Venison Shanks are an underutilized cut of the deer. When slow braised, these shanks are tender, flavorful and juicy. Also known as ossobucco, in Italy.
The shanks were never a part of the animal that we saved, until recently. Once we tried them, we were hooked, so we save a lot of them now. Especially the shanks from the rear leg, as they are extra meaty.
If you have ever butchered your own deer, the shanks are not really an appetizing looking cut of meat. They look like they are just a ton of muscles and connective tissue, which, of course, is because they are. Let me tell you people, looks can be deceiving, because when treated properly, the shanks because ridiculously tender and have so much flavor!
What is a Venison Shank?
A Venison shank refers to the piece of meat that is below the shoulder, or the knee, according to Wikipedia.
How to Cook Venison Shanks
- Place shanks on rack placed over tray, to catch drips. Refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours, up to several days, to dry age.
- Once meat is dry aged, cut off a thin layer of the hard crust that has formed.
- Place butter and olive oil in oven proof dutch oven. Brown shanks on all sides. Remove to plate.
- Add chopped onion, carrot and celery to the same pan.
- Chop tomatoes and thyme.
- Lightly brown, stirring to scrape off bits from bottom of pan.
- Add red wine to pan with vegetables.
- Add stock to pan. I used frozen venison stock.
- Finish with tomatoes and herbs. Stir to combine. Add browned shanks to pan. Cover. Braise in 300° oven for 3 to 4 hours, until venison is very tender.
- Once venison is done, remove to plate.
- Thicken sauce with cornstarch slurry.
Serve shanks with red wine sauce.
What to Serve with Braised Venison Shanks
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Tools I Use to Make Braised Venison Shank
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That’s how easy it is to make Venison Shank. Thanks for stopping by today!
Enjoy! And have fun cooking!
Braised Venison Shanks
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 venison shanks Back legs will serve 2, front legs serve 1
- 3/4 cup onion chopped
- 3/4 cup carrot chopped
- 3/4 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup red wine Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, burgundy, etc.
- 3 cups venison stock can use veal, beef or vegetable stock, use low sodium
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 1 Tbsp thyme preferably, fresh
- 3 bay leaf
- Place thawed venison shanks on rack, placed over a rimmed baking sheet, to catch drips. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. I left mine about 48 hours.
- Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before continuing with recipe to allow meat to come up to room temperature.
- Start oven at 300°F.
- Melt butter and olive oil together in Dutch oven.
- Brown shanks on all sides. Remove to plate.
- Add onions, carrot and celery to pan, if needed add more oil or butter. Saute vegetables, scrapping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Once golden brown, add red wine and continue to scrape bottom of pan.
- Add stock, tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to boil.
- Add venison back to Dutch oven. Cover. Braise for 3 to 4 hours until shanks are very tender. Twist meat with fork. If it separates easily, the meat is done.
- Remove from oven and remove shanks to a plate.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch to a small bowl. Mix in enough water to incorporate all of cornstarch. (Quantities are not crucial.) Cook over low heat until sauce is thickened, dark and glossy. Add shanks back to sauce.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and your choice of vegetable.
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