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SMOKED VENISON SHOULDER "HAM" WITH SORGHUM BROWN SUGAR GLAZE

Updated: Jan 10


Smoked Venison Shoulder
Smoked Venison Shoulder


There's nothing like the classic American baked ham during the holidays. Here I wanted to create a ham using venison in a way that it would still be moist and succulent after sitting on the table during a long holiday dinner. So rather than cooking a whole boneless muscle and shaving it thinly as you would a pork ham, I opted for slow cooking a bone-in shoulder until fork tender and then smoking low and slow. 


This type of shredded ham is perfect as the main course for your holiday dinner or it can be left in a slow cooker on the warm setting with a little of the saved cooking liquid and let your guests nibble as they wish. Like in the video I made for this recipe, I sometimes like to serve these in the style of “hot ham and cheese”, which works great with leftovers or served as sliders for a delicious appetizer. 



Special Tools Needed



Ingredients


For the brine


For slow cooking the venison

  • ½ of an onion, chopped

  • 1 head of garlic

  • 1 large carrot, chopped


For the glaze






Smoked Deer Shoulder Brine



Directions


For the venison ham


  1. Make the brine. Heat one quart (4 cups) of water from the 1 gallon of water listed in the ingredients to a simmer. Pour the hot water into a large bowl or pot that is big enough to fit the venison shoulder. Add the remaining brine ingredients (not the venison), and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Pour in the remaining 3 quarts of water to the brine. Place in the refrigerator until it is thoroughly chilled.

  2. After the brine has chilled, add the venison shoulder, ensuring that it is fully covered. You may need to add a plate to weigh the meat down enough to stay submerged. Let the meat brine in the refrigerator for 4 days.

  3. Remove the venison from the brine and place into a slow cooker (crockpot). Add the head of garlic, onion and carrots. Cover the venison ¾ of the way with water. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on the “low setting” until just tender. This can take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours.

  4. Remove the slow cooker crock from the cooker. Let rest at room temperature until it's cool enough to handle. Place in the crock insert in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

  5. Heat your smoker between 180 and 210 degrees F.

  6. Place the venison on a baking tray that will fit inside of the smoker. Smoke the venison for up to 1 ½ to 2 hours while basting with the cooking liquid from the slow cooker every 30 minutes.

  7. Brush a generous amount of the glaze all over the meat (see glaze directions below). Smoke for an additional 30 minutes. You can smoke longer than 30 minutes, but I recommend basting with more glaze if doing so. 



For the glaze

  1. Place all of the glaze ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and then stir to combine the ingredients. If needed, microwave in 30 second increments until the mixture can be easily stirred and dissolved.






Smoked Pulled Venison
Photo by Larry White

Meet Larry White
Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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