This weekend we did a "test cook" on a couple of deer shoulders just to get a good feel for it as we haven't done it this way before. We wanted to document our process and the result so we can offer our customers what we know to be a winning combination.
Meat prep was identical in that both were trimmed up very tight with as much silver skin having been trimmed as possible. Note that the smaller roast seemed to have more silver skin and bone as a ratio than the larger one. Both roasts were brined using our Oakridge Game Changer Brine & Injection, ½ strength for about 12 hours.
The smaller roast was seasoned with our Oakridge Chile Smokey Lime rub and the larger one was seasoned with our Oakridge Venison & Wild Game Rub.
Both roasts were cooked on a Marshall from The Good-One smoker on the top rack at 250 degrees for 3 hours and then were taken out and wrapped in foil.
They were cooked for about a few more hours until temps were about 205 and or tender in both roasts. At that time they were left in the wrap for an hour and then pulled and bagged and put in the refrigerator.
Two days later one of our local hunters came into the store and we had him do a taste test. That test was just to take a small bowl of pieces from each bag and heat them up in a microwave for 25 seconds. Both roasts were sampled individually. The reaction was that the venison was the best that he had tasted and that he was so surprised that it still had the moisture and tenderness after having been cooked in a smoker, something that his buddies are reluctant to do because of the meat having been dried out as a usual consequence. We sampled them both warm and cold just to see. It was good both ways!
Typically when we do pork shoulders we “pull them” and then dust the meat with some more rub and then stir it in. We tried that and it made the product better once again which validates that process, making it a worthwhile thing to do.
The timing for this post isn't great as we sold out of both of the rubs we used! We have tasted tested several other rubs as possible substitutes. You can stop in the store to taste them for yourself but in general, the rubs with higher flavor levels work better. They would include the Beef and Pork rub from Oakridge as well as the Beef Rub from Custom Smoke. Those two links are included at the bottom of the page below.
See the items below as they were the only products that we used and if you follow our recipe for cooking this venison your results should be similar!