Here’s my take on cooking antlered game shoulder and neck roasts. It’s not an exact method and do keep in mind if the meat doesn’t fall off the bone, keep cooking and make sure you’ve got some liquid, bbq sauce, etc. keep it moist during the last phase of cooking.

For a link of a video version of the recipe, click HERE.

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5 from 3 votes

Venison (deer, elk, antelope, moose) Shoulder Roast


Oven Method

  • Don’t bother boning it out. Rub it liberally with olive oil salt and pepper (or your favorite rub). If you’ve got time, wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. If not, start cooking. Place it in a lightly greased (pan spray OK) baking pan. You can add celery, carrot and onion to the pan if you want to make sauce or gravy out of the pan drippings later.
  • Place the uncovered baking pan in a preheated 350 – 375 degree oven and turn shoulder occasionally until evenly browned. Now add some liquid to the pan. I think I used beer on the show. You can use beer wine, chicken or beef broth – the idea is to start with an inch or so of liquid and don’t let it get below about ½-inch of liquid or the meat won’t braise and the pan will burn. Cover tightly with a lid or heavy duty foil, lower the temperature to 325 – 350. Depending on the size of the shoulders or number of shoulders in the pan, the next step can take up to 6 hours.
  • After a couple of hours check the pan and add liquid if needed. Keep checking in another 2 hours, then every hour until the meat starts to pull away from the bone easily. It’s not done until the bone can be easily removed. You can use the meat for bbq, tacos, “pulled pork” type sandwiches, etc. It can also be frozen in batches for later use. I do a bunch of shoulder and neck roasts at a time, vacuum package the meat in batches and use it when needed.
  • venison recipes


  • Rub with olive oil salt, pepper as per Step 1 above.
  • Place in a 200 degree smoker for 6 – 8 hours.
  • Place shoulder on two layers of heavy duty foil. Pour some bbq sauce over and wrap snugly. Place back in the smoker for another 4 hours or until meat falls off the bone.


  • Rub with olive oil salt, pepper as per Step 1 above.
  • Place in a medium hot grill +/- 300 degrees, as far away from the heat source as possible.
  • Grill covered if possible, until internal temperature reaches 155 – 160 degrees. Wrap with foil as per Smoker Step 3 above, lower heat to low and cook for another 2 – 3 hours or until meat falls off the bone.


  1. Matthew R Peet on April 30, 2019 at 11:37 am

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! I don’t have to worry about boning out the shoulders anymore! I usually make this into pulled venison sandwiches or big burritos. All of my hunting buddies who I,ve told about this also love it.

  2. Misty Peterson on January 19, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious recipe. Followed the low and slow on the Traeger. It turned out perfectly tender, melted away from the bone! Thankful to find this recipe as now I will eat what the husband hints.

    • Scott Leysath on January 19, 2021 at 10:52 pm

      And much less work (and waste) than boning it out. Thanks for the review!

    • Dave McNeely on February 20, 2021 at 3:13 am

      5 stars
      Have always used your oven method exactly.
      Beer, broth, etc… Set my oven at 240, it has a 40° temp swing, drops to 200 before it kicks on back up to 240.
      Elk, 2 lower shanks 12 hours,
      upper shoulder 12 hours,
      same for lower shoulders.
      Each in my big roaster with a tight lid or foil with lid mashed down.
      Fall off the bone is it, your last sentence says it all.
      Connective tissue turned gelatinous and meat was like roast, never mushy, each time.
      Tried to serve early at 10 hours one time, had to pull meat off the bone, was chewy and connective tissue had not dissolved.
      Little longer, maybe hotter would have fixed it. Sometimes you get a stall just like brisket when moisture cools the meat.
      You could not have said it better, Fall Off the Bone, final word!

      You are the Best, keep bringing us great shows a joy to watch!
      You may be a genius or just above average. haha

      • Scott Leysath on February 20, 2021 at 9:05 am

        So true. If you try and speed up the process, it’s not the same. You can give it a kickstart with a pressure cooker, but it’s not quite the same.

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