This Venison French Dip is the perfect way to utilize an underappreciated cut of meat.
Living in Texas comes with a lot of exotic animals. You can go on a nice little drive through the hill country and see a variety of African and Asian animals behind their high game fences. A quintessential Texas exotic is Axis deer. Axis deer were first introduced to Texas in 1932. Some ended up escaping and today the populations are estimated to be around 25,000+ free ranging and 100,000+ behind game fences in the state according to the Exotic Wildlife Association in the state of Texas.
Because of their high numbers Axis deer can be seen as nuisances in some locations. I was offered a cull doe for this very reason, to which I happily accepted! I was given a full gutted axis doe and my husband, and I broke it down and processed it ourselves. I had been wanting to make a Venison French Dip out of shanks for a while and this was my chance!!
The shank on a deer is often thrown away or ground up. This is an easy way to save that meat and tenderize it to scrumdiddlyumptious perfection.
While there is a little work involved before the meat can be left in the crockpot, this recipe is very straightforward and easy. Plus, your whole family will love it! Even your pickiest eater… mine sure did!
By cooking the shank low and slow, the connective tissue, fascia, and collagen are able to breakdown, adding a silkiness to the recipe. Aiding this process are the juices from the meat and additional liquid ingredients that help keep the meat moist.
A good French dip is always a go to pick at any restaurant for me. Being able to incorporate it with a meat cut that is often set aside is fulfilling (and delicious). I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did!
P.S. In un-French dip like fashion, but typical Sophie fashion, in order to bring up the heat, I added pepper relish. It was freaking great.
Venison French Dip
- 6-8 hoagie rolls
- 12 slices provolone
- 3.75 lbs roast I used 3 axis deer shanks
- 10 oz beef broth (low sodium) 1 can
- 1 can French onion soup
- 1 onion sliced
- 3 T Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 tsp pepper plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 tsp salt plus more for seasoning
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp rosemary dried
- 1/2 tsp thyme dried
- 1 light beer I used a Non-Alcoholic Heineken beer
- 6 T butter
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat.
- Thoroughly season your shanks with salt and pepper to taste.
- Brown your shanks and onions in the butter (Should take around 2-3 minutes per side). Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside.
- Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and continue to brown your onions for around 5 more minutes or until browned and soft.
- Pour the pan into the crockpot and add your meat.
- Add the rest of the ingredients into the crockpot and then cook on low for 8-10 hours.
- After 8 hours, or when meat becomes tender, remove the shank bones.
- Shred the meat.
- Separate meat and au jus sauce (the juice from the cooked meat). Save the sauce to dip in.
- Assemble your sandwiches as you wish. I added the meat and provolone to the hoagie roll and put it in the oven on broil to melt the cheese and toast the bun, but you do not have to.
- Dip your sandwich in the au jus and ENJOY!!!