Learn how to cook a juicy, hearty venison roast with tender pan-roasted veggies. It’s easy, flavorful, and comes with a tried-and-true oven and slow cooker option!
My venison roast recipe has quickly become a family favorite in my house. With slow-cooked meat, flavorful pan-roasted veggies, and a savory gravy to tie it all together, it’s the perfect comfort dinner for every occasion.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Little prep time. Sear the meat, add the sauce ingredients, then let the oven take it from there. Aside from a few small tasks to finish the dish, you’ll mostly be hands-off.
- It’s healthy. Venison is full of lean protein, and the veggies pack plenty of fiber, so you can feel good about sharing this dish with your family.
- It’s simple yet sophisticated. The fall-apart meat is perfectly seasoned and has an unmistakable earthy flavor. Pair it with a rich gravy, potatoes, and carrots, and you’re looking at an elevated dish everyone will love.
What we love about this deer roast is that it’s an all-in-one dish. With barely any extra effort, you get a delicious roast plus a side and gravy on top. For more one-pot recipes, try our beef short ribs or oxtail soup.
Aside from the venison and juniper berries, the rest of the ingredients are simple pantry staples you likely have in your kitchen already. This is everything you need:
- Venison. Look for boneless venison loin, prime rib roast, or simply “venison roast,” which comes from the upper rump. Not all grocery stores stock this cut of meat so opt for your local butcher.
- Olive oil. For searing the roast.
- Kosher salt and black pepper. To taste.
- Beef stock. To build the gravy. If you can’t find beef broth or don’t have any on hand, use chicken or vegetable broth.
- Tomato paste. To add concentrated tomato flavor and richness to the gravy.
- Balsamic vinegar. Essential acidity to balance the rich flavor of the meat.
- Worcestershire sauce. For umami.
- Garlic. Preferably fresh.
- Italian herbs and bay leaves. To season the roast. You can use Italian seasonings (as I did) or a mix of herbs like thyme, parsley, and Rosemary.
- Juniper berries. Optional, but I’ve found adding juniper to gamey meats helps to reduce the gaminess and add a delicate tart and fresh flavor.
- Carrots, potatoes, and onion. For the pan-roasted veggies.
- Cornstarch. To thicken the gravy.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to roast venison
Step 1- Sear the venison: Add oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and season the roast with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then, sear the venison on all sides until it’s browned.
Step 2- Build the sauce: Add the beef stock, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and juniper berries to the pot and stir to combine. Then, add the garlic cloves and Italian herbs.
Step 3- Roast the venison: Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Allow it to roast for 4 to 5 hours or until the venison is tender.
Step 4- Add vegetables: Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots, potatoes, red onion, and bay leaves. Cover the pot and continue roasting for 2-3 hours or until the veggies are tender. Then, transfer the roast and veggies to a serving platter and tent them with aluminum foil.
Step 5- Make the gravy: Strain the cooking liquid from the pot into a separate saucepan. Discard any solids in the strainer. Then, place the saucepan over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with a little cold water to create a slurry. Whisk this slurry into the simmering liquid and stir until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.
Step 6- Assemble and serve: Shred the venison and serve it with the roasted vegetables and gravy.
Alternative cooking methods
Now, I know not all of you are okay with slow cooking the venison in the oven, so of course, I’ve tested this exact recipe in both the slow cooker and the instant pot (like a venison pot roast). Here is how:
Slow cooker/crock pot: Start by adding olive oil to a large pot and sear the venison until it’s browned, then transfer it to the bottom of the slow cooker. Next, add the sauce ingredients and mix to combine. Then, add the vegetables and bay leaves on top of the roast. Finally, put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours (or high for 3-4 hours) or until the meat and veggies are tender.
Instant pot: Start by seasoning the venison with salt and pepper. Sear it in the Instant Pot with olive oil. Next, remove venison and sauté minced garlic. Combine beef stock, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Italian herbs, and juniper berries. Now, return the venison to the Instant Pot and add the liquid mixture, and add three carrots, potatoes, onion, and bay leaves. Pressure cook for 60 minutes or until tender. Natural release the Instant Pot, then quick release. Remove the meat and vegetables and set aside. Finally, make a cornstarch slurry and whisk it into the Instant Pot liquid to make a gravy. Shred the venison and serve.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Bring the roast to room temperature. Place the roast on the counter for 30 minutes before searing so it cooks more evenly.
- Let the meat rest. My biggest tip for any hearty roast is to make sure the meat has time to rest before slicing. That way, the juices have time to redistribute.
- Pat dry the meat. Drying the meat with paper towels will help it brown and get a crisper exterior.
- Use a meat thermometer. Look for an internal temperature of 135F for medium rare, my preferred doneness for roasted venison.
- Serve with bread. While the roast is in the oven, whip up some garlic bread to soak up the gravy.
To store: Store leftover roast in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze: Store the cooled leftover roast in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months. Let the leftovers thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: Transfer leftovers to a baking dish and cover it loosely with foil. Reheat in an oven preheated to 350F for 12-15 minutes or until it’s fully reheated.
Frequently asked questions
The best way to guarantee tender roasted venison is to cook it low and slow, with plenty of moisture. Yes, this is a time-consuming recipe, but it’s very hands-off.
How long it takes to cook your venison depends on the meat cut and how you like it. Deer meat is typically best prepared medium-rare, at an internal temperature of 135F. For rare, look for 115F; for medium, look for 145F.
More hearty meat roast recipe to try
- Sirloin tip roast– An affordable cut that’s roasted until succulent and tender.
- Ribeye roast– Mouthwatering meat covered in aromatics and garlic butter.
- Top round roast– Seasoned, juicy meat prepared with the perfect balance of seasonings.
- Roasted boneless turkey breast– I make this for my family year-round!
- London broil– Lean beef marinated and broiled until it melts in your mouth.
- 4 pounds venison
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries optional
- 5 large carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 pound baby potatoes
- 1 large red onion halved
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons water
- Preheat your oven to 160C/325F.
- In a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the venison roast with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then, sear the venison on all sides until it's nicely browned, about 4 minutes.
- Pour in the beef stock, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and juniper berries (if using). Stir to combine all the ingredients. Add the garlic cloves and Italian seasoning to the pot.
- Cover the pot and place it in the preheated oven. Allow it to roast for 4 hours or until the venison is tender.
- Remove from the oven and add the carrots, baby yellow potatoes, red onion, and bay leaves to the pot.
- Cover the pot and place it again in the oven. Allow it to roast for 2 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the venison and vegetables to a serving platter. Cover them with foil to keep them warm.
- To make a gravy, strain the cooking liquid from the pot into a separate saucepan. Discard any solids left in the strainer. Place the saucepan over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with a little water to create a slurry. Gradually whisk this slurry into the simmering liquid to thicken the gravy. Keep stirring until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.
- Shred the venison roast, and serve it with the vegetables and the gravy.
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