Monday, February 27, 2012

Shredded Venison Tacos

A friend of mine and his son are avid deer hunters.  They live in the eastern part of the state where deer hunting season just ended a few months ago, and they killed several deer over the course of the season.  They hunt these animals for food rather than simply for sport, and they store the meat away and use it throughout the year.  I had been wanting some venison for some time, and they were kind enough to share with me.  In fact, every time I go home, they share something with me.  The time before last it was a huge bag of freshly dug sweet potatoes, and this time it was the deer and four large heads of collard greens.

I must stray from the topic of tacos for a moment to say that these friends often get things for very little or no money, and I admire their resourcefulness.  The sweet potatoes they gave me were dug from a field across from their house.  The man who owned the field had plowed and removed all the sweet potatoes from near the surface but had not dug deeper to get the ones below.  The man told my friend that, if he was willing, he could go across the road and dig the remaining potatoes.  After all was said and done, my friend made out with over 400 pounds of sweet potatoes, many small but edible nonetheless.  Don't you love people like that? 

Okay, back to the tacos.  The meat they gave me was a venison ham roast which I divided into two pieces.  I cut one half of it up into stew meat chunks which I froze, and the other half I cooked in the crockpot with taco seasoning.  After five hours on high, the roast was tender and literally fell apart with the touch of a fork.  The taco seasoning had given it just enough flavor while still allowing the flavor of the meat to come through.  It does have more flavor than beef tacos, but it is not gamey at all.   

To make this meat (which could just as easily be made with a beef roast), you simply brown the meat in a skillet before placing it in the slow cooker with the taco seasoning and a little water or broth.  Make sure to remove any silver skin and fat from the roast before cooking.  The silver skin will prevent the roast from getting as tender as you would like, while the fat carries a lot of the gamey flavor associated with deer meat.  I only cooked about 1 1/2 pounds because there are only two of us here, but you could cook more.  You may need to add a little additional water and seasoning if you increase the portion of meat you cook.

Shredded Venison Tacos- serves 4 (2 tacos per person)

For the meat:
1 tbsp ancho chile powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds trimmed venison roast
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water or beef broth

Additional Ingredients:
1 head of thinly sliced romaine lettuce
4 oz shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
8 corn taco shells (I used store-bought to save time)
salsa of choice

For the meat:
Mix the first 9 ingredients together and set aside.  Combine the flour and half the taco seasoning in a bowl and dredge the meat in the mixture.  Heat the oil in a skillet on medium high heat.  Brown the seasoned meat in the skillet on all sides.  Place the roast in the slow cooker along with the remaining taco seasoning and water.  Cover and cook on high 5 hours or low 8 hours.  When cooking time has elapsed,  shred the meat with a fork and stir.  The meat will absorb any remaining water and seasoning. 

To assemble:
Heat the taco shells in the oven according to package instructions.  Fill each shell with approximately two tablespoons of taco meat, a few ribbons of lettuce, and a small amount of cheese.  Top with salsa if desired and serve.


  1. That sounds amazing and I love the taco seasoning recipe included in the main recipe. I don't have anymore venison roasts left from this year's harvest, but I may be able to get a wild pork roast in the next few months. I will definitely give this one a shot! Thanks for sharing!

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