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Venison: Why is Venison Tough and Gamey?

Russ Myers


Venison is one of the best tasting and most nutrious of all red meats.
Please read and understand the directions before preparing your recipe.

Directions and pic By: Stacy Harris | November 19, 2013
Summary by: Russ Myers


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harvested deer, prepared for butchering

How to Make Venison: Why is Venison Tough and Gamey?


  • 1Why is Venison Tough and Gamey?
    There are a few reasons for the tough texture and gamey taste of venison. Deer, unlike domesticated cattle, have to rely on the vegetation in the wild for survival and on average are older when harvested. They are lean from their diet and exercise, therefore do not have the marbling of fat that beef contains.
    Although this makes the deer healthier, it also can cause the meat to be tough if it is not prepared by someone who knows how to cook venison correctly.
    The deer’s diet, along with improper aging, will cause venison to taste gamey. Venison does have a distinct flavor, just as grass-fed beef has a distinct flavor, and this must not be confused with gaminess. Most domestic raised animals are bred to be tasteless and fatty.
    Venison has much more depth of flavor than beef. If venison preparation is done by someone who knows how to cook venison, it will be incredibly and delectably tender.
  • 2How to Cook Venison: It Starts with Aging

    If a walk-in cooler is not available, it is best to quickly process your venison, then allow the meat to age in the refrigerator on a rack, not allowing it to sit in its blood,
    for five to seven days.
    Once it has been aged, package the cuts of meat in a double wrap of butcher paper or vacuum sealed bags, then label and date the packages.
    If you have a walk-in freezer, hang it and leave it for seven to ten days. Following these simple steps should rid the venison of any undesirable gamey flavors.
  • 3How to Cook Venison: Preparing the Cuts

    I prepare the various cuts of venison using different methods. Just as our ancestors before us, I braise the shoulder and neck and use them in stews and soups, brown the loin in a super hot skillet and serve it rare, and prepare the hindquarter roast in a diversity of ways.
  • 4How to Cook Venison: Add Good Fats

    Since venison does not have much fat, I add healthy fats such as olive oil when I brown the meat. This adds necessary fat to produce a more tender and juicy result.
  • 5Venison Tips:The Best Part Isn’t the Taste
    I find that venison preparation and cooking has contributed to the closeness of our family.
    As our family plans the hunt, prepare the fields, and plant nutritious vegetation for the animals in the wild, much fun, conversation, and ideas abound. Each person contributes.
    After the meal is prepared, the stories come to life of the hunt, and all the preparation and hard work together is rewarded with a delicious, succulent meal.
    Enjoy your family as you begin or continue the family traditions of planning, working, hunting, and enjoying the outdoors and the incredible food that you harvest together.
  • 6Summary:Wild game meat is better for you than most processed beef and poultry. The majority of grocery store beef comes from commercial operations where cattle are housed in mass quantities. When many animals are kept close to each other they are prone to sickness. To prevent sickness, cattle producers give the animals antibiotics whether they are needed or not. Most are also given growth hormones and large amounts of grain to speed up their weight gain so they can go to the slaughterhouse quicker.
    However, when you hunt your own food you know that the animals you harvest have not ingested antibiotics or artificial hormones. This translates to healthier food for the family table.
    Venison, wild turkey and other game meat is lower in fat than commercial poultry, pork and beef. For example, 3 ounces of venison contains only 3 grams of fat, while 3 ounces of commercially raised beef contains 18 grams of fat. This means that venison is also lower in calories.
    That same 3-ounce serving of venison has only 134 calories, while 3 ounces of pork has 214 calories and beef has 259 calories. Even if you eat the same portion of meat, you are eating fewer calories with venison. Wild game may even help you lose weight!
    As an added bonus, wild game meat contains omega-3 fatty acids, which some studies show are beneficial to the heart. These compounds also play vital roles in every cell of the human body, and wild game meat is loaded with them. Omega-3 fatty acids form in the chloroplasts of green leaves, a big part of the diet of many game animals.
  • 7The meat of commercially raised beef that does not have access to pasture grasses lacks other beneficial vitamins and nutrients that are present in wild game. For instance, most game meat is higher in protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins than commercial meats. Some people experience vitamin deficiencies because they are living on mostly processed foods. By including wild game meat as a part of your diet, you can help eliminate vitamin deficiencies and enjoy better health.
    When you consume wild game meats, your food will be healthier for you and as close to natural as possible. Become part of the “eat local” movement — go hunting!

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About Venison: Why is Venison Tough and Gamey?

Course/Dish: Wild Game
Main Ingredient: Wild Game
Regional Style: American
Dietary Needs: Low Fat
Other Tags: Healthy, Heirloom
Hashtag: #deer

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