Roast Bartered Haunch of Venison

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  • 1 haunch (rear leg) of venison (8 to 10 pounds before trimming)
  • 12 fresh juniper berries
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

You can roast the venison in a kettle grill or your home oven—expect about 70 to 90 minutes actual cooking time, either way. Trim the leg so that it will fit in an appropriate roasting pan. Crush and mix all the other ingredients and rub all over the roast. You can leave it to marinate at room temperature for a few hours before roasting, or wrap it airtight and chill overnight. In either case let it come to room temperature throughout before cooking. When you’re ready to roast it, put the meat on a rack in the roasting pan, and pour about ½-inch water in the pan under the roast.

Grill option:

Have a nice deep bed of hot coals in a kettle grill. Push the coals into a ridge around the perimeter of the kettle, put in the cooking rack and position the baking pan in the center. Close the lid (with all the air vents open). When the center of the meat shows 130 degrees on an instant read thermometer, remove the roasting pan from the rack and set aside. Using tongs and a fire shovel, pick up the rack and push all the remaining coals back into the center and quickly crisp the roast by grilling it on all sides for a couple minutes. Return the meat to the roasting pan.

Oven option:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roast haunch for 30 minutes or until browned, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Remove from oven when the center of the meat shows 130 on an instant read thermometer.

As the meat cooks, brush with leftover marinade or more olive oil every now and again.

In either scenario—and this is the important part—do not let the internal temperature break 130 degrees. Let the roast rest, tented in foil, in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving thinly to serve.

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