Thursday, February 24, 2011

Deershank Redemption

Most hunters aren't quite sure what to do with the shank. Elk, deer, antelope. But nothing gets wasted here. This book is one of the best I've seen if you've never processed your own meat and need detailed, pictorial instructions (and don't worry folks, those are painting drop cloths, not the scene of violent meat mayhem).

Shanks (the lower part of the leg) have a lot of sinew and connective tissue so there really isn't a lot you can do to make them tender or tasty. So they usually get ground up into burger. Nothing braises quite like a shank, whether it be lamb, beef, veal or, in this case, venison, but if you are short on actual prep time, a marinade makes a good alternative. For the hunters out there, we all know that we really shouldn't’t waste the shanks of the deer, elk or antelope we shoot and with the right prep you can get a tasty supper. Prep is the key. Muscles that get a lot of work, though tough as all get out, are full of flavor.

A proper marinade is easy, and will help to break down the connection tissue into a silky coating that will tenderize and sweeten the meat. Add in a little spice and some savory bacon. . . .

I made this a weekend or two ago, and it was a hit.

Bacon Wrapped Venison Shanks

2 lbs venison shank per person. For each add:
1/2 lb bacon (Plain, thin-sliced Bacon is best)
3 cups dark brown sugar
2 cups soy sauce
2 heaping teaspoons of ground ginger
dash of garlic powder (or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic).

Mix sugar, soy and seasoning in a large zip lock bag (you can use more than one bag if you have several helpings, I usually only have four to prep unless I got the Three Mile Island Whitetail). Poke just a few shallow holes in the venison with a fork. Add venison shank(s) to the marinade in the bag. Put in the fridge at night and let marinate until dinner tomorrow.

Remove the shank(s) and place on a slotted bake sheet with a drip pan or aluminum foil below to catch dripping. Don't throw away marinade.

Wrap the shank in uncooked Bacon. You may use more than 1/2 a pound, just make sure the shank is covered, securing it as needed with a toothpick or two.

Drizzle some of the the remaining marinade over the meat. You want enough to moisten the meat and also a little in the bottom of the pan so you can continue to baste the shank with the marinade throughout the cooking process with a brush or a turkey baster.

Place on center rack in oven and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. This should cook the meat to about rare. If you want it more cooked, even with the searing step that follows, add 5-10 minutes. This is a naturally tough piece of meat so leaning towards rare will give you the better cut and taste.

Remove shank from oven and place the shank directly on a grill over medium-high heat for a minute to sear the bacon and outer shank. If you wish to pass on this step, cook the shank at 300 degrees F. for an hour and a half, remove and let rest five minutes and slice and serve. The bacon won't be as crispy but it will be as good.


  1. I name thee Temptress! That last picture would try a vegetarian's resolve.

  2. Looks fantastic. Too bad the pixels can't transmit the smell.

  3. You're making me even sadder that my first attempt at deer hunting this past November ended in naught.`

  4. I think that marinade would make even carp taste good.


  5. "Wrap the shank in uncooked Bacon."

    Sheer poetry.........

    You've probably seen this, but if not--bacon cups......:

    I am SO going to start learning to weave...........bacon, that is......................

  6. Prosciutto plaid woven...slathered with a paste made of brown mustard, liverwurst, wild currants and a dab of horseradish...THEN wrap those shanks with the wrap and braise.

    Preferably in a Rhinefalz Kabinett and spring water.

    Tell me what ya' think.

  7. Alright, you convinced me, I'll give it a try next season...

    Dann in Ohio

  8. See's the headlines now

    Brigid's HOME ON THE RANGE cookbook banned by FLOTUS Obama for having to many good things to eat and waist line expansion drawers

  9. Well, how about that. Duelling Stephens. I need to try this one. I just happen to have a couple mule deer shanks in the freezer. In the past I've always went with the classic braising in a red wine/mirepoix deal. Good, but heavy. Brigid, you got me thinking about those Asian flavors. Lighter, cleaner. I gotta go take some shanks out of the freezer. :-)

  10. Always enjoy the recipes but this bacon obsession.....

    Do you have a bacon ice cream dish?

  11. Temptress indeed! (and I mean that in a very GOOD way!)
    I also agree that weaving bacon is a very good thing! YUMMO!

  12. Why do you do this,out of all the blog sites i read this one along with "Breda Fallacy" nearly always end up making me hungry.I'm with the Rev.Paul on this one,and by the way loved your toe truck line on his site.

  13. I am so happy that you reviewed this book. We process our own meat...but learned through trial and error. I've looked at this book and looked at it but never ran across anyone that has USED it and what they thought of it.

    And anything cooked with bacon is #1 in my book! I'm definitely going to try this recipe ASAP.

  14. that does look really good, I wonder if I can convince my father-in-law to give me the shanks next year instead of grinding them. Hmmmm, course next year I'll hopefully have dear of my own to deal with so it might not be a problem!

  15. Does the recipe work just as well if the shanks are de-boned? Our state's DNR strongly recommends de-boning venison due to concerns over CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease).

  16. Mrs. S. yes, I would think you could saute just a little bit of carrots sliced matchbook thin, some garlic and perhaps a little onion and put that inside the deboned meat and wrap the meat around the veggies and secure with the bacon. Then I'd cook it at a lower temperature. Should work.

  17. Thanks for noticing my blog header! You rock! I thought that sucker was so creative and not many people have mentioned it...of well all that matters is that I love it!

    I just ordered the book from Amazon. Thanks! I feel the same as you...I like to process my own because then I know how and what was done with it!


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