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Oct 26, 2004 12:48 PM

What do I do with a venison roast??

  • c

My husband brought home a rump roast, courtesy of his boss. I have never made venison (hell, I don't think I've ever successfully cooked a roast). We were thinking overnight marinade, than a slow roast in the oven.

Any suggestions would be greatly (or should I say "dearly" *g* ) appreciated!!


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  1. I do not have any experience with a venison roast, but I have seen Scott Leysath at two sports shows.

    Here is a link to Scott's website, the Sporting Chef.


    1. I cook venison roast as follows.

      1. Apply a dry rub and leave the roast in a plastic bag to "marinade" overnight. For a 3 LBS roast, the dry rub comprises 6 ground/crushed juniper berries, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. (When pressed for time I have just applied the dry rub and proceeded directly to step #2 below. I couldn't discern any difference in the finished product)

      2. Sear the roast on all sides in a oven-proof casserole (Le Creuset French Oven works for me) with just a bit of oil in the bottom to reduce the tendency to stick. This searing helps to seal in juices.

      3. Braise in water for 3 hours at about 325 degrees in oven, turning meat every 30 minutes. Add about 1 cup of water to the now seared meat. Bring to a boil on top of stove. Cover and put in pre-heated oven. When turning the meat at first 30 minute interval, confirm liquid is slowly simmering and adjust heat if necessary to maintain simmer. If the water boils away replace, but you may let the liquid volume reduce towards the end to concentrate the flavor of the gravy you will prepare from the braising liquid.

      4. Remove the roast. Thicken the liquid with a roux of flour and butter. Serve as a sauce.

      This preparation indicates a general approach. Elaborate it as you see fit, but this simple approach is pretty darn good. You might use some red wine. You might lard the venison with bacon. Again, the basic approach is pretty pleasing.

      I like to serve poached pear halves stuffed with lingonberries as a garnish and Alsatian spatzle as a starch.

      French burgundy wine goes well with this, such as a Beaune premier cru, but so does a California Merlot, a California Cabernet Sauvignon, or a California Pinot Noir.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MHann

        In step 3, the braising is carried out in a COVERED pot! This might be obvious.

        1. re: MHann

          MHann, that is a gorgeous recipe - I'm doing it as we speak. Fingers crossed.

        2. I have some experience with venison, though I have not been lucky enough to get the roast the last few years (I get stuck with the thinner cuts, ground meat and stew meat! But that's another topic!)

          I saw the recipe someone else suggested in detail - sounds yummy! But its more of a braise than a "roast". I don't have a roasted recipe on me right now, but here are some tips for working with venison:

          One thing people often don't like with deer meat is the gamey flavor. You can eliminate this by marinating in several changes of a wine based marinade.

          I use inexpensive but drinkable white wine (enough to submerge meat), some crushed juniper berries, peppercorns, crushed garlic cloves and sliced onions...

          Marinate the roast overnight (12-24 hours). The next day, discard the marinade, which should now be cloudy. Marinate it again 2-3 times over the next day or 2 till the marinade stays clear. This should give it a nice flavor.

          As soon as I consult with the star venison chef in my family, I will be back with more tips for the cooking!


          2 Replies
          1. re: folklaur70

            If you do happen to roast rather than braise the venison, be advised that venison is singularly lacking in fat and tends to dry when roasted. Some strategies for introducing fat -- larding (sewing fat through the interior of the meat) or barding (cutting incisions in the surface of the meat and inserting long thin strips of fat, for example bacon, into the incisions) -- might be called for in this case. Frequently brushing the surface of the roast with fat or oil might help.

            1. re: MHann

              I am ging to ask my dad how he handles the fat (or lack thereof)...his roasted venison is always tender and pink, not lacking for moisture, and I am not too sure if he has a layer of fat tied around or larded within...will letcha know.

              (I know he does not use bacon!)

          2. I subscribe to the less is more school when it comes to game, and I usually shoot 2 antelope and at least 1 deer every year.
            To be sure, game has its own flavor, to my mind delicious. Your choice is to cook it so that you enhance its wild flavor or so that you try to make it taste like something it isn't.
            The rump is actually just fine for slicing 1/4" thick for a quick saute to medium rare in butter & oil, little shallot, red wine, demiglace/butter pan sauce, the idea being that just because it's labeled roast doesn't mean that you have to treat it that way.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Steve


              Can you provide any recipes for pronghorn backstraps? I have just returned from a Wyoming hunt with meat from two pronghorns -- my son took a buck and I took a doe. We had a leg roast following my dry rub braise approach I described for the venison roast above. I have good venison backstrap recipes I would otherwise use, but I wonder if you have anything really specially directed to pronghorn backstraps?

              1. re: MHann

                I've got no specific recipes just for antelope, but I can tell you how we did a couple backstraps last weekend as an appetizer (9 adults, 3 kids). It's going to sound a little like bragging, but it was over the top, a very, very special occasion with very, very good friends.

                Marinated overnight in a whole bottle of La Baux olive oil, Maldon sea salt, pepper, very healthy pinch of red pepper flakes, several sprigs thyme and sage. Grilled over mesquite to rare/medium rare, sliced after a 10 minute rest, and washed down with a 70 Heitz Martha's Vineyard and 74 Mouton. (The wines weren't my contribution.)

                I'd do something similar with your loins. Please don't go over 115 or so for internal temperature.

              2. re: Steve

                That's what I would suggest, too. Slice the rump roast into steaks.

                Sear on high in peanut oil and butter. Sear one side (about 1 minute?? don't let it burn), then add more oil and butter and sear the other side. Cover and remove from heat. It's not done yet, but let it sit covered and it keeps cooking to a medium rare. (If you want it more well done, put it in the oven, but it will dry out and toughen a little more, too)

                For a side, add a little butter to the same pan and saute some Swiss chard with little slivers of pepperoni. Add a little garlic and salt and serve with a side of Merlot peppercorn sauce. Mashed yams are good with it, too.

                Strong flavors.

              3. I had the same question a while back, well, this spring or summer. I thawed a venison "ham" (I don't know if that's a roast or what) and realized that I didn't know what day it was and it wasn't going to work (take to my Dad's house in another state to smoke). So I left it home in a plastic bag of stuff that was on hand. Spices, wine, oil, etc. - whatever the chowhounds had advised in general. When I came back, I braised it and put it in the oven on a low heat with the marinade. It turned out well, or good, I guess I should say as it was rare. I really liked it sliced thin and cold on salads.