Anyone who has done a good amount of wild game cooking knows that venison has a gamy flavor. Some don’t mind it while others can’t stand the wild taste.
No matter your preference, it’s good to know how to remove the gamy taste so that you can enjoy your season’s harvest and impress your friends and family members at the same time!
There are a variety of ways to prevent and remove the gamy taste in deer meat. Preventing gaminess starts out in the field, continues with the butchering process and ends in the kitchen. Master these steps and you’ll be on your way to creating some deerlightful platters.
In The Field
This is no secret, but when it comes to big game hunting, shot placement is crucial. First of all, if you have to track down a distressed, injured animal then the meat is going to have an off-flavor due to lactic acid build-up. Second, if you have to track down your animal then you might not be able to field dress it soon enough, which further spoils meat. Practice, practice, practice. Make a clean kill shot.
As soon as you locate your downed deer, slit the neck and let the blood drain while you are getting things in place for a proper field dress and effective transportation of the meat. The more blood you can drain out of the meat, the less gamy it will taste. Also, carefully cut off the scent glands located on the inside of the hind legs of the deer. Failure to do so will taint the meat flavor.
Generally speaking, you should butcher your meat as soon as possible. Some people like to “age” the meat for weeks before butchering but this is often more trouble than its worth. The last thing you want to do is risk losing all of that hard earned meat.
When it comes time to butcher up your deer, take the time to trim off as much of the sinew, fat and bones as you can.
In The Kitchen
Prior to cooking, soak your venison steaks overnight in buttermilk. This will help pull the blood out of the meat and remove some of that gamy taste. You can make buttermilk simply by adding vinegar to regular milk from the carton. Simple as that.
You can also marinate your venison steaks in soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt or garlic before throwing them on the hot grill.
Some people have found that using a crock-pot doesn’t allow the gamy taste to cook out of the meat as well as other methods. Keep that in mind when selecting your cooking method. You know we’re crazy about meat smoking and really believe the best venison out there comes out of a food smoker!
Meat scraps should be rinsed with plenty of water and braised or browned before being added to stews or soups. This will help get rid of some of the blood and much of the fat.
Consider adding bacon, garlic, onions, mushrooms and plenty of seasonings. Spices can be used to disguise the gamy flavor.
And there you have it. Follow those steps and it will result in some of the finest venison you’ve ever had!