Braised Venison Shoulder
This recipe very adaptable. It works for a variety of flavoring styles (mexican, greek, bbq, etc) and is dead simple.
It’s also excellent with other meats—even domestic—but is best with cuts rich in connective tissue, like shanks, neck, and of course shoulder (butt or chuck from pork or beef respectively).
Removing bones first may be necessary if you are trying to fit it into a slow cooker to finish cooking after browning in the oven. Otherwise leave any bones in until after it’s cooked, so long as everything fits in your pan.
For convenience you can skip the browning step and go straight to the braising, but it won’t have quite as much flavor.
The best stock for braising liquid would be venison or beef. Home made is best. If you don’t have that much stock handy, “Better Than Boullion” base (beef or pork or vegetable) is a fine substitute. It’s cheap and good and, yes, way better than bouillon. Most grocery stores have it in the soup aisle.
If the whole shoulder won’t fit in your pan without hanging over the edges, split it into 2 by working a knife through the shank joint. No need to be fussy about it, you’ll soon be pulling the meat off the bones anyway.
The recipe is also perfect for shanks and heels from the hindquarters—tough cuts with LOTS of connective tissue. They are transformed from a grinder-clogging annoyance into a lip-smacking treat. I freeze them whole (no trimming – yay!) and toss a couple in with the shoulder if there’s room.