deerlicious how to remove wild game taste from venison

“Deerlicious!” | How to Remove the Wild Taste from Deer Meat

Deer meat, otherwise known as venison, is a prized protein for many hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. However, its distinct wild or gamey flavor can be off-putting to some, especially if not prepared correctly.

How To Remove The Wild Or “Gamey” Flavor From Venison

So take a look at some of the methods of removing the gamey, or “wild” taste from venison…

1. Proper Field Dressing and Handling

  • The process of removing the internal organs (gutting) and skinning the deer should be done as soon as possible after the kill. The longer these organs remain inside the animal, the higher likelihood of not only unwanted flavor, but also bacteria. So, being able to locate and field dress the animal promptly are very important.
  • Make every effort to keep the meat clean and cool during this process. Remove any hair, dirt, and bloodshot areas.
man cleaning deer with N1 shirt on

2. Bleeding and Trimming

  • Properly bleeding the deer after the kill can also reduce gamey flavors.
  • Placing the quartered and trimmed meat into cooler full of ice will help drain out the blood, which will greatly reduce the gamey flavor. You can allow the meat to sit for days in the ice. However, for best results, empty the bloody water and continue to add fresh ice during this process. If your cooler has a drain on the back, you can leave the drain open to allow the bloody runoff to constantly drain. Just don’t forget to refill the cooler with ice as it melts!
  • Trim away any silver skin, connective tissue, and visible fat, as these can contribute to a strong taste that many find unpalatable. Removing the “tallow” or fat from the meat can significantly improve its flavor.
man removing silver skin from deer backstrap

3. Aging the Meat

  • Aging venison helps to tenderize the meat and mellow out its flavor.
  • You can dry-age venison by hanging it in a cool (34-37°F), well-ventilated area for around 7 to 10 days.
  • Alternatively, wet-aging can be done by vacuum-sealing the meat and letting it rest in a refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

4. Storage and Freezing

  • Properly packaging and freezing venison can also help maintain its quality and flavor.
  • Vacuum-sealing removes air, reducing the risk of freezer burn and preserving the meat’s taste.
  • Use freezer-safe bags or containers, and label with the date to ensure freshness.
backstrap with date on package

5. Soaking in Milk

  • Many hunters swear by soaking venison in milk to remove gaminess.
  • The enzymes and lactic acid in the milk help to tenderize and neutralize strong flavors.
  • Submerge the meat in milk for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.

6. Marinating

  • Marinating venison is an effective way to infuse flavor and tenderize the meat.
  • Use acidic ingredients like vinegar, citrus juice, or wine to break down the strong flavors.
  • Add herbs, spices, and aromatics such as garlic, onion, thyme, rosemary, or juniper berries to enhance the taste.
  • Allow the meat to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results.

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7. Use of Seasonings and Ingredients

  • Bold seasonings and ingredients can help mask gamey taste.
  • Consider using strong flavors such as cumin, chili powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or balsamic vinegar.
  • Incorporate sweet elements like honey, maple syrup, or fruit preserves to balance out the flavors.
deer meat with rub

8. Cooking Techniques

  • Opt for cooking methods that add moisture and flavor to the meat.
  • Slow cooking methods such as braising, stewing, or using a slow cooker can help tenderize and mellow the flavors.
  • Grilling or smoking with wood chips like hickory or applewood can add a pleasant smokiness to mask any remaining gamey taste.
  • Cooking meats (like a roast) in a croc-pot with vegetables and/or other ingredients, like cream of mushroom soup, can greatly tame a gamey taste.
  • Avoid overcooking, as this can make the meat tough and intensify any unwanted flavors.
  • Adding ingredients like powdered chicken soup mix to venison burger can not only mask gamey taste, but give the meat a great flavor as well.

9. Mixing with Other Meats

  • If the wild taste is still too strong for your liking, consider mixing venison with other meats.
  • Ground venison can be combined with pork, beef, or bacon to create flavorful burgers, meatloaf, or sausages.

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10. Patience and Experimentation

  • Removing the gamey taste from venison can be a process of trial and error.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques, marinades, and recipes to find what works best for your palate.
  • Patience is key, especially when aging, marinating, or slow cooking the meat.

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Final Thoughts On Removing Wild Taste From Venison

By following the above steps, you can transform your deer meat into a delectable and flavorful dish that even those hesitant about the wild taste will enjoy.

So, whether you’re grilling steaks, making a hearty stew, or crafting gourmet burgers, these techniques will help you make the most of your venison and savor every bite.

Maston of N1 Outdoors with whitetail buck

Happy hunting and bon appétit!

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