These slow cooked venison shanks are melt in the mouth tender and perfect for hearty appetites.
They are cooked in a rich red wine sauce, that is flavoured with redcurrants and juniper berries. For a hint of smokiness there are some bacon lardons, which always go well with venison too.
Heart and delicious, make these for entertaining or for satisfying comfort food on a cold day.
I have always loved venison, or deer meat, as you can probably tell from my recipes.
In summer it has to be homemade venison burgers or venison sausage plait, but in winter I am craving venison stew, bourguignon or roast venison haunch. So imagine the excitement when we visit the local farmers market and find venison shanks!
The shanks come from a local farm in Sleaford, but they also have online ordering at Fen Farm Venison. I have no relationship with them, except that I have really enjoyed their produce.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
- Make in advance for fuss free entertaining.
- Leave in the slow cooker until ready to serve.
- Fall apart tender meat.
- Easy to prepare.
The shank is the top part of the hind leg of an animal.
It's a hardworking muscle, with very little fat, so it does require long and slow cooking to make it tender.
Compared to a lamb shank, venison shanks are larger, so can feed 1 or 2 people depending on appetite.
💙 Save this recipe for later
Did you know? When you see the 💙on the right hand side, you can bookmark the page to save it for later, or share it too. This is also the best place to subscribe for weekly updates
- Venison - venison shanks. This cut is quite large and 3 shanks could feed 4, if you serve it off the bone in chunks. The bones have been trimmed, which means that they will fit into the slow cooker. Check your meat before you start or cook in the oven instead. Each shank is about 500 grams or a pound.
- Bacon - smoked bacon lardons add an extra layer of flavour.
- Garlic - garlic cloves.
- Onions - brown cooking onions.
- Stock - beef stock.
- Wine - red wine that you would drink with a meal.
- Oil - vegetable or olive oil for frying.
- Butter - for flavour and thickening.
- Salt - cooking salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Thyme - sprig of fresh thyme.
- Juniper - juniper berries. These are available in the spice section and are the primary flavouring in gin. I always use the side of a knife to gently crush them before using. This helps them to release their flavour into the sauce.
- Flour - plain or all purpose flour to thicken the sauce.
- Redcurrant jelly - this is not a jam but served with cold meats and cheeses. It also really enhances red wine sauces.
The recipe card with ingredient quantities and detailed instructions can be found at the bottom of the post.
- 3.5 litre /5.3 pint capacity slow cooker
- chopping board
- sharp knife
- wooden spoon
- large skillet or frying pan
- slotted spoon
- kitchen paper
💭Slow Cooking Tips
- Make sure that there is at least 2 centimetres of space in the bowl when it is full.
- Do not remove the lid in the first half of the cooking time, as valuable heat will be lost and cooking time will need to be extended.
- All stock should be boiling when added at the beginning of cooking.
- Slow cookers may need more or less time, so make sure that the meat is tender before serving.
- It's not a problem if the slow venison shanks are left to cook for a few extra hours.
Preheat the slow cooker on a high setting.
Pat the shanks dry with kitchen paper and season with the salt and pepper on both sides.
Put the oil in the frying pan over a medium to high heat.
Add the shanks and sear on all sides for 5 minutes to get a good colour on the meat.
Transfer the shanks to the slow cooker.
It's really important not to skip this stage, as the meat will not brown in the slow cooker.
Peel the garlic and onions.
Mince the garlic and slice the onions.
Add the butter to the remaining oil in the frying pan over a medium heat.
Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened then add the garlic for a minute.
Transfer the onion mix to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon.
Using the same pan over a medium heat, add the lardons and fry for a few minutes until golden.
Sprinkle the flour over the lardons and cook for a minute.
Use the red wine to deglaze the pan and make sure that any stuck on bits are incorporated into the sauce.
Add the stock and juniper berries and bring to a boil, stirring.
It doesn't matter if there a few lumps of flour left as they will all cook down in the sauce.
Pour the sauce over the shanks and add the thyme sprig whole so that you can remove it at the end.
⏲️ Cooking Time
Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours.
These were cooked on high for 5 hours. However, if you want to serve the meat off the bone, you may want to cook it for longer.
If you want to cook the venison in a conventional oven you will need a lidded dish.
Increase the total liquid amount to 750 ml and cook at 150 C / 300 F / 130 FAN / Gas 2 for 2 - 3 hours. You may need to top up the liquid with extra boiling stock or water.
Serve a whole shank per person or pull the meat off the bone in chunks and serve in the gravy.
Don't forget to remove the thyme and check the seadoning before serving.
🥗 Serve with
Try this slow cooker steak and ale stew wth mash, bread or some of these side dish ideas.
- Honey Roast Chantenay Carrots
- Leeks in White Sauce
- Honey Roast Carrots and Parsnips
- Fried Cabbage with Bacon
- Roast Savoy Cabbage
- Whole Baked Cauliflower Cheese
- Roasted Green Beans and Carrots
- Roasted Long Stem Broccoli
- Roasted Swede Chips
- Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Fresh thyme - use a teaspoon of dried thyme.
- Bacon lardons - use any smoked bacon, prefereably belly or streaky.
- Lamb shanks - use lamb shanks and omit the bacon.
- Vegetables - add button mushrooms, shallots, celery or chopped carrots.
- Refrigerator - store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer - cool and pack into a container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat - Place in a covered casserole dish in the oven at 180 C / 350 F / 160 FAN / Gas 4 for 20 to 30 minutes until piping hot. Alternatively place in the slow cooker.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- Make this the day before and reheat to serve.
More slow cooker meat dishes
- Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole
- Slow Cooker Brisket and Gravy
- Slow Cooker Beef Cheeks
- Slow Cooker Turkey Crown
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef Hash
- Slow Cooker Beef and Ale Stew
- Slow Cooker Pea Pottage
- Slow Cooker Venison Stew
Slow Cooker Venison Shanks
- 3.5 litre /5.3 pint capacity slow cooker
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- Wooden spoon
- large skillet or frying pan
- Slotted spoon
- 3 venison shanks bone trimmed and about 500 g
- 200 g bacon smoked lardons
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 onions
- 100 ml beef stock
- 200 ml red wine
- 1 tablespoon oil more if required
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper black
- 1 sprig thyme
- 10 juniper berries
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
- Preheat the slow cooker on a high setting.
- Pat the shanks dry with kitchen paper and season with the salt and pepper on both sides.
- Put the oil in the frying pan over a medium to high heat then add the shanks and sear on all sides for 5 minutes to get a good colour on the meat. Transfer the shanks to the slow cooker.
- Peel the garlic and onions. Mince the garlic and slice the onions.
- Add the butter to the remaining oil in the frying pan over a medium heat and add the onions.
- Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened then add the garlic for a minute. Transfer the onion mix to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon.
- Using the same pan over a medium heat, add the lardons and fry for a few minutes until golden.
- Sprinkle the flour over the lardons and cook for a minute.
- Use the red wine to deglaze the pan and make sure that any stuck on bits are incorporated into the sauce.
- Add the stock and juniper berries and bring to a boil, stirring.
- Pour the sauce over the shanks and add the thyme sprig whole so that you can remove it at the end.
- Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
Beef, Lamb and Venison
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
Do you have a question or did you make the recipe?
Please leave a rating as it helps other readers to discover the dish. Your name and email are required to avoid spam comments; they are never used for any purpose or shared with third parties
However, due to spam comments, I do have to moderate each one, so don't worry if you cannot see your comment immediately. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can.