Who doesn’t like tacos? The only reasonable excuse someone could give for not liking them is that they are messy. Well, that’s why napkins were invented. As to flavors, one of the great things about tacos is there are a million ways to make them, so it’s easy to tailor them to your preferences. And regardless of what meat you use, the key to all good tacos is a good mix of flavors and textures. I won’t dwell on what makes the best combination here, well, since no two people will likely ever agree on what that is. So let’s get into the meat, and how to cook great venison tacos.
Frankly, you can’t go wrong with any cut of venison for your tacos. For this recipe though, we’re cooking with a crockpot. What that means, is that the end result is likely to be some form of shredded or pulled meat. Since I butcher and process my own deer, I’m not going to go through the extra work of grinding some venison up just for a meal that will naturally fall apart on its own. Instead, I want to go with a cut that is on the tough side. Anything from the front end is ideal: neck and shoulder. Neck roasts are one of my favorites for crockpot cooking, they breakdown great and have great flavor. But for tacos, I like to go with some blade steaks.
The blade steaks are two little triangular steaks that come from either side of the ridge that runs along the shoulder blade. They are tough, but they are not gristly. The reason I like them for this taco recipe is that toughness: they can actually hold together for that long slow cook. Now granted, if you cook them too long or too hot, they will shred and fall apart just like anything else. But if you keep the heat low, and the time in the 6 to 7 hour range, they will come out tender, but stay in one piece. This gives you the option of cutting into little slices (cross grain). As always, I’m all about options. These little mini steak slices will give your tacos a little extra texture for something a little different from your normal shredded taco meat. And yes, the ones I cooked in the picture were cooked longer, so ended up shredded. When you wait too long, some options just become “choices”…
- venison roast (or blade steaks)
- one jar of salsa (pint)
- hot sauce to taste
I said this was an easy recipe, and I’m not kidding (try the liverwurst recipe if you want more of a challenge). Spray the crockpot with some no-stick spray of your choice. Put the venison in. Dump the jar of salsa in. Throw some hot sauce in. I used some wing sauce here, that’s why the oranges are especially vibrant…
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until it hits the tenderness you are looking for. Serve with your favorite taco ingredients and enjoy! The only other thing I need to point out, is if you don’t put the cheese in the shell first (before the meat), you are doing it wrong.