How to Cook a Venison Ham

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A venison ham is the thigh meat from the hind leg of a deer, elk or similar animal. If you hunt and keep your own venison, review proper butchering and storage techniques to keep your meat safe and prevent it from becoming overly gamey. Because venison is considerably leaner than pork or beef, brine it before roasting. Brining adds flavor to the meat along with moisture, so it cooks juicy and tender.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket or large container
  • Brining liquid
  • Salt
  • Sweetener
  • Herbs and spices
  • Shallow roasting pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer

Brining

  • Fill a bucket or large container with about 3/4 as much water needed to completely cover the venison ham. Fill it the rest of the way with another brining liquid that adds flavor to the meat and complements the flavors in the recipe, such as apple juice or cider, orange juice, pineapple juice, red wine, white wine, beer, cider or white vinegar or soy sauce.

  • Stir 1 cup of kosher salt or 3/4 cup of non-iodized table salt per gallon of liquid into the brining solution. Stir in 1/2 cup of a sweetening agent per gallon of liquid. Choose a sweetener that complements the flavor of the brining liquid, such as white or brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses or honey.

  • Add complementary herbs and spices in the brining solution. Black pepper, red pepper, garlic, onion, leeks, rosemary, basil or thyme impart more flavor into your roasted venison ham.

  • Immerse the venison ham in the brining solution and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. You can brine it for less time if necessary, but don't go longer, or the texture of the venison degrades and the meat becomes excessively salty. Discard the brine after use.

Roasting

  • Remove the venison ham from the brine and place it on the kitchen counter for about an hour to let it come to room temperature. This step helps it cook more evenly.

  • Arrange your oven racks so you can roast the venison ham in the middle of the chamber. Preheat it to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Line the bottom of a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil to prevent the meat drippings from baking on, making cleanup a lot easier after the meal. Use a roasting pan no deeper than 2 inches, or the venison may partially steam during cooking.

  • Place the venison ham on the roasting pan rack. Add any additional seasonings or glaze. Put it into the center of the oven.

  • Roast the venison ham for about 23 minutes per pound. Remove it from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, as determined by a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the center of the meat and ensure it doesn't come into contact with bone if you have a bone-in venison leg cut.

References

  • Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images
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