Polish Venison Pot Roast

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I have a lot of venison recipes that work well with a Crock Pot or slow cooker, but this venison pot roast is actually designed for one.

What you see is my version of the good ole’ pot roast pretty much everyone ate while growing up. What makes it Polish? Only that I found a similar recipe in a book called Polish Heritage Cookery by Robert and Maria Strybel. I like the use of flour and paprika, and the overnight wine marinade, each of which add a layer of flavor to the final dish.

Venison pot roast made in a crock pot, served on a platter.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

A venison pot roast is a bit different from the classic Jewish pot roast I ate as a kid. That pot roast was always made with beef brisket, a luscious, fatty cut that lends itself to slow and low cooking. Just ask the Texans about that one. Try to make a pot roast from a deer, elk or moose brisket and you’ll run up against its leanness. It will still be OK, but lack that lush texture of beef brisket.

And if you try to make a venison pot roast with a hind leg roast you will be super sad. Why? No internal fat, not enough connective tissue. It’ll be dry as hell. Really unpleasant. Hind leg roasts are best done as single-muscle roasts, ideally smoked, and cooked to a finishing internal temperature of about 135°F, which is medium-rare.

Nope, you need another cut for a good deer pot roast. And the best cut of all is the neck. Yes, you read that right. Either pot roasted whole and bone-in, which I do for smaller animals, or cooked as a boneless venison neck roast, which I do for elk. You will find that this is the finest cut for slow, low, moist cooking.

Why? Because a neck is the opposite of a hind leg roast. It’s loaded with connective tissue. And in the absence of internal fat, connective tissue, which melts when cooked slowly under moist conditions, provides that luxurious texture you want in a good pot roast.

Other good candidates for pot roast are whole deer shoulders, big shoulder roasts from larger animals, or shanks. All have lots of connective tissue. I have a cool deer shoulder pot roast recipe here

I prefer bone-in venison pot roasts for the most part, but then I don’t live in an area with chronic wasting disease. If you do, bone out the neck. It is true that CWD has never crossed the species barrier to humans, but better safe than sorry. Ditto for the shoulder.

You will see in the instructions that I don’t use a Crock Pot or slow cooker, largely because I work from home and can monitor a slow-cooking pot roast all day. If you use a Crock Pot, you will need to brown the meat and onions before you put things into your slow cooker. Once everything is all settled into the pot, turn it on “high” and your slow cooker will do its thing all day while you are at work.

Crock Pot Venison Roast

If you are using an Instant Pot or a similar pressure cooker for venison pot roast, you will want to set it for about 80 minutes, more or less. Since it is wild game, cooking times will vary, but that should get you close.

One important thing to remember, whether you are using a Crock Pot, Instant Pot or are cooking things normally, is that it takes time for a venison pot roast to get tender. Tough meat is simply not ready yet: Period, end of story. Keep cooking it.

Needless to say my choice of root vegetables is my own. Feel free to play with it to suit your own tastes. Just remember: Don’t skimp on the marinating time or on the onions. They make a big difference.

Venison pot roast made in a crock pot, served on a platter.
4.96 from 24 votes

Venison Pot Roast, Polish Style

I prefer to use a large neck roast for this recipe, but you could of course use other cuts, like a shank or a shoulder or even a hind leg roast. The long slow simmer melts all the connective tissue in the neck and gives you an intensely flavored, yielding piece of meat to either tear apart roughly or slice thick and serve. Note that a boned-out neck will be sliceable, but not in clean cuts unless you chill the meat overnight before slicing. Why bother with that, though? Eat it messy.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Polish
Servings: 6 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 6 to 10 allspice berries, cracked
  • 6 to 10 black peppercorns, cracked
  • 3 bay leaves
  • A 2 ½ to 4 pound neck roast, boned or bone-in
  • Salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne (optional)
  • ¼ cup lard, bacon fat or cooking oil
  • 2 onions, sliced root to tip
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 2 parsnips, cut into large chunks
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 rutabaga or 2 turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Sour cream, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Bring the wine, allspice, black peppercorns and bay leaves to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the marinade cool to room temperature. When it’s cool, submerge the venison neck in the marinade and keep in the fridge overnight, or up to 4 days.
  • Mix the flour, paprika and cayenne (if using) together in a large bowl or shallow container large enough to hold the neck roast. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and salt it well. Coat it in the flour-paprika mixture. Heat the lard in a large Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot and brown the meat. With a typical neck roast you will need to cut it into two pieces to get it to fit the pot. Brown one piece and then remove while you brown the other. If you are using a bone-in neck, just turn the meat to brown all sides. When the meat has browned, remove it from the pot and set aside for a moment.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Add the sliced onions to the pot and brown them well, stirring occasionally. This should take about 8 minutes. Add 2 cups of the marinade and bring it to a boil. Add the venison back to the pot, along with 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  • After 1 1/2 hours have elapsed, add the root vegetables and celery and continue to cook for another 1 ½ hours, or until the meat is falling apart and the root vegetables are tender.
  • Remove the meat and set on a cutting board. Slice roughly or pull the meat off the bones. Taste the sauce and add salt if it needs it. Add black pepper to taste and serve with the meat and vegetables, with a dollop of sour cream alongside.

Nutrition

Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 1052mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 7462IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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41 Comments

  1. Based on your size description, I estimated My neck roast to be half the size. It fits easily into my Dutch oven pan. So I did An hour at 300 both times and made sure to cut my veggies into smaller portions.
    Everything was cooked through. The meat wasn’t too tough but wasn’t tender either. Tasted bland. Like it didn’t have much flavor at all. I even Added garlic salt and onion powder to the flour mix.
    What did I do Wrong? Was it over cooked?

  2. Ever try a recipe the first time and it is instantly one of your favorites? Well that happened today with this one. It is awesome! I am trying to be better about over eating but this one pot meal wrecked that for today!

    Can not wait for the fish book!

  3. I can’t believe I used to bone out the neck for jerky. Never again! This recipe creates a mouthwatering, fall off the bone recipe. Delicious.

  4. I’m glad I found this. I’ve tried everything to make a deer or elk hind leg pot roast decent and failed everytime. My son inlaw and I still eat it but the result is not worthy of the animal. There is just no way to make up for those cut’s lack fat or connective tissue.

    I guess I could try the neck for a pot roast but my family won’t allow me to change from your simple barbacoa recipe that everyone loves for those bone-in neck roasts.

  5. Hank,
    I’ve got a large whitetail neck roast that I want to keep whole for a gathering of friends and family but it won’t quite fit in my Dutch oven. Could I use an electric roaster? If so bag or no bag? Time and temp?

    1. Matt: I’ve never used an electric roaster, sorry. You could put it in a roasting pan and cover the whole thing with foil.

      1. I’ve done that with large neck roasts. I cover with two layers of aluminum foil as tightly as I can, then roast at a very low temperature (225-250F) for 10-12 or even 18 hours. Works great.

  6. Hank,

    Do you have a recommendation for wine substitute, something that is not alcoholic? I have a venison neck roast that I am looking forward to cooking with this recipe.

    Thank you!

  7. Before I came across this recipe in Buck, Buck, Moose I would painstakingly trim up neck meat for the grinder. That will very likely never happen again due to how easy it is get a neck roast off a deer compared to trimming and also how absolutely delicious this recipe is. I used a roast from a 2.5 year buck that a friend did not want the meat from and fed it to a small crowd. It was great.

  8. Do you still want to trim any silver skin from the outside of the roast like you traditionally would for venison or is that considered “connective tissue?”

  9. Hi Hank,

    Long time follower, first time commenter.

    Every single venison recipe of yours that I have made has received rave reviews from the venison goulash to the venison chili and to my all time favorite recipe; the venison with morel sauce! Your website is now my first stop for wild game recipes and I’ve gifted your cookbook to several other hunters.

    This pot roast recipe is no exception. This recipe is simply phenomenal. It’s straight forward, pretty simple to execute, and absolutely delicious. It turns out that I love rutabaga and parsnip now! They added a wonderfully earthy, nutty, and sharp flavor to the dish. In my own notes I would use a dryer wine next time (I bought a cheap red blend because I was being stingy which made the sauce sweeter than I anticipated). The leftovers were incredible after they had melded overnight, I served them the second day with a drizzle of red wine vinegar and some horseradish sauce to cut the sweetness and it was divine. Thank you for another great recipe!

    Happy Hunting!

  10. I had polish style venison roast on my to cook list for a while. I finally got around to cooking it last night since I had some leftover red wine my wife and I no longer wanted to drink. A few adjustments were made due to necessity, the first being using a bottom roast from my ’18 cow elk, purple onions, fingerling and sweet potatoes instead of Idaho golds cause that is what we had on hand.

    Thankfully, it got real cold around here so cooling the marinade was no problem. Soaked the roast for 4 days. Remember to save some reserve marinade and I recommend do not put it into a drinking glass. As I was cooking, I was have a drink and got the two jars confused…. was quite the surprise. Also, make sure to leave plenty of time for the roast and root vegetables to cook. Made this on a weeknight after work and it turned into a late night, but worth it.

    Thanks again Hank for another great recipe. Overall, the recipe had great depth in flavor and the wife thought it was pretty healthy also.. The sour cream was a great topping for me. Can’t wait to heat up the leftovers for lunches.

  11. Lean meat always come out dry but add in a layer of bacon on top of it or better yet make small incisions and slide in some Pieces of bacon ends an pieces and it’s juicy again.

  12. The bone-in application might lend itself especially to pronghorn antelope. In regards to CWD, pronghorn are not members of the deer family and do not seem to contract CWD. We have a fresh antelope bone-in neck roast that we are excited to try this recipe with!

  13. Hi Hank, first time I made this (with a neck), it was amazing. Then I tried it with a “football roast” and it turned out pretty dry and not so good. As you pointed out above I was super sad. I did the corned venison with a football roast and it was great. What are your other favorite recipes for this cut?

  14. I’m going to make this with yak neck ( there is a local yak rancher here in Ashland, Oregon) and I have a question. When I make pastrami (it’s great made with yak brisket, btw) I add a carefully calculated amount of nitrite (curing salt) to the brine in which the meat soaks for a few days. Why is that not necessary for a lengthy marinade such as that in this recipe (up to 4 days)? Is the alcohol in the wine sufficiently protective? I think I’m probably just missing something in making this comparison.

  15. This is among my favorites of your recipes. I usually do it as more of a stew with cubed meat and make the marinade with apple cider that gives it a nice sweetness. I love the variety of root vegetables and haven’t yet found anyone that doesn’t love it.

  16. Actually, as far as jewish tradition goes venison is Kosher – my grandfather remembers eating venison, duck and geese in his childhood in Eastern Europe. Back in the old country the original Jewish-American brisket may well have been cooked with either venison or wisent meat…