Here's one for your inner caveman: a whole roasted venison leg, just like Fred Flintstone would've cooked it. This is game cookery at its most primal and dramatic, and the results are a showpiece—which is good, as you'll need a crowd to help you eat it. Because the meat is only mildly doctored—with a classic wet rub of olive oil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and juniper berries—and cooked in an unforgiving manner, the key to success here is a prime hunk of meat ideally from a younger deer, field dressed impeccably, and aged if possible. Thumping your chest while gnawing the bones is optional.
MAKE THE RUB: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, thyme, garlic, rosemary, juniper berries, salt, and pepper until it resembles a coarse paste. (Add a little more olive oil, if needed, to make it goopy enough to spread.) Rub this mixture onto the venison, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Remove the leg from the refrigerator several hours before cooking. It should be at room temperature when it goes into the oven.
PREHEAT THE OVEN to 350 degrees. Drizzle the meat with the vegetable oil, patting it lightly with your fingers to coat evenly, and place the leg on the rack of a large roasting pan. Roast, undisturbed, for 1 hour.
HEAT THE STOCK to a low simmer on the stovetop. Turn the meat. Using a baster or ladle, baste the meat with about half of the hot stock, and roast for another hour.
TURN THE ROAST a second time, and repeat the basting. After about 15 minutes, check the meat in its thickest part with an instant-read meat thermometer. The cooking time will depend on the size of the roast. Remove the roast when the thermometer reads 120 degrees for rare, or 126 for medium rare. (The meat will keep cooking after it's removed.)
REMOVE THE ROAST to a large cutting board and allow it to rest, tented with a few sheets of aluminum foil, for about 20 minutes. Carve and serve.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup rosemary, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. juniper berries, crushed
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup cracked black peppercorns
1 whole venison hind leg, bone-in (12-15 lb.)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 cups game or beef stock