If you aren’t a fan of the wild or gamy taste of venison and other game, there are a number of ways to prepare the meat to reduce this often unappetizing quality. While you’ll never get your venison to taste exactly like beef and eliminate all of the gaminess, there are tricks of the trade and certain preparations that will help to temper it. It all starts with a rinse and it ends with how you serve your meat.
Preparing for Cooking Venison
Rinse meat under cold water in a colander to get rid of any remaining fur and eliminate as much blood as possible, until the water runs almost clear.
Create a marinade using various liquids and spices. For a milder flavor, simply use beer or a brine of salt water. For a more pronounced flavor, use stronger flavors. For a stir-fry, for example, use an Asian marinade with soy, teriyaki, and other sauces, or for a barbecue dish, use barbecue sauce and liquid smoke.
Soak venison in a marinade in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or overnight if you prefer, depending on how strong you want the flavors of the marinade to shine through in the dish. In general, marinate thicker cuts of meat for longer periods of time to penetrate the proteins.
Cooking Ground Venison
Place a skillet over medium high heat and add bacon fat or olive oil. For every pound of meat, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of additional fat.
Cook venison until brown in the skillet, breaking up the meat until small chunks with a spoon. The stronger flavor of the fats will help to mellow out the gamy, lean quality of venison.
Add the ground venison to tomato sauce to make a meaty marinara sauce, flavor with Mexican seasonings for taco night, or use in just about any way you would ground beef.
You can also pre-mix seasonings and other ingredients with raw ground venison in place of ground beef for venison hamburgers, meatballs, or meatloaf.
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- Try combining ground venison with ground beef, turkey, or pork to temper the strong flavor of the meat with other varieties.
- Without drowning your venison in spices and sauce, the meat will always taste gamier than beef. If you or your guest truly does not like the flavor of venison, instead of trying to completely mask the flavor, consider preparing another type of meat.
- Some of venison's gaminess is attributable to the way it was slaughtered and handled before processing. If you purchased your venison and find it unusually gamy, you may want to consider discarding it.
Maya Silver is an editor at DiningOut Magazines. She is the author of "My Parent Has Cancer And It Really Sucks" and has written for "U.S. News & World Report," the "Washington Post Express" and local newspapers and magazines. She has helped hundreds of homes make energy improvements. Her culinary knowledge stems from professional and personal cooking experience.
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