Whether you’re an avid deer hunter or simply like to purchase venison from a meat locker, you may be concerned about the meat’s gamey taste. If left unchecked, deer meat can be unappetizing for people who are not used to the flavor, and might also be difficult to chew. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the gamey flavor of deer meat so that it tastes more like traditional beef or pork does.
When you are choosing deer meat, it’s important to select the leanest cuts available. Extra fat or gristle can contribute to the gamey flavor and chewiness of the meat once it’s cooked. If you’re buying this meat from a meat locker, the butcher there will likely do this upon request. If you’re doing this yourself, it’s easier to do while the meat is still frozen.
Thaw the deer meat at room temperature, but take care not to leave it out too long. Once the meat is completely thawed, the next step is to marinade the venison in order to break down tough fibers. An acidic-based marinade containing vinegar or Italian salad dressing is often used for this purpose. Whole milk is another common product used to marinade deer meat although it’s uncertain how this liquid helps to remove the gamey flavor.
It’s best to marinade deer meat for 24 to 48 hours before cooking it. Be sure to rinse the meat underneath warm water to remove the marinade if you plan to add another condiment such as barbeque sauce. Cooking deer meat slowly in a crock pot can also make it tender, juicy, and less gamey tasting.