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December 11, 2010 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Help a budding chef! How do I cook a venison roast?

I have recently been gifted with a lovely rump roast of venison. But I have absolutely no idea how to cook it. I was thinking of trying a beef roast-type thing, with delicious chunks apples and potatoes and onions and carrots. But I'm not sure how. So here's a few questions:

1.) Do I slow-cook it in an oven or a crockpot? Which is better for venison? Is there anything in particular I should do for preparation? (Trim fat, beat on it for a while to tenderize it... do some kind of arcane ritual to ensure it turns out edible...)

2.) What should I do about cooking it with liquid? My pantry is, fortunately, quite well stocked. I have a nice, dry apple cider I was thinking of using for the base, but I also have red wine, brown ale, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, etc.

3.) I would really like to make this quite a garlicky experience. In light of that, would it be worthwhile to take the time to stud the roast with fresh garlic? What about cloves (the spice)? I'm going for something with a nice, spicy, wintery taste here.

Specific answers to these questions would be awesome, but if you've got a favorite recipe for venison roast please share that too!

Thanks in advance to all the Mefites who are better chefs than me.
posted by WidgetAlley to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Where did this rump roast come from? Is it wild, or was it farm raised? I ask because of fat content. Traditionally, rump roasts are good for braising, but if there isn't much fat, then I'd suggest being very careful, or you could always lard the roast.

You also didn't say how big it is. Slow-cooking is slow-cooking regardless of whether it's in an oven or in a crockpot. My recommendation would be to do it in the oven though. Sear it off on the stove, take it out once you have good color on it, add your vegetables (onions, carrots, celery) and saute them off. Deglaze the pan (I'd stick with red wine or brown ale if I were you) and some stock. Add the roast back in and stick it in the oven. Though, if it isn't fatty or on the bone, I'd be careful.

Studding it is a great idea. You can always add a couple of cloves as well, the flavors would do nicely together.
posted by TheBones at 5:34 PM on December 11, 2010

Ask at CooksTalk Classic. The old CooksTalk forum was sponsored by Fine Cooking magazine before Taunton decided to fly their forums into the ground. This is an independent offshoot that has been gathering up the disaffected CooksTalk posters for the last year. There are a number of venison eaters there. You have to register to post, but it's free, and I haven't seen any indication that they leak e-mail addresses.
posted by Bruce H. at 5:35 PM on December 11, 2010

Marinate it. I have never encountered even farm-raised venison that didn't need marinating. Something with red wine, a little red wine vinegar, garlic, bay leaves for sure, maybe some tarragon, some marjoram...
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:42 PM on December 11, 2010

Best answer: Honestly the best way is to make steaks out of it and then wrap it in bacon so the bacon fat can add moisture or to slow cook it in a crock pot (after searing of course) until it is fork tender. If you slow cook it make sure you add bacon there also. I use bacon end pieces and quite a bit of it to get that moisture level up. Some people have a lot of luck with some kind of roulette preparation but this is a lot of work. Pot roast also works well as look as you use some kind of mixture in the pot that will add moisture. Usually the biggest problem with any game is the fat and connective tissue that beef has is just not there in enough quantity to cook right using a beef recipe without alteration. I have add a lot of luck using bacon for flavor and fat content that gives that really nice mouth feel.
posted by bartonlong at 6:20 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you have access to a larding needle you could try larding the roast with strips of bacon or fatback. It is a great way to add both flavor and moisture.
posted by TedW at 6:26 PM on December 11, 2010

Poke holes it in with a large knife and stuff bacon into them, then wrap it in foil, place it in large metal cooking dish that has a lid and half-fill the bottom of the dish with water or cooking oil. I think the oil makes it taste better, but water is healthier. Then cook for a few hours depending on how big it is - start checking on it after 2 hrs.
posted by meepmeow at 6:45 PM on December 11, 2010

also, if it's wild, please be very aware that rare venison, while delicious, may be a no-no.

Braising, as you would a tougher cut of beef, would cook it sufficiently/thoroughly.
posted by ChefJoAnna at 8:07 PM on December 11, 2010

Whatever, when you're done, a bit of redcurrant jelly makes a wonderful addition to roast venison.
posted by The otter lady at 8:51 PM on December 11, 2010

First of all, if this is from a recent kill by a hunter, you probably want to dry age it 1 to 2 weeks, to tenderize it and improve the flavor of the meat substantially. If it has already been aged when you got it, skip this process.

A buck's rump is a power muscle in the living animal, and normally, in a wild deer, won't contain much fat (what you'd see as marbling in feed lot finished beef). Moreover, if the animal was fit and in its prime, that muscle was toned and in use daily by the animal -- the muscle fibers are going to have more connective tissue and definition than feedlot beef. So keeping your temperatures down during cooking, and a little bit of acidic moisture present (vinegar contributes acetic acid, citrus offers ascorbic acid, etc.) will help make your finished product chewable, if not as tender as a porterhouse beef steak.

Personally, I eschew "browning" large cuts of venison or beef at the beginning of cooking altogether lately, in favor of something closer to a sous-vide cooking cycle, finishing with a bit of blowtorch crusting, for appearance. You don't really need an actual sous-vide machine to do the job, just a covered roasting pan, and an oven that can reliably hold a 200°F - 225°F temp for a couple hours, and the appropriate patience on your part, to keep from opening the damn oven door, frequently, to "check" your meat.

Using a blowtorch as a crusting device after cooking really lets the meat rest at room temperature, while you take 10 minutes to "pretty up" the exterior, and it gives you really fine control of the amount and depth of char you want to develop, including around fat, and finally deliver to the plate.

Finally, everybody has their own idea of what tastes good, but good venison has a richness and texture that you should present to your table, not hide. Accordingly, I'd dial way back on spices, and foreign fat treatments, in favor of letting the venison shine through on its on merits.

After all, if you wanted to serve a beef roast, you could have just gone to the grocery store, and bought one.
posted by paulsc at 9:41 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cook it slowly in foil with juniper berries, when cooked put it in a very hot oven for a few minutes to brown. Redcurrent jelly on the side.
posted by anadem at 9:44 PM on December 11, 2010

Ahh, I'm late to the party, but I've had so much venison I felt I had to contribute anyways :P

In my opinion, simple is best, when it comes to venison. You've got all this natural, amazing, unique game flavor -- you don't wanna mess that up with a bunch of spices and garlic and whatnot!

I usually cut the venison into steaks that are at least 2" thick. Completely cover the thing in Montreal Steak Seasoning, which is basically just a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.. Put more on than you think makes sense. Then get a grill as hot as you possibly can (or a broiler) and cook it for about 4-6 minutes on each of 4 sides. This will get you a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak... Once you pull it off the grill, cover it in foil and let it "rest" for another 15 minutes or so before you cut into it.

I've never gotten sick from undercooking venison with this technique. If you like your meat medium-well or well done, then you probably shouldn't even waste your time cooking venison... This recipe will definitely allow you to enjoy the natural flavors of the deer, rather than covering it up...

Good luck!
posted by Glendale at 7:54 PM on December 12, 2010

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