A warm mug of rich, subtly smoky broth scented with herbs is delicious and a great bonus during hunting season. I think my venison bone broth recipe is the best you'll ever have, but takes a little more work than typical bone broth or deer stock as I use the lower portion of the legs. Read on and I'll explain how to make it, and what you can do with it.
Meat Broth vs Bone Broth
The biggest difference between meat stock and bone broth is that bone broth should gel and solidify when chilled, and it's typically cooked for at least 12-24 hours.
Another difference is that stock technically doesn't include salt. When stock is seasoned with salt to taste, it becomes broth. This can be confusing, since boxes of meat stock and broth at a grocery store will both include salt as a preservative.
Bone broth is also complete protein, containing all 22 essential amino acids your body needs. It's essentially a steak in a glass. Commercial meat stocks can be made from concentrates and will not have the same nutrient profile.
Safety (Bones You Can Use)
Some people in areas with Chronic Wasting Disease might wonder if deer bone broth is safe.
To be clear: it is perfectly safe to make bone broth from deer. However, out of an abundance of caution, the spine isn't used. If you use farmed venison, or you've had your deer tested for CWD you could use the spine.
My good friend Hank Shaw has the best article on CWD I've read if you need a refresher.
How to Make Venison Bone Broth
The most important thing is trimming the venison feet. First the legs are cut with a saw at the knee joint (technically the ankle).
Next the fur and skin is removed, and the hoof portion is cut off with a saw, or it can be washed, scrubbed, and trimmed and cooked with the bones for extra collagen.
After the bones are cut into pieces that will fit in a slow cooker they're smoked for a couple hours. You can also roast them in the oven.
Next the bones are put into a slow cooker with celery, onion, a bay leaf or other herbs and water and cooked for 12-24 hours. At the half way point, add extra water to account for water lost through evaporation.
At the 12 hour mark I like to test the set of the stock, but it's optional. To do it, take a few spoonfuls of stock and put it in a metal bowl set in ice water. After 20 minutes, it should be jellied.
When you're ready to finish, remove the bones and strain the stock through cheesecloth. Season the stock with salt and chill it. Remove the fat from the top and discard, then warm it up, portion into containers and refrigerate, can or freeze it.
A cornerstone of classic French cuisine, a remoulage stock is made by taking bones that have been boiled once, and cooking them a second time, often for a longer period of time than the first stock.
The remoulage technique is often used for very large bones like veal knuckles and large beef bones. Unlike bone broth, It may include tomato and wine to help draw out the collagen. I illustrate the method in the video at the end of this post.
When made correctly, it will gel when cooled just like bone broth and can make a great soup base.
- The broth can be used in cooking where you might use demi glace. In the video I demonstrate how to use it to make brandy peppercorn sauce with brick cap mushrooms.
- Make sure to season your stock with salt to taste before storing. Salt it an important preservative and will enhance the shelf life of your bone broth.
- Venison bone broth makes a delicious healthy drink. Warm it up with a sprig of rosemary, thyme or sage and a dash of fresh lemon juice and sip it from a mug.
Smoked Venison Bone Broth
- 1 Large crock pot or slow cooker
- 1 Smoker (optional)
- 1 Strainer
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 Reciprocating saw
- 5 lbs Venison bones Ideally including 4 venison feet/shins, leg bones, and a few ribs.
- 1.5 gallons cold water
- 1 large white onion halved
- 2 ribs celery roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic whole
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt to taste
- 1-2 dried bay leaves
- Sprigs of fresh thyme, sage, or rosemary
- 1 whole lemon, cut into wedges
- Extra virgin olive oil to garnish, optional
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1.5 gallons water
- 1 large white onion
- 3 cloves garlic
Prep and cut the bones
- Cut the venison leg bones off at the knee. Trim them with a knife and remove the skin, then cut into ⅓rd's using the saw.
- Cut the other leg bones in half using the saw.
Smoke or roast the bones
- Preheat an oven or smoker to 300 F. Cook the bones for 1 hour, or until browned and completely cooked.
Make the stock
- Put the bones into a slow cooker with the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 12-24 hours. Make sure all the bones are covered with water.
- Alternately, you can use a large pot and cook the broth covered at a bare simmer.
- If you cook the bones for 24 hours, add water to bring the pot back to its original volume at the half way point. The longer you cook it, the stronger the natural gelatin will be.
- Remove the bones and add salt until it tastes good to you. !/2 teaspoon of salt per quart is good for drinking. If you want to cook with it, add half the salt.
- Strain the broth through cheesecloth and chill.
- Remove the fat and discard.
- Warm the broth, transfer to containers to put in the fridge or freezer. It will last in the fridge for up to a week.
- Put a small sprig of thyme, rosemary or sage in a mug for each person.
- Warm up the broth, double check the seasoning, add a splash of fresh lemon juice and a thread of olive oil if using, and serve.
- Put the cooked bones back into the slow cooker with the remoulage ingredients.
- Cook on low heat for 24 hours, then strain and proceed as for the regular bone broth.
- You can can venison bone broth if you have a pressure cooker. It can also be frozen or stored in the fridge for up to a week.
- Large, two-gallon freezer bags work well for storing bones until you need them.