Venison Barbacoa – Instant Pot OR Slow Cooker


We were fortunate enough to get 3 deer this hunting season. Hunting here is way different than it is back home in Texas. Not better, or worse, just different. You actually have to hike to find deer, find a good shot, then field dress it, and pack it out yourself.  The first deer my husband got her he hiked miles and miles for. I think his step counter ended up saying he had hiked 16 miles, and that was only when he had service (not to mention it was on the side of a mountain!) I would have died. He packed the deer out with his buddy.

Feeding deer with the intent of hunting them is considered baiting here – extremely different from the corn-feeder deer-blind-sitting hunting we do down South. I am most definitely one of those people who has the upmost respect and compassion for animals – even the ones we hunt and fish. Some may think those things don’t go hand in hand, and I would challenge them to say that is what makes a great hunter. Case and point our ‘pet’ deer who visits us in the neighborhood. This little button buck has come down from the mountains because, when there is heavy snow here, it covers all of the grass and the deer start to starve. He comes to the house in font of mine every day and enjoys getting treats from all the kids.

Anyways! Back to the recipe. Hunting was always a part of my life growing up, but I cannot remember having venison many other ways than dried sausage, jerky, fried like chicken fried steak, or pan sausage. Lot’s of people think deer meat has to be gamey or dry – and it definitely does not! I have challenged myself to experiment with it and come up with moist and flavorful dishes – this one is no exception! This venison barbacoa is full of flavor, and while I did use deer meat, would be amazing with beef as well! (Recipe card at bottom) Here’s my method:


2 lb venison roast (can certainly sub beef!)

2 tbs olive oil

3 pepers in adobo (from a can)

2 tbs white vinegar

2 tbs red wine vinegar

1/2 lime, juiced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1/2 tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup broth


Red onion, sliced

Cilantro, chopped


I am using a venison ball roast in this recipe.


I cut the meat into chunks and add salt and pepper.


Next, add the 2 tbs oil to the bottom of your Instant Pot and hit the sauté function. If you are using a slow cooker, you can brown the meat in a pan on the stove top for this step.


While the meat is browning, combine: peppers in adobo, white vinegar, red wine vinegar, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper into a blender. Blend until smooth.



Once meat is browned, pour broth in the bottom of the pot and scrape up all the brown bits. (If you are using a slow cooker, remove meat to slow cooker. Add broth to the pan and scrape brown bits up. Pour the broth over the meat in the slow cooker.)

Next pour your pepper puree onto the meat.


For the Instant pot, secure the lid. Hit cancel for the sauté function. Press the manual button and adjust to 80 minutes.


For the slow cooker, once you have poured your pepper mixture onto the meat, cook on low all day – or high for 6 hours.

Once the cooking cycle is done, the meat should be easily shreddable. Remove the meat from the pot, shred, and then return to the meat juices.


The barbacoa is now ready to be served! Serve it in a taco, on a salad, on nachos, or even rice! I chose to eat mine on roasted sweet potatoes to keep it paleo:


My husband though had it over cilantro rice.


Delicious any way you want to have it! Enjoy



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