Recipe: Black Forest Venison

posted on July 2, 2024
Lede Black Forest Venison

If you have ever eaten a black forest ham, the dark rind or outer edge from spices and the smoking process is unmistakable. Through brining and braising, a rich, dark-purple color can be added to a venison roast, making it pop with incredible flavors. The secret is in the marinade from Germany, where the forest plays a role in making the dish special.

Black Forest Venison marinade

Spruce or fir twigs infuse a unique forest quality to the meat. Spruce buds can be collected and frozen in the spring and used throughout the year to add unique and subtle forest tastes.

Black Forest Venison strained with spruce buds

This recipe works well with any venison or big-game species and has a visual appeal that gets rich with braising the meat. We like to use a jelly that reminds us of the forest. Although the recipe calls for red-currant jelly, you could use chokecherry, pincherry, black currant, or another.

Black forest venison with onions


  • 3 lbs. of venison leg roast
  • 4-inch spruce, fir twig or spruce buds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups of dry red wine, enough to cover the meat
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 dried juniper berries, crushed
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp. of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. of clarified unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. of red currant jelly or similar
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • 2 tsp. of cornstarch

Black forest venison on plate


  1. Mix the marinade in a bowl by combining the spruce twig, onion, red wine, bay leaves, juniper berries and peppercorns.
  2. Place the roast in a sealable bag and add the marinade. Squeeze the air from the bag so the meat is covered in marinade. Place it in the refrigerator for two days, turning the bag every 12 hours.
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade, pat it dry with a paper towel, and season with salt.
  4. Heat the clarified butter in a large oven-ready pot or Dutch oven and sear the roast on all sides.
  5. Strain the spices and twig from the marinade. Discard the twig and add the onion and spices to the pan with the roast, and cook over medium heat for four minutes.
  6. Pour the marinade into the pan and bring it to a simmer. Stir gently to deglaze the pan and release any of the caramelized particles.
  7. Cover the pot and braise the meat over low heat for 90 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 165-degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the roast from the pot and place it in the oven on a rack to stay warm.
  9. Strain the sauce through a sieve and return it to the pot. Stir in the jelly and season with salt. Stir the cornstarch into the sour cream and blend it into the sauce.
  10. Slice the roast and serve it with the sauce.

Plated Black Forest Venison


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