What Does Venison Taste Like?

What Does Venison Taste Like?

The word “venison” once referred to just about any meat from a game animal—but these days, refers to meat from elk, deer, and antelope, depending on what part of the world you’re from. Given that many people are attracted to the taste of venison because of its more natural flavor profile and strong protein quality, it’s not surprising that the word used to refer to just about any hunted game meat.

So what does venison taste like, and is it a good meat to buy? Here’s everything you’ll need to know. 


What Does Venison Taste Like?

If you search for “venison taste” online, be prepared for one word: gamey. The problem is that this one word, gamey, tends to get overused when you’re talking about less-usual meats than beef or pork. Venison may indeed have a “gaminess” associated with its wild game status, remember that it doesn’t necessarily reflect what your experience might be.

First off: what is “gamey” meat? Wild game is simply meat from a certain animal that was caught in the wild. Many people associate “gamey” flavors with stronger, more pronounced richness in the meat. This characteristic gamey flavor often means that meat like venison is ideal for marinades that interact with the strong meat tastes already at work.

For many people, venison resembles the taste of beef or mutton. These are two highly nutritious sources of meat. However, venison typically compares to beef by offering more lean cuts, whereas some cuts of beef can be highly marbled with fat.

Everyone’s experience may be different. But many people report that venison’s gamey taste tends to refer to the following flavor profiles:

  • Richness. Venison is a type of red meat, after all. Your experiences may differ, but many people like the strong, nourishing quality to red meat. Depending on the animal and the cut, red meat can have a high degree of variability, too. Deer fat ends up being nothing like pork fat, for example, but does contribute to the unique deer meat taste.
  • “Wild game” flavor. What does this mean exactly? It doesn’t mean that you’ll taste the antlers of the venison—it’s not that pronounced. But many people enjoy the taste of venison because they view it as a healthy game meat. Other people may even find that it reminds them of their first time deer hunting.
  • A “natural” flavor. How to describe this? Wild deer tend to eat all sorts of things, including browse: small twigs and shrubs. Deers may even try to eat acorns. This can impact how the meat ultimately turns out. Have you ever noticed that natural-raised chickens tend to lay eggs with brightly-colored, even orange, yolks? The quality of the diet may even make eggs stronger. The same is true for venison, and many people claim that a natural venison diet contributes to a “natural” flavor in the end-product of the meat.

  • Understanding Venison

    As venison comes from Latin root words that referred to just about any type of hunted game meat, it’s easy to see why the word stuck around for deer. These days, venison can often come from wild, hunted deer. It’s after this process that the meat is allowed to age, which tends to offer both improved taste and tenderness to the meat. 

    Like any other animal, you’ll find that certain cuts of venison are appropriate for different things. For example, leg and loin cuts can be used in steaks and chops. Tougher meat, such as shoulder and shank, tends to do best after a marinade, as well as grinding or thin chopping.

    Any like any other type of meat, there is always the issue of dealing with connective tissue in certain spots. For this reason, the light processing of the meat (such as aging and curing, as well as marinating) can have a dramatic effect on the flavor and texture of the meat. Good butchering can also provide high-quality cuts of meat, largely free from their connective tissue.

    Is Deer Meat a Good Source of Protein?

    In a word: yes. Consider what this study once said: “Maral meat [venison] was found to have a low fat content, high mineral content, and balanced amino-acid composition.” Let’s take a look at what each of these variables mean, bit by bit:

    • Low fat content: depending on what you’re looking to get out of your meat, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. For some diets, people actually prefer a higher fat content. Others may like the leanness of the meat, in that it doesn’t offer excess calories per bite. For others still, a lean protein is an excellent opportunity to use a marinade—such as one based on olive oil—to enhance the flavor.
    • High mineral content: We need vitamins as well as minerals, which means that finding a rich source of minerals has the potential to be beneficial for the diet. The study in question pointed out calcium, for example, as a mineral that can be found in venison.
    • Balanced amino-acid composition: When people say you need to get a “good source of protein,” it typically refers to the quality of its amino acid composition. Human beings need to get nine essential amino acids in their diet, as we can get them by synthesizing our own. A high-quality protein source includes a wide spectrum of amino acids, which is true of venison.

    In the latter case, the amino-acid composition of the meat is what makes it a “complete protein.” According to Piedmont Healthcare, “animal proteins are complete.” This means that if you’re using protein sources like eggs or beef, you don’t have to worry about finding alternative sources of protein.

    How does this affect the taste? If your body is giving you a craving for protein, there’s always the possibility that it’s looking for a complete amino acid profile. This may be one reason that meat can taste so nourishing, especially when you’re physically hungry. However, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s experience may be different when it comes to perceptions of flavor and taste.

    Is Venison Meat Expensive to Buy?

    Many of us have an association of venison as an expensive, rare meat that we tend to only order in restaurants rather than consume at home. But the truth is, venison can be relatively inexpensive. In some cases, depending on the cut, it may be even cheaper than beef.

    Venison, for example, is a common ingredient in jerky. It’s possible you yourself have had venison jerky without realizing it, given just how common this meat is as an ingredient. And with the various marinades and spices available, it may be difficult to tell the difference if you aren’t looking for it. 

    Does this mean there’s no benefit to switching out venison for beef? Of course not. Many people can tell the difference between the two. And many people enjoy venison for its lean, nutritious profile. And depending on the product you’re buying, it may be about the same price when the main ingredient is beef. 

    In all, venison can be a delicious, nutritious meat for jerky, providing a well-rounded nutritional profile in terms of minerals and amino acids. And far from being an exotic ingredient, you might find that it has a comforting and familiar taste.


    About Us

    Red Truck Beef Jerky is a small, family-owned business that sources all premium cuts of meat in the USA. Some more prominent beef jerky players say “packed in the USA,” which means that the meat is probably from overseas. With us, you are supporting a family business and keeping the quality right here in the USA.


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