I’d like to get back the hours spent excising usable pieces of stew meat from deer shoulders. It’s work best left to those who do it for a living. I’d rather spend my time doing something, anything, else.
Fortunately, there’s a way to remove the meat from a bone-in deer shoulder that requires minimal knife skills. I let my oven do most of the work.
This version of my basic slow-cooked shoulder roast recipe has a little sweet and a little heat, but not so much of either that it should bother anyone. The basic premise is that anything cooked long enough at low temperature with some liquid will eventually get tender.
Besides convenience, that’s one of the reasons that slow cookers like the Crock Pot have become so popular among those of us who shoot animals. Even tougher cuts of venison that sit in a hot pot of some kind of liquid all day will eventually get tender.
The problem with a big deer shoulder is that they don’t make slow cookers big enough to fit them, at least not for the home cook. As long as you have an oven or even an outdoor cooker with a lid, you’re golden.
No Problemo Shoulder Roast
- 1 venison shoulder
- olive oil
- beer, wine or any type of stock
- 2 onions, quartered
- 3 carrots, chopped into large pieces
- 3 celery ribs, chopped into large pieces
- 1 cup kosher or sea salt
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 tbsp paprika
- ¼ cup garlic powder
- ¼ cup onion powder
- 3 tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp dry mustard
- Mix all rub ingredients together. This will make a big batch of rub that you can use now and later.
- Pat venison shoulder dry with cloth or paper towels. Rub it liberally with olive oil, then rub. Wrap it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.
- Place venison shoulder in a lightly greased heavy-duty baking pan. Add onion, carrots and celery to the pan.
- Place the uncovered baking pan in a preheated 375-degree oven, and roast until evenly browned on both sides, about 30 minutes per side. Add about 1 inch of liquid (beer, wine, stock) to the pan. Cover tightly with a lid or heavy-duty foil, and lower the temperature to 325 degrees. Depending on the size of the shoulder, the next step can take up to 6 to 8 hours.
- After a couple of hours, check the pan and add liquid if needed. Check again in another 2 hours then every hour after until the meat starts to pull away from the bone easily. It's not done until the bone can be easily removed. When it is done the bone will pull cleanly away from the meat.
- Allow meat to cool, and enjoy now as you would any pot roast, or collect and cool chunks of meat for refrigerator or freezer storage. Meat can also be used for tacos, enchiladas, quick soups or laced with a spirited barbecue sauce and piled high in a bun for a great sandwich.