Easy Venison Crockpot Tacos

Venison tacos are an easy meal anyone can make, and everyone will enjoy!
Venison tacos are an easy meal anyone can make, and everyone will enjoy!

Who doesn’t like tacos? The only reasonable excuse someone could give for not liking them is that they are messy. Well, that’s why napkins were invented. As to flavors, one of the great things about tacos is there are a million ways to make them, so it’s easy to tailor them to your preferences. And regardless of what meat you use, the key to all good tacos is a good mix of flavors and textures. I won’t dwell on what makes the best combination here, well, since no two people will likely ever agree on what that is. So let’s get into the meat, and how to cook great venison tacos.

Cut from either side of the ridge that runs down the shoulder blade, the blade steaks have great texture and holds together well through many slow cooking methods.
Cut from either side of the ridge that runs down the shoulder blade, the blade steaks have great texture and holds together well through many slow cooking methods.

The Cut:

Frankly, you can’t go wrong with any cut of venison for your tacos. For this recipe though, we’re cooking with a crockpot. What that means, is that the end result is likely to be some form of shredded or pulled meat. Since I butcher and process my own deer, I’m not going to go through the extra work of grinding some venison up just for a meal that will naturally fall apart on its own. Instead, I want to go with a cut that is on the tough side. Anything from the front end is ideal: neck and shoulder. Neck roasts are one of my favorites for crockpot cooking, they breakdown great and have great flavor. But for tacos, I like to go with some blade steaks.

The blade steaks are two little triangular steaks that come from either side of the ridge that runs along the shoulder blade. They are tough, but they are not gristly. The reason I like them for this taco recipe is that toughness: they can actually hold together for that long slow cook. Now granted, if you cook them too long or too hot, they will shred and fall apart just like anything else. But if you keep the heat low, and the time in the 6 to 7 hour range, they will come out tender, but stay in one piece. This gives you the option of cutting into little slices (cross grain). As always, I’m all about options. These little mini steak slices will give your tacos a little extra texture for something a little different from your normal shredded taco meat. And yes, the ones I cooked in the picture were cooked longer, so ended up shredded. When you wait too long, some options just become “choices”…

A three ingredient crockpot meal: meat, salsa, and hot sauce.
A three ingredient crockpot meal: meat, salsa, and hot sauce.

The Recipe:

  • venison roast (or blade steaks)
  • one jar of salsa (pint)
  • hot sauce to taste

I said this was an easy recipe, and I’m not kidding (try the liverwurst recipe if you want more of a challenge). Spray the crockpot with some no-stick spray of your choice. Put the venison in. Dump the jar of salsa in. Throw some hot sauce in. I used some wing sauce here, that’s why the oranges are especially vibrant…

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until it hits the tenderness you are looking for. Serve with your favorite taco ingredients and enjoy! The only other thing I need to point out, is if you don’t put the cheese in the shell first (before the meat), you are doing it wrong.

Crockpot Venison Beef and Broccoli

Crockpot venison beef and broccoli is an easy slow cooker meal with an asian flare.
Crockpot venison beef and broccoli is an easy slow cooker meal with an asian flare.

Ok, there is no beef in this venison beef and broccoli. But “venison and broccoli” just doesn’t conjure up the same pretty picture in our minds that we always see in the menus of the local chinese restaurants.

This recipe pulls off those same flavors, with minimal prep – and because it’s cooked in the crockpot, the hardest part of this meal is making the rice. Unless you are one of those people who buy the pre-cooked rice packets from the store…

This is a half day slow cooker recipe. Going longer will only hurt the dish from a presentation perspective – those nice slices of venison WILL eventually break down. You want to keep the cook time down to a point where the meat is tender yet it still holds together. Otherwise you will have more of a “venison gravy and broccoli”.

The Cut:

Because this is a slow cooker recipe, you can use slices from any roast of venison that you like. Keep in mind that if you use anything from the front half (shoulder or neck), it will have more gristle and be tougher –  it won’t be as pretty, and will take a little longer to cook – but just as tasty. I like to use slices from rear quarter roasts: top round, bottom round, or eye of round. These three muscles make up the hamstring of the deer, the rear of the rear quarter so to speak. I normally freeze them all separately. I used a bottom round in today’s meal, which was close to three pounds. I only needed half for this recipe, so I had enough left over to grind for some burgers for later in the week. Bonus!

Your venison will get better (prettier) slices if it's partially frozen when you go to cut it.
Your venison will get better (prettier) slices if it’s partially frozen when you go to cut it.

The Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs venison, in quarter inch slices
  • 1 cup of beef stock or broth
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • crushed red pepper flakes – to taste
  • 4 cups of broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons of water

The Process:

Spray the inside of the crockpot with a no-stick spray or vegetable oil. Add everything BUT the broccoli, cornstarch and water. For the pepper flakes, I like a few good shakes to give it a little heat.

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. When the venison is tender but not falling apart, mix the cornstarch and water, and stir into the pot. Cover and cook another 20 minutes. Get your rice, or noodles going!

Separately cook the broccoli (microwave or stovetop) so it’s tender. Stir the cooked, drained broccoli into the crockpot and serve!