Are you looking to introduce more wild game meat into your diet? But find yourself wondering, what does venison taste like? Here we will review what venison tastes like and what factors impact the final flavor.
Why You Will Love This Guide
If you have been looking for a healthy alternative to conventional meat like beef or pork, we think game meat like venison is worth a try!
Venison is the meat of antlered animals, most commonly from whitetail deer from North America, and is considered different red meat.
Of course, elk and caribou are also considered venison, but the most popular source, deer, is why it is often referred to in its simplest terms as deer meat.
It is increasing in popularity, mainly because of its long list of health benefits and rich, delicious flavor.
While some people seem to be a bit put-off because it tastes differently than beef, different doesn't necessarily equate to unpleasant.
This guide will explore what modern deer hunters already know and how to achieve the best, most festive-tasting meat.
What Determines the Flavor?
Like the adage for people, "you are what you eat," venison can vary in flavor with the animal's diet.
Animals fed a diet high in corn or corn-fed deer will yield meat that has a milder flavor than those eating acorns or plants grown in the wild.
The wilder the diet, the wilder flavor.
Some say venison can have a "gamey" flavor, referring to a musky, pungent flavor. Most often, this is most recognizable in the deer fat.
When the animal is processed, if the fat, along with the silver skin and connective tissue, is removed, the gamey taste of venison diminishes.
If the animal is harvested in the wild and improper field dressing occurs, the flavors can be less desirable, too.
Hunters should pay close attention to adequate bleeding and sufficient cooling of the animal while still in the field.
What Does it Taste Like?
When first tasting venison, some people describe the taste and texture as earthy.
Others claim that it has a rich, festive flavor, and the most discerning say they can taste hints of the acorns and herbs the animal feasted on.
It can be a drier cut of meat than beef, probably because of its leanness and low-fat content.
And though some describe it as less succulent than beef, they contend it is firmer and smoother.
Factors That Impact The Flavor
If you are finding the stronger flavors of your wild game meat are overwhelming, here are some tips that may help improve the flavor:
- Consider the age of the deer. Avoid consuming old bucks; a mature buck will have more undesirable strong flavors
- Don't consume the internal organs; these can have the unique flavor of venison
- Work quickly in warm weather; you have less time vs. a cold night
- Examine the muscle tissue and the color of the meat. You're looking for a dark red color which may be discolored if you're working with bad deer meat
- Avoid using any dirty knives or unclean equipment
- Avoid inadequate bleeding or field dressing techniques
- Be wary of any bone fragments if you're using a saw blade
- Store your processed meat properly. Use a vacuum seal option to store the meat. Compared to regular plastic bags, this will hopefully better preserve your wild meat and help to avoid freezer burn
Why You Should Try It
Venison has many of the health benefits that beef lovers are looking for, with a similar flavor profile. It is a delicious meat that is similar to grass-fed beef.
Once you examine how venison can impact your diet and active lifestyle, it can be easy to choose.
Nutritional experts know that venison is a nutritious choice because:
- No carbs and low calories. Stacked up against beef or chicken, venison wins in the low-calorie race.
- Low sodium. Venison naturally is low in sodium content.
- High in protein, yet low in fat. Though most meats are protein-rich, the low-fat content (in addition to the low sodium) makes this a great choice for your heart health. Lean meat is a great choice for many different diets.
- Packed with vitamins and minerals. Venison is chock-full of nutrients your body needs for peak health and performance, including potassium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, B6, and B12.
- High in Iron. Venison is rich in iron, which is easily and efficiently absorbed by the body.
The Best Way To Use Venison
You can use deer meat, or venison, in about any way you would use beef.
Keep in mind that since it is much lower in fat, using it in things like hamburgers or other ways that require fatter meat, you may want to add some fat.
Some processing plants add additional beef tallow to the burger for that reason.
If you find that your meat tastes a little different or has a gamey flavor, add spices like our seasoning rub or sauces to tone down the gaminess and enhance the rich, full flavor of the meat.
Venison is a healthy alternative to other red meats. It is low in fat, high in nutrients, and very versatile.
The entire hunting culture would agree that the best venison meat is the meat you harvest yourself.
Big game hunting can be an excellent way to stock the freezer with elk meat, deer meat, wild venison, and more.
The flavor range of the meat is due, in part, to the animal's diet and the way it was field dressed and processed.
The meat has a rich, exotic flavor that can be changed in how it is prepared.
So what does venison taste like? It's time for a taste test!
Give it a try for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments below.