Filson Food: Smoked Garlic Venison Shanks

cooked venison shanks with sauce

Ask a dozen hunters what their favorite cut of meat is on wild deer and you will likely get a handful who tell you it is shanks. The shank is a cut that gets a good work out, especially on wild game, and as a result it has a lot of flavor. Made up of a handful of muscles that all terminate at the joint on the shank, there is a lot of connective tissue holding it all together. When cooked properly, this connective tissue breaks down and adds a great richness and luster to any dish. This recipe is simple one, light on ingredients and lots of room for the shanks to take center stage and shine.

This recipe can be made with shanks from any animal, even crosscut beef shanks, just be sure to adjust the cook time accordingly.

Serve with a comfort side, cheesy polenta fits the bill perfectly.


2 Venison Shanks
Salt & Pepper
2 Tbsp Oil
2 Heads Garlic
¾ Cup White Wine
3 Cups Venison Stock, Beef or Vegetable Stock are great alternatives
2 Sprig Rosemary
1 Bunch Thyme


1. Pierce the shank meat with a small knife and season liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Cold smoke the shanks for an hour, more or less depending on your preference.

3. Roast both heads of garlic in a 375°F oven for 30-45 minutes or until the cloves are very soft to the touch.

4. Add the oil to a hot cast iron pan and sear the shanks on all sides until brown.

5. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half.

6. Add the remainder of the ingredients to the pan, the liquid should almost cover the shanks.

7. Peel the garlic, mix the cloves into a paste and whisk the paste into the liquid until it dissolves.

8. Cover the pan and roast the shanks in a 350°F oven for 3 hours. Turn the shanks in the liquid during the cooking.

9. If the liquid reduces before the shanks are done, add a small amount of stock or water.

cooked venison shanks plated