venison barbacoa
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4.98 from 34 votes

Venison Barbacoa

This is maybe the best recipe ever for the front shoulders of deer, which can be sinewy and tough to deal with. Cooking with this method really lets nature take its course, and all that connective tissue will dissolve and the meat will be super tender. But it will still be really lean, so I add about 1/4 cup of lard, bear fat or duck fat to the shredded venison before I serve. You would use olive or vegetable oil. Of course, if you use fatty meats like beef or lamb or pork, you won't need to do this.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 126kcal
Author: Hank Shaw

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pounds venison, from the shoulder or legs
  • 2 to 4 chipotles in adobo, canned
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 quart beef or venison stock
  • 1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil
  • Smoked salt (optional)
  • Cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados and hot sauce for garnish

Instructions

  • Put everything in a slow cooker or Dutch oven and cook, covered, until the meat falls off the bone, which will be between 2 hours (for many domestic meats and young deer) and 6 hours if you have a very old animal. If you use a slow cooker, set it to “high.” If you use a regular pot, put it into the oven set to 300°F.
  • Pull all the meat from the bones and shred with forks or your fingers. Stir in the lard and as much smoked salt as you want. You want the lard or oil to coat the shreds of meat. Pour over some of the juices from the pot and put the meat in a pan for the table. Serve with tacos, in a burrito or on a bun.

Notes

Have lots of accompaniments for your barbacoa: It's a base for a meal, the do-it-yourself construction of your tacos is more than half the fun!
 

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1543mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 424IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg