Venison Shank with Cheesy Grits

Venison Shank with Cheesy Grits

by Matt Holliman (@themattholliman)

This is my Oklahoman take on a very classic shank recipe, osso bucco. I’ve slow cooked venison shanks a handful of ways, from Dutch ovens to sous vide, and the crockpot delivers the low temps and long timing you really need for a  nice braise on venison. A quick science lesson, as collagen is cooked low and slow, it breaks down into gelatin. Venison shanks are loaded with connective tissue, which is high in collagen, that if given enough time, becomes tender as it converts to gelatin. What I also love about this recipe is that it requires the most basic of skills to create a beautiful meal with a really underrated and unused cut. 

Total Time: 11 hours
Active Time: 1 hour
Serves 2


2 Venison Shanks
1 Yellow Onion, rough chopped
4 Clove Garlic, smashed
2 oz Tomato Paste
2 Bay Leaves
3 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Tbsp Hot Smoked Paprika
High Smoke-point Oil
1 Bottle of Wine
1 Quart Beef Stock

Infused Olive Oil:
½ c. olive oil
3 Jalapeños or other spicy, green pepper

½ c Quick Grits
1 tsp salt
2 c. Water
12 oz Sharp Cheddar, Finely Shredded


In a dutch oven or deep cast iron pan, heat oil over high heat. Generously salt the shank and brown in the dutch oven. Move to crockpot. 

Reduce heat to medium, add onions and garlic. As onion becomes translucent, add tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, and paprika until onions become tender. Deglaze with wine, scraping all the bits from the bottom. Pour over the meat in the crockpot. Add 2 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp pepper and cover with beef stock. Turn on low for 8-10 hours.

In a small mason jar, combine olive oil and jalapeños. Bring a sauce pan of water to boil and add mason jar. Let oil infuse for 1 hour. Remove jar, letting it cool, then drain mixture. This can be used for many other recipes in the future.

30 minutes before serving, transfer shanks and cooking liquid to bowl to cool. This resting step is crucial to keep the meat from drying out.

15 minutes before serving, bring 2 cups of water and teaspoon of salt to boil. Pour in grits and lower to simmer, stirring occasionally for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter, and cover letting cool slightly so cheese does not split. Add freshly shredded cheddar, in parts, letting it fully incorporate.

Split grits between two shallow bowls. Top with venison shank. Spoon infuse olive oil on top of grits.

If you did it right, this is all that should be left! Enjoy!

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