By: Connor Gabott
Rich, smoky, mustardy and a touch of sweet. If I ever walked into a southern BBQ joint and ordered a braised game shank dish, this is what I would expect to get. The blue cheese adds a great sharpness to this deeply flavored dish. Some people might say using liquid smoke in this recipe is cheating but I would say if you don’t have the ability to smoke at home then this is the best, and probably only, option.
These shanks come from a Stone Sheep that I took with my bow in Northern B.C. Despite connecting on a beautiful ram on this trip, the two things that stand out the most in my mind are the good times hunting with a buddy and spending a full day post pack out sitting by a little fire on the lake and eating arctic char after arctic char sautéed in butter and spices. That was a meal I will not soon forget.
Serving Suggestions: This would go incredible with cheesy grits and coleslaw. A classic combo.
4 – Shanks (I used boned out because that’s what I had but bone-in works even better, just add some extra braising time to account for the bone.)
2-4 Tbs. – Oil, grape-seed
2 – Onions, 1/2″ diced
12 cloves – Garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs. – Yellow mustard seeds
4 Tbs. – Tomato Paste
2 cups – Red wine
4 cups – Chicken stock
1/2 cup – Maple syrup
1 tsp. – Liquid smoke
Blue Cheese such as a Danish blue or Stilton
- Place a large braising pot over medium high heat and add the oil.
- Meanwhile, season the shanks with salt on all sides.
- Once the oil starts to smoke, add the shanks to the pot and cook to a dark brown. Cook in batches if your pot isn’t big enough to cook them all at once.
- Flip the shanks and repeat the browning on the second side.
- Remove the shanks from the pot and set aside.
- Add the onion and sauté for 2-4 minutes or until the edges of the onion just starts to change color.
- Add the garlic and mustard seeds to the pot and cook for 2 minutes or until the garlic just starts to change color.
- Add the tomato paste and cook it out for 2-3 minutes or until it turns a dark reddish brown.
- Deglaze the pot with the wine and reduce the liquid by half while scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a spoon.
- Add the chicken stock, maple syrup, liquid smoke and shanks to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add more stock if needed to cover the shanks completely and add as needed throughout cooking.
- Cover the pot and simmer on the stovetop for 3 hours or until the shanks are fall apart tender. This time will vary great based on a number of factors so keep checking. It may take upwards of 3 hours.
- If you are not serving this the same day, once the shanks are tender, place the entire pot into the fridge to cool and develop flavor overnight.
- To reheat, place the entire pot into a 350F oven and allow to heat all the way through.
- Baste the shanks as the sauce reduces to help create a bit of a sticky bark on the outside of the shanks.
- Once hot, season the sauce with salt to you liking. You can also add grainy mustard at this point if you have it and like the acidity it brings.
- Crumble the blue cheese over top of the shanks and serve.