Smoked Venison Shank BBQ

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My family and I always process our own deer, and we take a lot of pride in using every single chunk of meat on the deer. The shank portions of the lower legs have usually always been cooked in a slow cooker for soups or stews, but last year we had a craving for deer BBQ, but we didn’t have a roast of any sort left to make it with. So we thawed out a pack of shanks, and discovered a new frontier for our BBQ adventures! The finished product was a fork tender, flavorful BBQ that I consider to be just as good as slow cooked pork.

What you will need:

Shank meat from all four legs of a deer

Old WoodFire Grill KK’s 10 BBQ, or your favorite BBQ rub

Thick cut bacon slices

Apple juice

Aluminum pan and aluminum foil


Hickory, pecan, oak, apple or cherry wood

For the injection:

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup Louisiana style hot sauce

3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon celery salt

1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Start out by combining the ingredients for the injection and mix well. Next, arrange the bacon slices as shown to create a bacon weave.

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Next, pile the shank pieces onto the bacon weave, arranging them so that the bacon can be wrapped around them. Inject the shanks with the injection mixture. If you have any left over, pour the rest over the pile of shanks. Notice that I took no pains in removing the silver skin and trimming the shanks nicely. It is just to tedious for me for these cuts of venison, and the slow cooking process that we employ in this recipe just cooks that stuff away anyway.

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Then, give the pile of shanks a nice coating of the BBQ rub. Wrap the bacon slices around the shank pile, using toothpicks to keep the bacon in place. Then give the bacon wrap a nice coating of the BBQ rub.

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Slow smoke the shank roast at 225 degrees to 250 degrees for 2-3 hours. I prefer using oak, hickory, pecan or apple for this recipe. For this particular cook I used a mixture of red oak and pecan, which is my mainstay for slow smoked pork. After a couple hours or so, place the roast in an aluminum pan and pour enough apple juice to cover about half the roast. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and put it back in the cooker for at least 2 more hours at 200 degrees to 250 degrees. The longer you let it go, the more tender it will be, but I have found that 2 hours smoked uncovered and 2 hours covered with the apple juice yields wonderful results. Notice the fork shredding the meat easily.

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Place the bacon wrapped shanks in a food processor and chop it up. Add some of the apple juice from the cooking pan for added flavor and moisture.

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Mix it up with your favorite BBQ sauce and enjoy!

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