Recipe for venison ribs with a miso glaze
A barbecue is a great opportunity to use those more awkward cuts of venison, as José Souto shows with this Japanese-inspired rack of ribs. Serves eight.
Venison ribs can be cooked in the same way as pork ribs, but they lack the fat so do need a marinade. They also need quite a bit of cooking initially, but once tender you can glaze them on the barbecue or in the oven. Here is a recipe using white miso and a few other Japanese ingredients that are all readily available in most supermarkets.
Miso glazed venison ribs
Prep time: 20 minutes (plus 3 hours marinating)
Cooking time: 3 to 4 hours
- 2 red deer breasts
- 500ml chicken stock
- For the marinade: 200ml sake
- 200ml mirin
- 200g sugar
- 200g white miso
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
- Trim the breast bone off the breasts by cutting straight along the bone — i.e. cut off the opposite side to where the breast was attached to the carcass to square off the breast. Then cut the breast in half across the bones in large deer to give you a sort of baby back rib-sized rack. With smaller species, you won’t need to cut them in half.
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, cover and cool.
- Place the ribs into a deep dish and pour over half the marinade, making sure to cover all the ribs. Cover and leave to marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge. Remove the ribs from the marinade and place them in an oven-proof pan large enough to take them lying down. Keep hold of this chilled marinade for step five.
- Mix the remaining marinade with the chicken stock and pour over the ribs, ensuring they are well covered in liquid. Then bring to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours at 160°C or until the meat is tender. You could also cook the ribs in a water bath by marinating them in a vac-pack bag with no chicken stock, then cooking in the bag overnight at 75°C. Once cooked, remove from the bag and continue to follow the recipe.
- Remove the ribs from the sauce, discard the sauce and allow them to cool. Once cooled, using the marinade you kept to one side, brush all over the ribs before placing them on the barbecue or in the oven at 200°C and cook until they start to brown. Reglaze, brushing the ribs all over with the marinade, allowing them to colour between coats. Repeat this until all the marinade is used up and the ribs have a shiny glaze, then serve.
More on venison ribs
When breaking down a venison carcass, there are inevitably a few trims that most people will mince or dice because they don’t know what else to do with them — these include the shoulders and breast. The shoulders are tough and cannot be roasted, so they are best diced or minced — unless you are slow-cooking them — and the breast is an odd-shaped thing that seems not to have any worth as a joint; it can be a laborious job to remove all the bones, to many a dog’s delight. (Find more ideas for barbecued game here.)
But think again. The breast is a flavoursome bit of meat and, if you accumulate a few in the freezer, they will come to the fore during the summer barbecue season. Once you cut the breast off, it’s a sizeable piece of meat with the ribs running through it. On red, fallow and sika, the breast will be quite deep and can be squared off then cut in half to give a 5–6cm wide strip that resembles pork baby back ribs. With smaller deer, leave them whole and just trim off the sternum.