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How to Cook Venison Shoulder Roast in a Slow Cooker

by Caryn Anderson, studioD

Cooking a venison shoulder roast in your slow cooker is one of the best ways to tenderize the meat. Since venison is lean, it's best to add some cooking liquid so that it cooks in a moist environment, preventing it from becoming dry or tough. As an added bonus, once you prepare the roast and get everything into the slow cooker, you can pretty much turn it on and go about your day.

Prepare the venison roast by trimming all of the visible fat and connective tissue from the outside of the roast, and patting it dry with paper towels. Fat and connective tissues tend to be the source of strong flavor. By trimming it off, you reduce the gaminess of your meat.

Season the venison shoulder. You can keep it simple by using salt, black pepper and some chopped fresh herbs such as thyme and sage. Alternatively, you can make a dry rub with bolder flavor by combining garlic and onion powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and dry mustard with salt and black pepper.

Place the roast in your slow cooker along with some cooking liquid. This liquid will help tenderize the venison shoulder as it slowly cooks. The liquid can be as simple as some stock, wine or beer. You could also make a sauce for your roast. For example, you could combine equal parts of ketchup, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar with some dried mustard and cayenne pepper to make a zesty, barbecue-inspired sauce.

Cook the venison shoulder roast on high for 1 hour before reducing the slow cooker's heat to low, and cooking the roast for another 7 to 8 hours, or until the venison shoulder is fork-tender and a meat thermometer reads at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Items you will need
  •  Sharp knife
  •  Paper towels
  •  Seasonings, spices and herbs
  •  Cooking liquid
  •  Fork
  •  Meat thermometer


  • Reduce the gamey flavor of the venison by marinating it overnight with an acidic marinade containing vinegar, freshly squeezed citrus juice, tomato juice or wine. You can also soak the roast for about 1 hour in a container filled with enough vinegar water to cover the roast. To make vinegar water, mix 2 tablespoons of your favorite vinegar in every quart of water.
  • Cut the shoulder -- or ask your butcher to cut it -- into smaller, uniform pieces if it's too big to fit in your slow cooker.
  • Make it a complete meal by tossing vegetables such as chopped acorn squash, carrots and Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of cooking oil, salt and pepper. Then place the vegetables on the bottom of the slow cooker, and put the venison shoulder on top of the vegetables.


  • Avoid cross-contamination by washing your hands, cutting boards, knives and any utensils or surfaces that come into contact with raw venison meat.

About the Author

Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.

Photo Credits

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