Venison Osso Buco

By Published On: March 11th, 2024Categories: Meat0 Comments on Venison Osso Buco

Both my husband, Jerry and I love Osso Buco. I have made it many times with lamb shanks and also with pork, but have never made it with venison. My Dad was a hunter and venison was a rare treat. The meat from the legs was always ground as it is quite tough. Slow cooking the meat makes it very tender.

I bought the venison shanks from D’Artagan, my new favorite gourmet, specialty store. Because the venison was farm raised, it was very mild in flavor; almost tasted more like beef than venison, but it was tender, juicy and delicious. The deer was farmed at Mountain River in New Zealand. They use conscientious, sustainable, careful farming practices and the venison is 100% grass fed; no hormones or antibiotics. Their slogan: 100% Grass to Gourmet. Check them out:

There is a bit of preparation in getting the Osso Buco ready to braise, but once that is done, you just let it sit in the slow cooker basting every so often.

Here are the shanks in the crock pot before veg, herbs and beef stock is added.

The toughest job was getting the outer skin and silver skin off the shanks. The outer skin seemed very tough and in order to get to the silver skin that needed to come off.

You can see just how thick that outer skin is.

The silver skin comes off very easily. Do not worry about getting every last piece off. The meat is going to braise for hours and the silver skin nearly disappears.

Once the skin was off I should have tied each shank with kitchen string, but I was out of string so just decided to brown them and let the meat fall off the bone naturally as it cooked slowly in the crock pot.

Generously salt all sides of the meat. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to a heavy bottomed skillet. I prefer cast iron. Get it very hot and bubbly. Brown two shanks at a time.

These shanks were fairly large and each bone had a good amount of marrow. Either eat it with your meal or remove it and save for adding to your next beef stock.

When the shanks are browned on all 6 sides, pull them out of the pan.  Add one more tablespoon of butter and the mire poix: carrots, shallots (or onion), celery. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir the veg to coat all well in the butter and pan drippings. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes. Add 3 Tbsp. chopped garlic.

Deglaze the pan with a cup of good red wine. I used a Robert Mondavi cabernet sauvignon.

Heat the slow cooker on high for about 15 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Venison is a very lean meat with hardly any fat so the meat needs this extra fat. Place the shanks in the slow cooker. Add the sauted vegetables. Scrape out the pan to get all the juices and the red wine into the slow cooker. Add 14 oz. crushed tomatoes, a couple sprigs of fresh thyme and one large sprig of fresh sage. Stir to mix all of these ingredients.

Cover and cook the venison on the high setting for 1 hour. Next add 3 cups of beef broth (preferably homemade). And stir again to make sure the broth gets mixed well with all other ingredients. Cook for one more hour on high and then reduce to low and cook for 2 more hours.

Pull the pot out of the slow cooker and let cool. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day bring out of the fridge for 1/2 hour to bring to room temperature before placing back in the crock pot. Start braising on high for 1/2 hour, then reduce to low and cook for another 2 hours until the meat is very tender. Cook longer if the meat does not begin to fall off the bone when you poke it with a fork.

My husband was very happy with the Venison Osso Buco. I served it with steamed asparagus and parmesan risotto. Next time I am going to make Osso Buco with veal shanks. Veal is now being raised humanely so it is back on my menu!


Venison Osso Buco

Juicy, tender and delicious! Once it's all prepped, let the slow cooker do the rest!


  • 4 Venison shanks
  • 1 Tbsp. Salt, to coat all sides of the meat. More salt and freshly ground black pepper for the veg.
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, to saute the shanks, more when veg are added
  • 1 Large Shallot, peeled and chopped to make 1 cup Or one small onion.
  • 2 Stalks Celery, chopped to make one cup
  • 2 Sticks Carrot, peeled and chopped to make one cup
  • 3 Cloves garlic, chopped; about 3 Tbsp.
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil for the crock pot.
  • 14.5 Oz. Canned, crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Red wine
  • 3 Cups Beef broth
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1 Sprig Sage


  • Remove outer skin and silver skin from the shanks. Use your sharpest knife and slip under the skin. Slice firmly while pulling at skin to pry the skin off. Same method for the silver skin, but that is very thin and comes off easily.
  • Generously salt each shank on all sides. Use about 1 tsp. of salt per shank.
  • Peel carrots and shallot and chop. Chop the celery and garlic.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. of butter in a heavy bottomed skillet until very hot and bubbling. Add shanks two at a time and brown all six sides.
  • Set the venison shanks aside. Add 1 more Tbsp. of butter to the hot pan and drop in the chopped shallot, carrot and celery to the hot pan. Salt and pepper the veg. Stir to coat the veg in the butter and pan drippings. Reduce to medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of red wine to deglaze the pan.
  • Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the slow cooker. Heat the slow cooker on high for about 15 minutes.
  • Place the shanks in the slow cooker. Add the crushed tomato, vegetables and fresh herbs.
  • Cover and braise on high for 1 hour.
  • Add beef broth. Mix thoroughly and continue braising for another 2 hours. Remove the pot from the slow cooker and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day bring the osso buco to room temperature. Continue the braising on the high setting for another 30 minutes. Reduce to low setting and cook another 2 hours or until meat literally falls off the bone.


Braise the venison shanks for a total of 5 to 5 1/2 hours. If the meat does not fall off the bone, continue braising until it does. 



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