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Big Game Ribs

Ribs slicing

Difficulty level:


When you get that big game harvest, you want to use all the meat that you can, right?  But most of us only know the basics- tenderloins, backstrap, shank, and then ground up the rest.  This recipe will show you how to utilize even more of that hard-earned meat, and let’s just say… You won’t look at the rib cage of your next harvest the same after trying this recipe.

Big game ribs are often regarded as being too tough and stringy for use in standard recipes designed for beef or pork ribs.  That is why this recipe calls for a pressure cooker!  The pressure cooker tenderizes the big game ribs, and the grill gives them that great, smoky flavor!

If you’re dealing with an animal that has a lot of fat over the ribs, trim away as much as possible before cooking.  It’s waxy and not too pleasant to eat, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all.  Most of the remainder will render during the initial cooking process.  There is a lot of guesswork when it comes to pressure cooking ribs, as you can’t visually monitor their progress inside the sealed cooker.  If you let them go just ten minutes too long, the meat can become so tender that it falls away from the bone.  A safer, albeit longer method, is using a slow cooker.


1 slab game ribs, cut in half, then cut into 2 or 3 ribs bone chunks

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground fresh black pepper

About 4 cups Blonde Game Stock or water (or substitute low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth)

Holy Gospel Rub or an alternative rib rub of choice

Hasty Bake BBQ sauce or an alternative BBQ sauce of choice



Using a hacksaw or bone saw, cut the ribs perpendicular to the bones to get a 4- to 6-inch strip of connected rib bones.  Then, cut these strips into pieces containing 3 or 4 ribs apiece.

Place the ribs, salt, and pepper in a slow cooker and add just enough stock or water to cover them.  Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.  By then, the ribs should be fairly tender.  The measure of a perfectly cooked venison rib is that meat clings to the bone but it can be easily pulled away with your teeth, leaving a clean, white bone behind.  A little resistance when you’re chewing is not a bad thing.

Prepare your grill for medium to high direct heat.

Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and then give them a generous rub-down with the rub.  Place the ribs on the grill. Since they’re already cooked, you’re simply reheating the meat and charring the outside a bit.  Once the ribs have crisped, about 10 minutes, coat them generously with the BBQ sauce and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize and thicken.

Serve hot.


Also works with: Anything goes, as long as there is enough meat to bother with.  Smaller whitetails and mule deer, as well as antelope, sometimes have so little meat over and between their ribs that it doesn’t warrant the effort of cooking them.  In these cases, bone out whatever you can get from the ribs and add it to the trim pile for making burger.  In the case of larger animals such as big deer, elk, moose, and caribou, it’s possible to actually have too much meat.  If there’s a heavy layer of muscle over the rib cage, fillet it away for the burger pile.  On these big critters, there’s enough meat between the ribs that you don’t need the over layers to make it worthwhile.


Special equipment: slow cooker, hacksaw or butcher’s saw.

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