The denver leg is the name for the group of muscles that make up the leg of the deer: Rump, topside, silverside and knuckle. All have slightly different qualities, but are the most versatile cuts of the animal. While not being quite as tender as the fillet or loin, they have a deeper flavour and when cooked with care, can be some of the best eating on the animal.
Sear then roast these muscles whole, or cut into steaks for the BBQ.
Venison doesn't need much cooking - After a 2 minute sear on all sides, a 400g piece of leg may only need 4 - 5 minutes in a 190 degree oven.
Rest the cooked venison loosely covered with foil for at least 5 minutes. If it has cooled down too much, flash it back in the hot oven for 20-30 seconds before serving.
Slice against the grain to reveal perfectly blushing, medium-rare slices of juicy meat.
These are the most tender cuts on the deer. They are also the most subtly flavoured, so make sure not to overpower them with too strong a marinade.
The loin is perfect for slicing into even sized medallions to grill or cook in a pan with a lightly flavoured butter (lemon and thyme).
Alternatively try the fillet chopped raw as a tartare - mix with small measures of chives, ketchup, mustard, chopped capers, tobacco and an egg yolk to make an amazing, refreshing starter.
This meat is best cooked to medium rare at most, as any further cooking will dry the meat out.
The shoulders and shanks have a fair amount of connective tissue on them which is exactly what you want to keep your slow braises moist and it gives the finished sauce that incredible stickiness on your lips.
Heat a little duck fat or vegetable oil in a vessel big enough to hold your cut of meat. brown off the meat and then remove from the pan. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened. add the meat back to the vessel with any vegetables or flavourings you might like.
We love leek and mushroom. Half cover the meat with wine and stock and seal the vessel with a lid or tin foil.
Cook at 140 for 3 hours turn then cook a further 3-4 at 160.
You want the meat to easily pull away from the bone.
Serve with a buttery mash and some wilted greens.
-leftovers make a great ragu for pasta.
Treat this cut as you would a shoulder - cook low and slow.
Braise in stock or even a dark beer.
It should take about 4 hours at 170. Turn the meat halfway through cooking so that all the meat will spend some time in the chosen cooking liquid.
Allow the meat to cool in the liquid. When cool remove the neck and pick the now tender meat off the bone while you reduce the cooking liquid to a delicious rich gravy.
Like cooking a shoulder or shank, you are cooking until the meat easily comes away from the bone. You can eat this as is, or shred the meat and mix back into the gravy to make a deeply flavoured, comforting pasta sauce.
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