The venison haunch is the top portion of one of the rear legs, also known as the round or the Denver leg. Although this cut does OK in faster cooking methods, such as broiling, sauteing or grilling, especially for more tender commercially raised venison, you can also opt to cook it slowly, which works well with a large haunch roast from wild venison.
Marinating the venison haunch before slow cooking helps to begin the tenderizing process. This is especially important with wild venison, which is tougher than farmed or ranched venison. For a homemade marinade that works well on all types of game, including venison, simmer oil, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, vinegar and herbs together for an hour. Strain the marinade and pour it over the venison haunch. Refrigerate the haunch in the marinade for up to 24 hours before cooking it. The vinegar in the marinade starts breaking down some of the tough muscle connections in the venison.
Slow cooking the venison in a braising liquid will help keep it moist throughout the whole process and keep it from getting chewy. For the liquid, use meat stock, dry red wine, beer or water with chopped carrots, onions and celery. Also add thyme, salt and pepper. If you have leftover marinade, you can include some of that in the cooking liquid as well.
Slow Cooking Method
There are three major ways to slow cook a venison haunch. In each method, the goal is to keep the cooking liquid barely at a simmer during the cooking time. On the stovetop, use a Dutch oven with a lid over the lowest heat setting, cooking the venison haunch like a pot roast. In the oven, set the temperature to 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and use a deep roasting pan. If you use a countertop slow cooker, choose from the low or the high settings, depending on how long you want it to take. If you want to cook the venison while you are at work or out of the house for the day, choose the low setting to avoid overcooking it. Cook the venison about one hour per pound on the stove or in the oven, one and a half hours per pound in a slow cooker on high or three hours per pound in a slow cooker on low.
Make the venison haunch look more appealing by searing it on all sides before slow cooking it. This gives the meat more color and flavor. Use a cast-iron skillet with some oil over medium-high heat to sear the venison for just a minute or two on each side. If you would prefer to make a slow-cooked venison stew instead of a large roast, cut the venison into pieces before marinating it. Add large chunks of vegetables for the last 45 minutes of cooking.
- Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer, et al.
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