How to make smoked, slow-cooked pulled venison in sticky sauce

José Souto's recipe is one of the contenders for the 2019 Eat Game Awards. It's not hard to see why.

You’ll need a cold smoker for the recipe, which we initially thought might be complicated and expensive — but turns out to be neither, particularly if you’re planning on smoking meat, fish or cheese regularly. Or, of course, game — something which we’re being encouraged to eat more of due to its packed with nutrients, all natural and free range, not to mention lean.

The nation is packed with great chefs, restaurants, pubs, butchers, shops, farmers’ markets and street food stalls who champion British wild game, and the Eat Game awards celebrate them. Nominations for the awards have been extended to Friday 8th November, so if you’ve got a favourite game hero you can put them forward at Voting begins a week later, and winners will be announced on 11 February.


(Serves 10)

  • 2 roe deer shoulders
  • 300ml maple syrup
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 150ml soy sauce
  • 1.5l brown stock (beef or veal)
  • 2 medium sized, medium strength red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 200g celeriac
  • 100g baby gherkins
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250ml mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp cornflour


Put the shoulders into a cold smoker for two hours.

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In the meantime, mix the maple syrup, brown sugar, soy sauce, stock, chilli and garlic to make your cooking liquid, and preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3.

Once the shoulders are smoked, put them into a large casserole dish and cover with the cooking liquid. Bring it to the boil and transfer to the oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meant comes easily off the bone.

Once the meat is cooked, drain the liquid, passing it through a sieve and skimming off any fat. Retain the liquid.

Using rubber gloves (so that you can do this while the meat is still hot) take the meat off the bone and pull the meat into strips.

Now bring the cooking liquid to the boil and reduce it by two thirds. Once reduced, thicken the liquid with cornflour, diluted in a little water. It needs to be thick enough to coat the back of spoon.

For coleslaw, cut the celeriac and gherkins into fine strips. Mix with the lemon juice and mayonnaise. To serve, place the meat in the hot sauce to warm up and serve in toasted brioche buns with a good helping of coleslaw.