What is the best way to make a tender venison roast in the crockpot? This slow-cooking method will result in a mouth-watering, fall-apart dinner, packed with juicy flavor.
Since I have learned how to make a tender venison roast in the crockpot, it is now one of my go-to meals if I’m having a busy day ahead of me. I will pull a roast out of the freezer the night before and place it in a dish to thaw in the fridge overnight.
After breakfast in the morning, I will prepare the roast in the crockpot to cook on low all day. Nothing is more reassuring to me then knowing that supper is taken care of and I can release that job from my mind!Jump to Recipe
Another time that we enjoy a flavorful venison roast is during the colder months after hunting season. A delicious homemade dessert after supper tops it off! One of our favorites is this apple crisp recipe. We use our own homegrown apples stored in the cellar.
Some of my first attempts at making venison roasts resulted in tough meat that would not shred. After awhile I would get very frustrated and almost dread making a roast. It was good tasting and provided a supper for us, but that was about all!
After doing some research and trial and error, I have mastered how to make a tender roast, and the bonus part is that this recipe has a gravy that goes with, ready to serve!
To help avoid a gamey taste, follow my simple tips below!
Tips for a tender roast:
- Always cook on low heat.
- Searing the roast first in a cast iron skillet will help to slightly speed up the cooking process while locking in the juices in the roast. (See detailed instructions below).
- Cook the roast long enough. Often one reason roasts turn out tough is because they weren’t cooked long enough
- BONUS: Adding a little beef broth (or the broth) to the gravy base adds great flavor
- Adding a little acidity to a roast can help to balance out the rich flavor. Balsamic vinegar is a great choice.
- Tomato paste also adds great flavor to the roast. Spread about a tablespoon or two on top of the roast in the crockpot.
- Opening a crockpot while it is cooking, allows enough heat and steam to escape that an additional half hour of cooking time will need to be added. So don’t open the lid unless you really need to:)
- While preparing the meat and vegetables, give the crockpot a head start by turning it on to the high heat setting. Transfer to the low setting once everything is in and the lid is on. Alternatively, you could really speed up the heating process by keeping the crockpot on the high setting for the first half hour or so of cooking time.
Now that we have gone over how to make a roast tender, let’s get started!
Should you use frozen or thawed venison?
For best results, I recommend using a roast that is slightly thawed. Usually 4 hours provides good thawing. A roast taken right from the freezer can be used, but the meat might be tougher in the end and the cooking time can be really long.
This post contains affiliate links. This means, that as an amazon affiliate, if you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
How to sear a roast?
Preheat the cast iron skillet on low-medium heat for a good 5-10 minutes. Add about a tablespoon of coconut oil after several minutes. In the meantime, get out your seasonings and have them ready next to the stove for quick use.
Some of my favorite seasonings to use (fresh or dried) include: parsley, sage, basil, salt and pepper and anything else you want.
Prepare the roast by removing it from the wrapping, and dabbing off any extra liquid or blood with a paper towel. Make sure cast iron skillet is preheated well. Spread some oil evenly in the pan, then slowly lay the roast down. It will sizzle, so be careful of the hot oil. Sprinkle desired seasonings on and sear for 3-5 minutes. Flip the roast, season and sear. Continue turning until the majority of the sides are seared.
Then you will transfer the roast into the crockpot. (More instruction are below for this step).
Recipe for tender venison roast with gravy:
- 1 medium to large (about 2-3 lbs apx) venison roast (It’s always hard to know the weight exactly. I never weigh them)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup beef broth (also known as beef stock)
- 1/2 heaping cup cornstarch
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- drizzle of ketchup on top of roast
- 1-2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 T tomato paste or ketchup. (I used ketchup in this recipe)
Seasoning ideas for tender venison roast:
- onion powder (or minced onion)
- garlic powder
- optional- bay leaves (some people find them to be too strong)
Optional vegetables to add to a venison roast:
- small whole white or yellow potatoes- or larger potatoes cut down
- baby carrots or regular carrots cut down
- sliced onion
- minced garlic
How to make tender venison roast in the crockpot with gravy
Sear the venison roast is a hot cast iron skillet. You want to make sure the skillet is very hot with a little grease in it. (I like to use coconut oil but olive oil will work). You want an instant searing reaction when the meat touches the skillet. The juices will lock into the meat and result in a better finished roast.
Meanwhile, turn crockpot on to low and add the gravy ingredients to the bottom of the crock pot: (You do not need to grease the crockpot). Add 2 cups water, 1 cup broth, heaping 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Whisk well. Turn the searing roast to ensure all sides cook, and season well after each turn. Be careful to not use too much salt and pepper though. After about 10 minutes the roast should be ready to be transferred to the crockpot. Place it in gently to avoid splashing.
Sprinkle a little more parsley, sage, basil, and anything else you want. Add vegetables if desired. I like to spread the garlic on the top. Drizzle a large squirt or two of ketchup over the roast. Put lid on and let it cook away! Cooking time will vary between 8-10 hours depending on the size of the roast, if it was totally thawed, and things like that. The crockpot itself can have an impact on cooking times, depending on the type it is.
Sides to go with a tender venison roast:
- green beans
- lettuce salad
- broccoli and cauliflower salad
- rolls or muffins
- mashed potatoes
- flavored rice
- baby carrots
It is also delicious to serve this over egg noodles or rice since this recipe has a gravy with it.
Popular F & Q’s for how to make a tender venison roast in the crockpot with gravy
Can I make this in a large dutch oven (and in the oven)?
Yes, you can. I recommend in that case to grease the dutch oven first. You can still make the gravy and add the roast and vegetables like as directed above. Bake at 275 for about 4 – 6 hours.
Will my roast get more tender the longer it cooks?
To an extent, yes. Adequate cooking time confirms ad well cooked, tender roast. However, if it overcooks it will be too tough and gamey tasting.
Is it better to cook a roast on low or high in the crockpot?
It is ALWAYS better to cook a roast on the low setting. Cooking a roast on high will often result in tougher and chewier meat that also has a stronger animal taste, especially in venison meat.
How can I use leftover venison roast?
Leftover shredded meat is great for sandwiches. Alternatively, you can freeze the shredded meat to be used later for sandwiches. Make sure you label the container!
How should I store venison roast?
Store leftover venison roast in the crockpot, covered in the fridge or in a airtight container. This makes great leftovers for later in the week and will last up to seven days.
Some people claim that they only way to have a tender roast is to soak the meat in either buttermilk, milk or a marinade to help take away the gamey flavor and help with the “bleeding”. Liquid is slightly acidic like lemon juice, vinegar or tomato juice, are thought to help neutralizer and tenderize the meat muscles. Other people will say that these methods do not make a difference.
Some people think that milk does make deer meet more tender. Soak the roast covered in milk for up to 6 hours. Rinse lightly before searing.
It is thought that the acidity in vinegar can help soften the muscle in the meat, thus making it more tender.
This easy recipe is great for those on a special diet avoiding dairy. The gravy contains no flour; I use cornstarch instead. It has turned out perfect and flavorful everytime!
The most tender cut of venison meat is the inside back strap. A neck roast is also a good choice but will have a lot of connective tissue which can be rubbery and stringy if not cooked properly.
parsley, sage, basil, onion powder (or minced onion), garlic powder (or minced garlic), salt and pepper. Bay leaves are a great herb for roast if you like the taste. For some people it is too strong.
Yes. The most common and easiest way a venison roast is overcooked is when the high”setting is used and it cooks for longer then four hours.
Don’t forget to please pin for later!
Let me know down in the comment section below if you have any additional tips to making a tender venison roast.
Tools you will need:
Large skillet to sear the roast in
For more dinner inspiration see these similar recipes:
Tender venison roast in the crockpot with gravy
- 2 cup water
- 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup heaping cornstarch
- 2-3 lb aproax. venison roast, trimmed
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- salt and pepper
- Optional vegetables:
- 4-6 potatoes
- 3-6 carrots ( or use baby carrots)
- Sear the venison roast is a hot cast iron skillet. You want to make sure the skillet is very hot with a little grease in it. (I like to use coconut oil but olive oil will work). You want an instant searing reaction when the meat touches the skillet. The juices will lock into the meat and result in a better finished roast.
- Season meat on each side as you rotate it
- While meat is searing, add gravy ingredients into the crockpot and whisk together
- Transfer the roast into the crockpot, gently to avoid splashing
- Add any vegetables
- Squeeze ketchup on top or tomato paste, pressed or minced garlic and a little more seasoning
- Set the crockpot to low heat and cook for 8-10 hours.