One of my favorite traits about Wild Chef readers is that they’re freethinkers who aren’t afraid to try something unconventional. This week’s Food Fighters are a good example: One takes a cut that most people throwaway or grind (the shank) and puts it to good use, and the other turns classic spaghetti on its head with zucchini noodles and grilled venison steak. Which would you choose? Me? I’m going for both.

Justin Swope’s Venison Shank


I’m sure many overlook this delicious cut. When butchering, I purposefully leave extra meat on the shank for some shank roasts. Having that bone in adds richness to the roast. I seared the seasoned shank in bacon fat, then put it in the slow cooker with minced onion, fresh diced tomato, and fresh picked rosemary and thyme. Other spices were added, which helped flavor the gravy for the roast and mashed potatoes. The green beans were picked from the garden minutes before cooking. A croissant adds to this comfort meal. As always, my homemade pickles round out each meal.

Brad Smith’s Vegetable and Venison Rosa


This recipe is a healthy twist on a classic venison style spaghetti recipe. Instead of ground, we use venison steaks cut in long, thin strips marinated in light soy sauce and Italian spices. From there, we use a julienne peeler and slice several zucchinis into long noodle strips we call zoodles. Next, the zoodles are steamed along with fresh mushrooms until they become tender. This dish also has sauteed onions and peppers with a homemade rosa sauce topped off with medium-rare venison steak strips and cheese all layered from top to bottom. This dish has all of the taste, but is much healthier than traditional pasta dishes.

Think you have what it takes to win a Food Fight? Let’s see your best fish and game dish. Just e-mail the photo and a short description to and we’ll post it here.