Braised Venison Shanks in Guinness

Cooking is one of those things that make me very happy. I love to try new recipes and make food that just tastes good. It’s easy for me to get excited over the things I cook, to be honest. But when I can make magic happen with lesser cuts of meat that we have raised or hunted ourselves and be able to say I have really made use of every bit of edible meat on the carcass, it makes me very, very happy. I hate waste.

The shanks on a deer are often overlooked, either the meat is ground up or it is wasted completely. Few people understand how to cook them, but I am here to tell you the shanks can make an absolutely delicious meal. Don’t clog up your grinder trying to grind up all the meat and connective tissue, and certainly don’t let them go to waste (or hey, send ’em my way!! haha).

If you are processing yourself, the shanks can easily be removed from the deer without any power equipment. You could make it easy on yourself and use a saw but it’s not necessary. If you cut the tendons and bend the joints the right way, you can dislocate the shank beautifully.

Venison shanks are one of those cuts that don’t really have many cooking options. Due to all the connective tissue located in the meat, cooking low and slow is really your best bet. The tissues will melt, providing flavor (oh, delicious flavor) and tender meat. The meat will fall right off the bone and then you can use the meat as you would any other shredded venison. Make a gravy from the resulting sauce and use the meat and gravy to top mashed potatoes or cheesy grits!

I like to cook mine in a dutch oven, however the crockpot is also a great option if you won’t be home all day. Follow directions until you place everything in the oven – instead, place shanks in the crockpot and pour the sauce over them. Cook on low 8-10 hours.


  • 4 shanks
  • Salt and pepper
  • A few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced kind of thick
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 12 oz. Guinness, extra stout
  • 1 pint tomato sauce
  • ½ ts basil
  • ½ ts oregano
  • ½ ts onion powder
  • ½ ts garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-14 oz. Cans vegetable broth
  • 1ts beef bouillon
  • 1tb Worcestershire sauce



  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Rinse shanks and pat them dry.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper over your shanks.
  5. Brown all sides of the shanks except the side where the bone is exposed. Browning this may lead to premature separation of meat from the bone while cooking. When browned, set aside.
  6. In the same skillet, add the onion, celery and carrot. The onions will release some juices which will help deglaze the pan a bit and prevent sticking.
  7. Once the vegetables are soft, raise the heat. Once the skillet is hot and the bottom is dry, carefully add the beer. It will steam and sizzle. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to release the browned bits. Once the steaming slows and most of the alcohol has cooked off, add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
  8. Place the shanks back in the sauce mixture, then cover and place in the oven.
  9. Cook for 3-5 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone and is extremely tender.
  10. Remove as much of the meat and vegetables as you can so you can prepare a gravy from the sauce.
  11. Bring the sauce to a boil – if it’s nearly thick enough you can leave it be. But if there is still a loose sauce, you can combine cornstarch in a tablespoon or two of water and add it a little at a time until you have reached your desired consistency.

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