Every bowl of ramen is different—but every bowl of ramen is also kind of the same: Each has a rich broth, usually some combination of meat and vegetable toppings, and, of course, ramen noodles. While there are a few common threads, recipes and ramen styles vary, because cooks make their own versions based on what is available to them. And if there is one thing a lot of deer hunters have available to them, it’s deer shanks.
If you happen to still have some shanks in your freezer that you haven’t yet run through the grinder, you need to try this recipe. Shank meat works perfectly here. Not only is the meat tender and delicious, but the cartilage from the bones thickens and enriches the flavor of the liquid they’re cooked in, which makes for the perfect ramen-broth base.
While this recipe is more complex and time-consuming that zapping a pack of instant ramen in the microwave, it’s still relatively simple and calls for ingredients that most folks shouldn’t have trouble finding.
- 2 venison shanks
- 8 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
- 2 qt., plus 2 cups, wild game stock or bone broth
- 2 strips of bacon, roughly cut
- ½ red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 thumb ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch of scallions, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar or mirin
- 2 sheets kombu or other seaweed
- 5-8 shiitake mushrooms
- 1 package of ramen noodles
- Nori sheets, mushrooms, soft-boiled egg, and scallions for garnish
- Cook the venison shanks in a slow-cooker with 4 Tbsp. of soy sauce and ½ quart of stock for several hours, until the meat falls off the bone.
- In a large pot, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered. Then add the onion, garlic, ginger, and scallion, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for about two minutes. Add the rice wine vinegar or mirin, and deglaze the pot.
- Add the stock or bone broth, along with the kombu, shiitakes, and remaining soy sauce. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Once the shank meat is falling off the bone, remove the meat and set it aside. Add the bones and braising liquids from the slow-cooker to the broth. Continue to simmer for about another hour.
- When the broth is ready, cook the ramen noodles (discard the flavor packet) according to their directions.
- Build your ramen bowl: Ladle the broth over the noodles. Add the shank meat, then garnish with nori sheets, sliced mushrooms, a soft-boiled egg, and scallions.