So you’ve caught the perfect deer and have sent it to the butcher for quartering. Now it’s time to enjoy your prize and cook some venison for yourself, friends, and family.
If this is your first time trying deer meat, you may wonder what does venison taste like. Today we are going to answer this question, and then I’m going to share a tried and tested method to remove that gamey taste from your catch.
What Does Venison Taste Like?
Unlike pork or beef, venison tends to taste richer and earthier, often with hints of the food that deer love to eat, including acorns, chestnuts, and soybeans. It may also be a bit spicy or minty, attributing to the herbs that are part of a deer’s usual diet.
Venison lovers may also say that the meat tastes gamey. This simply means that the meat smells more pungent and tastes muskier than farm-bred animals’ meat, because of the nature of a deer’s lifestyle—that is, living in the wild all their life.
While many hunters may love this gamey taste, those not familiar with it may find the flavors overpowering. If you prefer to remove the gamey taste off your venison, then I’ve got a handy trick to help you with that.
How to Remove the Gamey Taste from Venison
If you dislike the gamey taste of venison, I can recommend a quick and easy way to remove it from your meat. The procedure is simple: Get a deep bowl and fill it with cool tap water. Submerge your venison into the bowl and let the blood leak out for a few hours.
Once the water changes from a clear appearance to a dark red color, remove the venison from the bowl and throw away the water. Replace it with a fresh batch of water and soak the venison right back in. Once you see that the meat is no longer dark red in color, you can already freeze or prepare your meat any way you like.
As an alternative, you may use a saltwater-vinegar mixture instead of regular tap water. I usually mix 1 tablespoon of sea salt and ½ cup of vinegar into the water, but you can adjust this according to your tastes.
Bonus: Pan Roasted Venison Recipe
As a bonus, I want to share a delicious venison recipe I discovered a few months ago. It takes about 2 hours to prepare and cook, but I promise that the time and effort you spend on it are worth it.
What You Need
- ¼ cup butter, slightly melted
- 2 to 3 medium-size potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 small knob celery, peeled and sliced into discs
- 17 ounces double cream1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped finely
- ½ bunch fresh sage, chopped roughly
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 10 juniper berries, crushed
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Olive oil
- 2.2 pounds venison loin, trimmed
- 1 bulb garlic, unpeeled and smashed
- 1 cup red wine
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Coat a baking dish with butter. Place the potato and bulb celery slices into a pan filled with cold water and a dash of sea salt. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the potato and celery slices in a colander and let rest for a minute.
Place the slices back into the pan and add the cream, garlic, sage, and half of the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and transfer to the baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
In the meantime, place the juniper berries, rosemary, and a dash of salt and pepper on a chopping board. Rub olive oil all over the venison and roll the meat across the board. Pour olive oil into a preheated ovenproof frying pan and sear the venison for a few minutes, making sure that all sides are heated.
Toss in the smashed garlic into the pan, add a splash of cool water, and place the pan in the oven. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your preferred meat doneness.
Remove the baking dish with vegetables from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Take out the venison from the oven, remove from the pan, and let it rest for at least five minutes. While waiting, set the pan over high heat, squash the garlic, and mix with the herbs. Pour red wine and simmer. Add in butter and stir until well dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Carve the venison into 1-centimeter thick slices and pour the gravy all over. Serve with the baked potato and celery slices.
If you enjoy the musky, minty taste of venison, then you don’t need to worry about anything! Just cook the meat any way you want, and enjoy that rich, flavorful venison on your next meal.
If you prefer something milder and less rich in flavor, you may want to try the helpful tip I gave: Soak the meat in cold water until the gamey taste goes away. Or, as an alternative, soak it in a saltwater-vinegar solution, to give your venison more flavor.