Venison Ribs

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Here’s the best way I’ve ever found to do venison ribs, a cut of meat that is often underutilized or simply ground into sausage meat. It’s based on a recipe stolen from Steven Raichlen’s very excellent The Barbecue Bible, though my brother Matt added a couple of key steps to make it the perfect preparation for summertime wild game grilling.

Step 1: Using a hacksaw or bone saw cut a rack of venison ribs perpendicular to the bones, so that you get three strips of connected rib bones that are about five or six inches long. Then cut these trips into pieces containing three or four ribs apiece. Plan on two or three pieces per person – say about five or six pounds of ribs for six folks. You want them to look like this:

Step 2: Place the ribs into a pressure cooker and add just enough water to cover them. Cook at full pressure for thirty minutes. By then, the ribs should be tender enough for the meat to fall off the bone.

Step 3: Remove the ribs from the pressure cooker, let them cool, and then give them a generous rub-down with your favorite dry rub (blends meant for pork ribs are ideal). Or if you’re feeling ambitious, make up a batch based on Raichlen’s recommended blend by combining the following ingredients.

1/4 cup paprika

1 ½ Tablespoons ground black pepper

1 ½ Tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 Tablespoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons celery salt

1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

Step 4: Combine the following to make a mop sauce for glazing:

1 cup cider vinegar

½ cup yellow mustard

Step 5: Fire up your outdoor grill and lay out the ribs in a single layer on the rack. Since they’re already cooked, you’re just looking to give them a light char and get them crisp. Flip often, and mop on a generous coat of the glaze each time they flip. Continue cooking until the bones start to blacken and the meat has acquired the color of ribby goodness – say about ten or fifteen minutes. Serve with dill pickles and you’ll be in heaven.


17 Responses to “Venison Ribs”

  1. bido2231

    Looks good. I love your show. It is so real. I live in Utah but fish & hunt in Montana. You remind me of my three boys. We record ever show. You have many fans out here.

  2. Duane72

    I’m going to have to try this! I have always stripped the rib meat for grinding not really knowing what to do with it on the bone. This gives me a great idea of what to work with. Any suggestions if you don’t have a pressure cooker though?

    • Brittany Brothers Brittany

      Thanks for pointing that out, Chris, that 2nd paprika isn’t supposed to be in there! It’s updated now.

  3. TurkeyHunter

    Ever try to smoke venison ribs? I usually use the 3, 2, 1 method for other types of ribs, but I’ve never tried venison. It usually ends up in the waste.

  4. Bob327

    Looks good. I cut ribs for the first time this past fall. Got the inspiration to do it after noticing my cordless Sawzall sitting on the work bench while skinning my deer. Figured it was worth the shot. I soaked the ribs in a brine overnight and then slathered them with my favorite barbecue sauce and cooked them on the grill low and slow and kept flipping them while brushing on more sauce. I think they came out all right but a little tough for my tastes, but my son loved them. Can’t wait until next deer season to try this recipe. Already bought some stainless Sawzall blades at Cabelas in anticipation.

  5. Poorboy

    Just doin’ up a batch Now… I googled “Best Venison Ribs” and of course it brought me here. I knew I should have just typed Meateater! I’ve always kept the ribs and have had some success braising & BBQ’N but I’ve never been 100% happy with the results. Found my pressure Cooker in the shed today so it works out perfect. Thanks from your Fans in Nova Scotia Canada!

      • Poorboy

        The Ribs turned out Perfect… 100% This will be my rib recipe from now on! I had a friend who said he would never eat Deer chowing down on them! I told him after his 2nd plate full!

  6. Tloveless

    My husband has hunted for years but has never kept the ribs. He killed his first buck of the season his past weekend and brought home the ribs!! I used this recipe and cooked them last night. We could not beleive how good they were! My husband was actually shocked at the taste. We eat a lot of deer and process it ourselves along with turkey and fish. Love the recpies and learning how to cook the wild game.

  7. cchoww

    A recipe we tried recenlty with some deer ribs was to salt and pepper them and deep fry them without any type of batter. I got this idea from eating at a Caribbean restaraunt. You can put whatever dry rub you want but we kept it simple with salt and pepper. Instead of keeping the ribs attached to each other we would cut them into individual ribs and then frying them in peanut oil.

  8. browntab

    Steve, thanks for the inspiration on these. I’ve always thrown the ribs to the dogs, my father in law said he had never had any that turned out good so I thought I would give it a shot to change his mind. After cutting them into sections and pulling the under layer of silver skin, I rubbed them with a brown sugar based bbq rub and then soaked them in a mixture of red wine vinegar and buttermilk for almost 30 hours. To cook them I put them I the crock pot for 6 hours on low with 2 yuenglings and 2 cups of water. After 6 hours they were falling apart so I took them out and out them in the oven for 30 minutes with a layer of bbq sauce. Needless to say my father and law was converted and so was I….they won’t go to the dogs anymore!

  9. TTRON

    I have never gotten Deer ribs to work very well. I will try this! I don’t have a pressure cooker but can braze them at 300F for 30 minutes as suggested!
    How did you get the ribs to show so much? Does that happen when brazing or did you cut them back some?

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I’m going to make some Tomorrow !

    Gonna search the rest of your site for a good Deer Sausage recipe!
    I process my Deer also, have a pretty good recipe for Jerky it’s still in the works but right now it’s pretty good!

    • Nicole Qualtieri Nicole Qualtieri

      When you’ve slow-cooked the meat long enough, it naturally pulls away from the bone–creating that really ribby look :)

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