Years ago, my brother Danny perfected this bone-in blade venison roast recipe while working with a moose shoulder. I’ve since used it for everything from whitetail to black bear. As you’ll see, it proves that there’s no need to grind all your big game shoulders into burger meat.
Handled properly, shoulder cuts can be the tastiest, most elegant portion of your kill. For this dish, I braise the roast for 3 hours with lots of garlic and finish it up with some sweet root vegetables.
You won’t believe how good it is. The texture will remind you of pulled pork, which is commonly made from pig shoulder.
Time to make
1 blade roast, bone-in, 3-4 pounds (from deer, elk, caribou, or moose shoulder)
Freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
12 cloves garlic
2 quarts game stock (or enriched stock)
1/4 cup dry white or red wine
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
1 bay leaf
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into half-moons about 1/2 inch thick
6 ounces whole baby carrots. or 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch dice
1 pound russet potatoes (1-2 potatoes). cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Preheat oven to 300°. Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper on all sides
- Heat a heavy-bottomed 6-to 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the butter; it will bubble up. When the bubbles subside, add the roast and sear until dark brown. Flip the roast and sear the other side
- Remove the roast to a plate. Drain any excess fat from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, letting them get a little color on them.
- Loosen the brown bits on the bottom of the pot with a splash of stock, water, or wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits; they’ll add tons of flavor to your sauce.
- Return the meat to the pot and add the rest of the stock and the wine; it should reach about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the roast.
- Toss in the thyme and bay leaf. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and transfer to the oven.
- Cook in the oven for 2-1/2 hours, checking occasionally to be sure that there is still enough liquid; add more if not. If the top of the roast becomes dry, flip it over and continue cooking.
- After 2-1/2 hours, check the roast. The meat should be close to tender. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, and potatoes and cook until the vegetables are soft and the meat is fork-tender, 15-20 minutes more.
- Remove meat from the liquid. Slice into large pieces and divide among dinner plates.
- Use a slotted spoon to scoop up the vegetables from the liquid and serve them on the side. Top the meat with a little of the cooking liquid. Delicious with pieces of buttered baguette.
Don’t throw away the extra cooking liquid—it’s like liquid gold! Save it for soup, pasta sauce, or stock.