Following the usual braising protocol, the venison neck roast is first browned, and then slow-cooked in a shallow liquid bath in a covered container. I’ve added an additional flavor element by brining the roast for several hours before roasting. This process works just as well with any venison roast.
I often hear fellow hunters complain about how neck roasts are tough and stringy. They just didn’t cook it long enough. As long as you keep a shallow layer of liquid in the roasting pan and the pan’s lid is snug, the meat from your neck roast with eventually be moist and tender. I usually prepare this dish in a Dutch oven, often on the stovetop rather than the oven.
When cooked, strip the meat from the bones, and use for tacos, enchiladas, barbecue sandwiches or just nestled up against a pile of steaming mashed potatoes and smothered in pan sauce.
Apple-Braised Neck Roast
- 1 venison neck roast
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated or powdered garlic
- ¼ cup ground black pepper
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 gallon ice water
- 1 quart apple cider
- 2 cups venison or beef stock
- 3 tart apples, quartered
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, whole
- 2 bay leaves
- Prepare brine. Heat 2 cups of the water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add salt, sugar, granulated garlic and pepper and stir until dissolved. Add to remaining ice water and stir in vinegar. Place roast in a heavy-duty plastic bag, pour brine over and seal bag at opening to immerse roast in brine. Place in a container, and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
- Remove roast from brine. Discard brine. Rinse roast, pat dry with paper or clean cloth towels. Rub with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add roast, and brown well on all sides. The browning will enhance flavor!
- Transfer meat to a well-greased roasting pan (or leave in Dutch oven). Stir cider and stock together, and pour enough in pan to cover ½ to ¾ inch. Add apples, onion, garlic and bay leaves to pan. Cover tightly with heavy foil or lid, and place in the preheated oven.
- Check oven after 2 hours to make sure there is adequate liquid in the pan. Add as necessary to keep at least ½ inch of liquid at all times. (Note: if you got distracted and allowed the liquid to evaporate, just deglaze the pan with additional cider and broth.) Depending on the size of the roast, it will take at least 5 hours for the braise. Check every hour or so after the first 2 hours, and continue until meat pulls away from the bone easily.