Tin Plate Special: Venison Roast with Beans

This venison and bean dish is called the “tin plate special,” inspired by a recipe we found in an old Marlboro cookbook— yes, the cigarette company. If you can find it, it’s a gem, illustrated by nostalgic photos of chuckwagon cooking and lean cowboys, and several tried-and-true recipes for timeless Old West staples. 

It’s not a big book— more like a supplemental magazine that’s now frayed at the edges. We go through our library to get rid of old cookbooks from time to time, to make room for new ones, but of all things, we’ve kept this one over the years. “Chuckwagon Cooking from Marlboro Country” was published by Phillip Morris in 1981, perhaps sold on news stands and in liquor stores— pick up this book of manly recipes along with your pack of manly smokes; hey, take this bourbon with you, too. 

Servings: 8-10
Prep Time: about 3 hours
Cook Time: 2 1/2 - 3 hours
- 1 pound dry pinto beans
- 6 pounds of venison roast
- 2 tbs. lard or shortening
- 1 - 4 oz. can of diced jalepenos
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 tbs. cider vinegar
- 2 tbs. brown sugar
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 tsp. thyme
- cooking twine

1. Wash beans in a colander. Look for rocks, because Rick found a couple rocks in his bag of beans. Place beans in a large pot. Cover with water, leaving 3 inches of water above the beans. Bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer until tender, about 3 hours. Drain and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove as much fat as you can from the surface of the venison roast(s). Any silver skin will soften in the cooking process. 
3. Tie roast(s) with cooking twine. This helps the roast cook evenly. Dab dry with paper towels, and sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides. Below is a helpful video on how to tie a roast.

4. In a Dutch oven, heat lard or fat over medium-high heat. Sear venison roast on all sides for a deep brown color. Make sure the pan is hot before putting in your meat. Once browned, move the roast to a plate and set aside.

5. In the same pot, soften the onion with a pinch of salt over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5-7 minutes. 
6. Then add the drained beans to the onions.
Then the canned diced jalapenos, juice and all.
Then the tomato juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, water, cider vinegar, mustard and thyme.

7. Start by adding 1 tsp. of salt to the bean mixture – you can adjust later. Submerge the browned venison roast(s) into the beans. Meat should be covered almost entirely.
8. Cover and bake in a 350-degree F oven for about 2.5 - 3 hours, or until tender. Adjust seasonings.
9. Remove the roast and slice thickly. 
Serve with beans and corn bread on the side.


  1. Thanks for visiting me over at Marksblackpot.com! This looks really good. As soon as I get some venison, I'm trying it!

    1. Thanks for coming by! Let us know how it turns out. It was DELICIOUS!

  2. Venison roast? Be still my heart...I love venison. This looks tender and full of flavor.

    1. Venison is such great meat when cooked correctly. We were quite pleased with the results. It wasn't dry at all! I guess the trick is to cover the roast completely with liquid, unlike a beef roast where you just fill the pot halfway. This really helped to keep the venison moist, since it virtually has no fat.


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