How to roast a whole leg of venison

Written by jeffrey brian airman
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How to roast a whole leg of venison
Cut vegetables gradually release their water to keep venison moist while roasting. (Venison roast with roasted potatos - close -up image by Elzbieta Sekowska from

You can roast a whole leg of venison in a home oven without drying out the meat. A whole venison leg cut contains many of the muscles a deer uses when running and jumping. The lean meat from the leg portion can quickly become dry and tough if special care is not taken. An added layer of seasoned fat holds the moisture in the venison leg and continuously bastes the meat for improved flavour.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Roasting rack
  • Heavy roasting pan
  • Grill tongs
  • 454 g (1 lb) thick sliced bacon (hickory smoked, peppered, maple flavoured)
  • Roughly chopped vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, celery)
  • 237 ml (1 cup) beer, wine or vegetable stock
  • Aluminium foil

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  1. 1

    Rinse the whole venison leg under cool running water. Pat the leg dry with paper towels. If the meat was recently taken from the refrigerator, leave it covered with paper towels for an hour to warm to room temperature.

  2. 2

    Heat the oven to 204 degrees C (400 degrees F). Generously season the surface of the entire venison leg with salt and pepper. Fresh or dry herbs like thyme, oregano or sage can also be applied to the surface of the meat.

  3. 3

    Place the seasoned venison leg roast on the roasting rack and lower it into the roasting pan. Slide the roasting pan onto the centre rack of the oven. Cook for 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Flip the venison roast over and set it back down in the roasting rack. Large grill tongs make turning the roast easier and do not puncture the surface of the meat. Cook for another 20 minutes.

  5. 5

    Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 121 degrees C (250 degrees F).

  6. 6

    Lay slices of thick cut bacon on the surface of the leg roast in a single layer. Fill the space in the roasting pan below the venison with the roughly chopped vegetables. Add 237 ml (1 cup) of seasoned liquid (beer, wine or vegetable stock) to the vegetables for extra moisture and flavour.

  7. 7

    Seal the roasting pan with a sheet of aluminium foil. Crimp the edges of the foil to trap in the steam. Slide the sealed roasting pan onto the centre rack of the 121 degrees C (250 degrees F) oven. Cook for 90 minutes.

  8. 8

    Slide a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the roast without touching the bone. Remove the aluminium foil cover once the venison leg has reached an internal temperature of 54.4 degrees C (130 degrees F) or higher.

  9. 9

    Move the roasting pan to the highest rack in the oven. Increase the heat inside the oven to 176 degrees C (350 degrees F) to finish roasting and crisp the bacon.

  10. 10

    Take readings with the probe thermometer every 15 minutes until the desired temperature is reached. 62.8 degrees C (145 degrees F) is medium, 65.6 degrees C (150 degrees F) is medium-well and 71.1 degrees C (160 degrees F) is well-done. Remove the roasted venison leg to cutting board for a 20 minute rest.

  11. 11

    Cover the resting venison leg roast with aluminium foil to trap the steam it releases. Slice the venison meat across the grain in thin slices with a long sharp knife.

Tips and warnings

  • Serve the crisp bacon layer with the venison to complement the flavour.
  • Strain the roasted vegetables to make a gravy from the drippings. Thicken the strained liquid with sifted flour.

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