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slow cooked venison shoulder recipe
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4.73 from 11 votes

Slow Cooked Deer Shoulder, Senegalese Style

Everything in this recipe is simple, although, as I mention above, you can add a few West African ingredients to make this a bit more exotic, if you want. Unrefined palm oil can be had in major supermarkets or health food stores, as can tamarind; tamarind is very common in Latin or Indian markets, too. Remember to only do this recipe with smallish deer shoulders, ones that can fit into a pot or roasting pan. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: West African
Keyword: tamarind, venison
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 203kcal
Author: Hank Shaw



  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly root to tip
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled but whole
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups broth or stock, any kind


  • 1 deer shoulder
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut into little batons
  • 3 tablespoons melted palm oil or peanut oil
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, or selim pepper


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 plum or paste tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 or 2 habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste, seeds removed (some brands still have seeds in them)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste



  • Line a roasting pan with lots of foil, overlapping so it's reasonably watertight. You will need to completely wrap the deer shoulder, so have enough foil to do that. 
  • Scatter the sliced onion and garlic cloves in the pan, then sprinkle with the thyme. Pour in the stock. 


  • Using a thin knife, stab the venison in various places and shove the batons of garlic inside. Coat the whole deer shoulder with the oil. Salt it well. Mix the mustard, cumin and black pepper together and smear this all over the deer shoulder, getting it into every crevice.  
  • Seal up the shoulder and set in a 200F oven. Roast until tender, which should take at least 3 hours, and as many as 10. With normal deer, start checking after about 5 hours. You want the meat to lift off the bone easily.


  • If you're making the sauce, do this while the venison cooks. Heat the peanut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chopped onion until translucent, but not browned, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and chopped habanero chiles and cook another minute. 
  • Add the remaining sauce ingredients, mix well and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and puree in a blender. The sauce should be thick like ketchup. 


  • To serve, give everyone some deer shoulder with some of the juices from the pot, stewed onions and garlic, and serve with the tamarind kani sauce on the side. Crusty bread, rice or sweet potato-plantain fritters are a good accompaniment. 


Depending on the age of your deer, cooking can be done in as little as three hours, or as long as 10.If you think you have an older animal, increase the temperature to 225°F. 


Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 529mg | Potassium: 506mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 469IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 4mg