couple of hours. Otherwise, refrigerate it.

2. Just prior to going on the grill or smoker, lightly brush the roast with olive oil, then lightly coat with Montreal steak seasoning and parsley flakes. Optionally, you can lay a couple of strips of bacon across the top of the roast to help with moisture if you desire.

3. Start your grill. Cook the roast over indirect heat on a 350-400 degree grill for 30-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 120 degrees. Put a few pieces of wood on the coals to give it a nice smoky flavor. Hickory, pecan, apple or mesquite work well.

4. While the roast is cooking, place a cast iron skillet directly over the heat and let it get very hot. Be careful not to touch the skillet handle! When the roast has reached 120 degrees, place it top down in the hot skillet and let it sear for about 1-2 minutes. This will put a nice crust on the outside of the roast.

5. Remove the roast and let it rest with a tented cover for about 10 minutes. Optionally, you can stand the ribs on edge and curl them around like a true standing rib roast, but this is mostly for show.

3. Food Plot Venison Stew

This unusual venison recipe definitely wins in the creative category. It's a very logical dish, and tastes and looks great to boot!


3/4 cup dry black-eyed peas
3/4 cup rye berries (or barley, oat groats, or wheat berries)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 to 3 pounds venison stew meat
1 large onion, sliced thin from root to tip
6 cups venison broth, beef broth, or water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 pound turnips or rutabagas, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups chopped dandelion greens, chicory leaves, kale, or chard


1. Bring a quart or so of water to a boil and pour it over the black-eyed peas. Let this sit for at least an hour. You can also just soak them in cool water overnight.

2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and salt it well. Add the rye berries and simmer them until tender, 45 minutes to an hour.

3. Get a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot and set it over medium-high heat. Heat the butter. While the butter is melting, take a few pieces of the venison and pat it dry with paper towels. Brown the venison in the hot butter, salting it as it cooks. Do this in batches so you don't crowd the pot, and pat dry each new batch before you put it into the pot. Set aside the browned venison pieces in a bowl.

4. When the venison is all browned, add the onion to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the edges of the onions begin to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Return the venison to the pot and add the broth, thyme and celery seed. Bring this to a simmer and cook gently for an hour.

5. After an hour, add the rutabagas or turnips and the black-eyed peas. Simmer this for another hour or so. The rye berries should be tender by now, so drain them and set aside.

6. About 5 minutes before you want to serve, stir in the chopped dandelion greens (or alternatives) and rye berries. To serve, ladle out some stew—it should be a thick stew—grind some black pepper over it and garnish with thinly sliced radishes.

4. Organ Meat

True, there's only so much organ meat per deer and it's not as good in my opinion unless fresh. So utilize this recipe when you can!


Deer heart or liver, trimmed and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
3 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, cut in large strips
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. After trimming the heart or liver very well, cut into thin 1/4-inch strips.

2. Heat the butter over medium-high heat, and cook the onions until softened.

3. Add the strips of meat and season to taste. I prefer to cook until seared on the outside but pink on the inside (after a couple minutes), but feel free to cook to your preference.

This unusual venison recipe is great because it is a very easy and enjoyable deer camp meal, but you can also dress it up for an exotic dinner to impress your friends.

5. Venison Barbacoa

Barbacoa is not often associated with lean venison meat, which clinches this as No. 5 in the unusual venison recipe list.


2 to 3 pound venison roast, from the shoulder or legs
2 to 4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 red onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 quart beef or venison stock
1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil
Smoked salt (optional)


1. Put everything but the lard and smoked salt in a slow cooker or Dutch oven and cook (covered) until the meat easily shreds apart, between two and six hours. If you use a slow cooker, set it to "high." If you use a regular pot, put it into the oven set to 300 degrees.

2. Shred the meat with forks or your fingers. Stir in the lard (or oil) and as much smoked salt as you want. You want the lard or oil to coat the shreds of meat. Pour over some of the juices from the pot and put the meat in a pan for the table.

3. Serve with tacos, in a burrito, or on a bun. Make sure to include accompanying ingredients (e.g., cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, hot sauce, etc.).

Enjoy your new culinary adventure!

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