How to Cut Deer Shanks

Venison shanks are delicious to eat, but tough to cut, unless you know a trick or two.

Shanks, the ultimate slow cooker cut.
Shanks, the ultimate slow cooker cut.
Shanks, the ultimate slow cooker cut.

There is so much connective tissue on a deer shank that it’s not worth trying to separate the meat out. I’d like to see a study done on the ratio of meat to connective tissue there is on a shank. It would be one of those useless pieces of information I’d carry around in my brain. Useless, because it won’t change the way I prep or cook with them.

As I’ve discussed before (here, on Venison Osso Buco), when I butcher my deer, I leave the shanks whole, and usually package them up two shanks to a package.

Then when I go to cook them, I cut them up while they are nice and frozen, let them thaw, then slow cook them in some way. I’ve showed you a few ways to cut them in the Osso Buco recipe, but I have a new way I’ve been using that I thought was worth sharing.

A basic bone saw is all I use to cut shanks.
A basic bone saw is all I use to cut shanks.

The basics are the same, I’m simply using a bone saw.

The difference is how I hold them still. This has always been the frustrating part. If you can’t hold them rock solid still while you are cutting them, they take forever to cut.

I wrap the shank in a silicone baking mat, lock it in my vice, then cut away!
I wrap the shank in a silicone baking mat, lock it in my vice, then cut away!

What I do now, is simply lock them down in my shop vice. To avoid contamination of both the shank, and my vice, I place a silicone baking mat in the vice first. The silicone mat makes a nice barrier, it’s very durable, and easy to clean.

Pop one end of the shank (I go with the skinny end) wrapped in the mat in the vice, and crank it down nice and tight, then saw away.

Also on Venison Thursday:  Venison Shank Osso Buco
Quick cut, takes 10 to 15 seconds.
Quick cut, takes 10 to 15 seconds.

With my 12″ bone saw, I cut through the thick sections in about 10 to 15 seconds.

A sawzall would probably be about the same, and it’s just something else to clean, so I stick with the basics.

Next time you pull some shanks out, save some frustration, and lock ’em down with your vice!

The mat shows a few marks after seriously cranking the vice down, but there are no holes, and no real damage. Use them over and over.
The mat shows a few marks after seriously cranking the vice down, but there are no holes, and no real damage. Use them over and over.

Tagged as: , ,