Tender and juicy with a subtle gamey flavour basted in a vibrant chimichurri – it’s hard to find a better alternative to your regular roast meats than muntjac: both lighter and less gamey than regular venison, it is a brilliant alternative to beef or lamb.
I was very excited to be asked to demo at the BBQ Bonanza at Bell of Northampton. A little different for me as I was cooking on the large Big Green Egg but I quickly got my bearings and got going. I banked the coals on one side, looking to cook at a temperature of 160C with the grill on the higher setting. While waiting to reach my temp I quickly butterflied a leg of Muntjac that had been shot and hung for a couple of weeks by Tom Wood, rubbed it with olive oil and a few pinches of salt. This went on the Egg, directly over the coals while I threw a few sausages onto the indirect side.
The results were spectacular; I removed then basted the venison with my paprika chimichurri once it hit 54C and spritzed it while cooking with an olive oil, sherry vinegar and bourbon mix. After a good 10-15 minutes resting it was cut into small chunks and offered up to be greedily eaten by those waiting – thumbs up all round!
The sausages soon followed, tender, juicy and with a hint of chilli – a great way to show off how versatile a ceramic bbq is!
A few pointers on why I chose to cook the joint this way:
- muntjac (and venison in general) is a very lean cut of meat that can quickly dry out – I chose to grill at 160C over direct heat to keep it tender and moist but get a crisper edge.
- venison has a subtle but beautiful natural taste which can easily be overpowered by strong marinades – I went for a simple oil and salt rub to cook only basting with the more powerful chimichurri while resting to make sure the venison was the star of the show with the additional flavour on the skin.
- I love spritzing joints while roasting – gives a crispier skin with a fun extra flavour!
Didn’t get any photos of the process as was demoing but took a couple afterwards.
*Cooking times were suitable for a small leg of muntjac. If you are cooking a larger cut of venison like fallow or roe you may need to increase to 15 minutes a side.
What you’ll need
Equipment: bbq with a dome. Thermometer. Tongs and basting brush.
butterflied Muntjac leg:
- Muntjac leg
- olive oil
- paprika chimichurri
for the spritz:
- 1/2 olive oil
- 1/4 sherry vinegar
- 1/4 Jack Daniels Bourbon
preparing the Muntjac:
With a sharp knife, cut down the length of the bone through the narrowest side of meat. Then keeping as close to the bone as possible careful cut it away removing the shank at the same time.
Once you’ve removed the bone and shank, open the meat up like a book and using a variety of cuts make it as even as possible.
Rub a little oil and a few pinches of salt all over.
cooking the Muntjac:
Bring your bbq up to 160C with the grill at the highest setting.
Lay your meat on the grill directly over the coals.
Roast for 10 minutes before turning over. Spritz both sides at this point.
Roast until the internal temperature hits 54C for medium rare before removing from the grill. Around 10 minutes.
Baste both sides with the paprika chimichurri before leaving to rest for at least 10 minutes.