Venison is game meat from the deer family, including deer, elk, and moose. It is less fatty than beef. Last fall, a co-worker gave Mr. B a really nice little piece of elk. We stuck it in the freezer until we could find the time to cook it. Fast forward to today. It was a cloudy, hazy winter day. Not quite right for solar cooking. Finding that piece of elk in the freezer, we decided it was a good day to practice our dutch oven cooking skills by making a venison pot roast.
Cooking in a Dutch Oven over charcoal requires a little bit of preparation and some fire building skills. But it is fairly easy. Mr. B used a fire chimney to help start the coals faster. After the charcoal was lit, they burned until they were white hot coals. Then they were spread into a circle. Coals were also put on the lid, again in a circle. The temperature of the oven is regulated by the number of coals used under the bottom and on the lid. While cooking, every 15 minutes the pot was turned 1/4 of a turn clockwise and the lid was turned 1/4 of a turn counter-clockwise. For full instructions on cooking in a Dutch Oven over coals, click here. Be sure to start more charcoal so that you can add more white hot coals as needed.
When the Dutch Oven was hot and the venison pot roast was prepared, the venison was seared in a small amount of olive oil. Then liquid was added to the Dutch Oven, and the lid was put back on.After about an hour, the vegetables were added to the Dutch Oven, the lid was replaced, and the cooking continued with the Dutch Oven being turned 1/4 clockwise and the lid 1/4 counter-clockwise every 15 minutes. This continued for another 2 hours until the vegetables were tender and the venison pot roast had reached an internal temperature of 160°.
Venison Pot Roast
- 3 - 4 lb boneless elk or deer roast
- 4 - 6 cloves of garlic
- olive oil to brown the roast
- salt, pepper, herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary) as desired
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup juice (cranberry, or apple)
- 1 - 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
- 3 - 4 medium red potatoes, quartered
- 3 - 4 carrots, cut into rounds ( I used baby carrots)
- With a paring knife, cut deep slits into the roast on all sides. Push cloves of garlic into the slits.
- Salt, pepper, and season with herbs as desired.
- Set aside and let the flavors combine while preparing the charcoal.
- Add a little olive oil to the Dutch Oven. When the coals are white, put the Dutch Oven on to heat.
- When hot, place the roast into the oven to brown. Turn it to sear on all sides.
- Remove the pot from the coals and rearrange 10 - 12 coals into a circle. Place the pot back onto the charcoal.
- Add the beef stock and the juice to the pot.
- Place the Dutch Oven cover on the pot and put 12-14 coals onto the lid. This will keep the oven temperature at about 250 ° - 300 °.
- After about an hour, add the vegetables.
- Continue to cook for about another 2 hours until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160° and the meat pulls apart easily.
- Take off the coals and let the meat rest for a while, with the lid on.
- To make gravy. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to 1 cup of water and mix until smooth. Remove the roast and vegetables from the pot. And place back onto the coals. Gradually add the flour paste to the juices in the pan and stir until thickened. Add salt and pepper if desired.
When cooking, every 15 minutes turn the pot ¼ turn clockwise and the lid ¼ turn counterclockwise. Add more white hot coals as necessary to keep the temperature steady.
Note: Venison has very little fat compared to beef and will be dry and tough if overcooked. Venison can be soaked in milk or buttermilk to remove some of the wild or "gamey" taste. Cooking the venison in apple or cranberry juice also helps to lessen the "gamey" flavor.
Next time a friend goes hunting, beg, barter, or buy a piece of it. What game meat do you like best? How do you cook it? Tell me your story or leave you comments below.