A friend’s older brother and father went to Colorado and shot a couple of mule deer. His mom cooked a roast from the deer and offered me a piece. It was tough, coarse, a bit gamey and it seemed the longer I chewed it the bigger it got in my mouth. Of course, being the most exotic piece of meat I’d ever bitten into, I savored it ever bit as much as a filet mignon from Ruth’s Criss.
Now, I’m not so enamored of roast venison. In fact, I once wrote a column claiming there’s no such thing as a good venison roast. I’ve eaten plenty of them. Some were tougher than others. Others were coarser than some. I’ve had gamey-tasting ones, bland ones and none I would ever ask for the recipe from the cook.
Don’t get me wrong, I love venison steaks. I enjoy venison hamburgers. Venison jerky is terrific. I’ll choose venison sausage over pork sausage. Just don’t roast it. So I decided to give it one last try.
I cut a 4 pound rump roast from a 1 ½ year old doe. I browned the roast on all sides in a bit of vegetable oil then transferred it to a slow cooker. The technique is called braising - slow roasting while covered with liquid. I made the braising liquid from one can of Beefy Mushroom soup, then using the soup can as a measure, I added a can full each of Burgundy wine and vegetable stock. I also mixed in a quarter cup of Dijon/horseradish mustard and a coarsely chopped onion. Low and slow was my goal. I adjusted the cooker until the liquid just barely boiled and cooked the roast for 8 hours.