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


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.


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.
  • 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.


Recipe courtesy of the Sporting Chef, Scott Leysath. Click to order The Sporting Chef’s Better Venison Cookbook


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