Slow roast shoulder of venison

This recipe produced a beautifully tender and tasty roast joint for a Sunday dinner. Venison is lean so the butter and bacon, and slow roasting over cider helped to keep it moist, as well as providing a lovely gravy.


Joint: 1 fallow venison shoulder on the bone (approximately 1–1.5 kg); 2 rashers back bacon; ½ tsp crushed dried juniper berries; ½ tsp ground black pepper; 4 slices unsalted butter

Roasting liquor: 1 x 500 ml bottle dry, farmhouse cider; 1 tbsp cider vinegar; 1 bay leaf; bunch of thyme; 1 stem rosemary; 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped; 1 small onion, roughly chopped; 1 green end of leek, roughly chopped; 4 small Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved; 1 quince, quartered or 4 small, Japanese quince, halved;   2 sticks celery, roughly chopped; ½ small fennel bulb, halved again; fennel seed, allspice, coriander, crushed; small piece cinnamon; parsley stalks; 4 garlic cloves, whole


Set oven to 220ºC.

Get a large roasting dish with a trivet and put all the liquor ingredients, including the cider and vinegar into this. Place the trivet in the dish and top up the liquid with water so that the level is just under the bottom of the trivet.

Place a piece of string long enough to tie the joint onto the trivet then place the venison onto this. Season the top of the venison with juniper and black pepper then place slices of butter onto this to cover the joint. Cover with the bacon then tie to hold the bacon in place. Place in the oven. After 10 minutes turn the temperature down to 150ºC. Roast for 3 hours 30 minutes.

Take the meat out of the oven and set aside. Place the now braised artichokes, quince, carrots and fennel with the meat. Strain the rest of the liquor through a sieve into a jug. Allow to separate then skim off the fat and keep. Place the liquid into a pan, boil vigorously and reduce  to about two thirds. Pour back into a jug. Warm some of the separated fat in the pan. Add about 1tbsp plain flour to make a roux. Slowly stir back in the reduced liquor to make a just thickened gravy.

Pull the meat away from the bone. Serve with the braised vegetables, your preferred trimmings and the gravy.


13 thoughts on “Slow roast shoulder of venison

  1. Anonymous says:

    I shall try tomorrow …Sunday lunch!

  2. Chose venison for diet reasons and chose this recipe for its simplicity – rather important as I broke a self imposed rule of not using new recipes first times at BIG occasions ! For our Christmas this was a great centre piece. Substituted light red wine (Montagne St Emilion) and red wine vinegar for cider – because of diet . They were great. First time I’ve roasted Quinces and they were delicious. The bacon corset worked out beautifully (I’ll try and share the photo ) Thanks. Peter G

  3. billjamieson says:

    I live on a small island off the coast of British Columbia over-run with Fallow deer (not native to this neck of the woods). I have been patiently waiting for a hunter friend to supply me a bone in shoulder roast to try something like this. Juniper berries aren’t carried by our local grocery stores so substituted dried sour cherries in the liquor. Quinces also aren’t easily come by, so again, substituted half a rutabaga, parsnips and a celeriac root. No trivet either so all the root veggies are supporting the roast….
    It’s in the oven and I’ll let you know how it shaped up.

    Thanks for the recipe

  4. billjamieson says:

    Well, dinner is done. The cherries were a great addition. The gravy was delicious. It was everything I was hoping for!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Its in the oven at the moment, it smells amazing! im wondering weather to put a foil cover on it though, any thoughts?

    • This is possibly a bit late, but for another time: if you feel foil would help go ahead, but if you have plenty of liquid underneath and fat on top you you should be fine. Hope it was good.

      Sent from my iPhone


  6. Anonymous says:

    I tried this last night. 3.5 hours was not nearly enough. It would have been much better if the meat had been in the liquor, covered in foil and given 2 more hours. As it was, it was tough not tasty and my husband wouldn’t eat it.

  7. I’m sorry to hear that. Different beasts may give different results, perhaps? If you try it the way you’ve suggested and it works out I’d be pleased to hear about it.

  8. Gretel says:

    Having scooped a road kill (3 to 4 year old buck), used garden veg, subsituted home made cider and an apple instead of quince. Sat the shoulder ‘dreckly (we’re in Cornwall) on top of all the veg/ roasting liquor ingredients…Actually cooked it for nearer to 4+1/2 hours, then whipped out the bigger herbs, mashed remaining veg before adding a pint of stock + some thickening, then strained the whole lot, made a very tasty easy gravy. Served with quick stir fried curly kale with leeks, steamed carrots and roast potatoes….what a feast, and almost all locally sourced! (not yet managed to grow juniper berries + didn’t churn my own butter, but is Cornish like the bacon! !)
    Thank you for the inspiration!

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