What Does Deer Meat Taste Like? Nutritional Profile & How To Cook It

Deer meat is fast becoming the favorite festive dish for many Americans. It contains high amounts of minerals and vitamins that rival that of beef, chicken, pork, and even goat meat. But what does deer meat taste like?

The best terms to describe the taste of deer meat are rich, earthy, and sometimes gamey. Others describe deer meat taste the same as beef, although with a more tangy taste and texture to it.

If you want to know more about deer meat, its nutritional value, what conditions could alter the taste of your deer meat, and how to cook them properly, then read on.

Overview of deer

A deer is an animal with hooves on its feet and antlers attached to its head. The meat cut from this deer is also known as deer meat or venison, and it is well renowned in the US, Central America, and many European countries.

Slices of venison are used in sausages, steak, hot pot, and jerky. They are rich in protein and other essential nutrients and moderately low in fat and calories.

Nutritional information on deer meat

According to the US Department of Agriculture, 4 ounce (100 gram) serving of venison contains the following nutrients;

  • Calories: 158
  • Fat: 3.2g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Cholesterol: 112mg
  • Potassium: 334mg
  • Sodium: 54g
  • Saturated fat: 1.3g

It also contains vitamin B12, vitamin B6, iron, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and calcium.

What does deer meat taste like?

As earlier mentioned, deer meat has a rich and earthy flavor that is likened to that of beef. Since deer live in the wild and consume wild vegetation, their taste is also described as grassy or gamey.

So, why does your deer meat taste bad?

If your venison tastes bad or is too gamey for your taste buds, then it’s probably because it wasn’t handled or processed properly.

Some common mistakes made by the hunters and butchers that affect the taste of venison include:

1. Poor hunting condition

The first mistake the majority of hunters make is to shoot the deer in non-effective positions. This would allow the deer more time to run. While it runs, adrenaline and lactic acid build up in the blood, affecting the overall taste.

The longer the deer runs, the more the acid and adrenaline build up. Experienced hunters tend to shoot the lungs region, which is one of the most effective places to shoot a deer.

When the deer dies quickly, the quality of the meat appreciates. Conversely, when it takes longer, the quality is reduced.

2. Proper storage

After a deer is killed, decomposition takes place almost immediately. When the meat is not stored quickly or properly, it imparts the taste of the venison.

3. Dirty knives or saw

Because of the size of a deer, people often use larger or unorthodox tools such as power saws. Any dirt present on these tools could greatly alter the taste of the venison.

However, if done properly, you can cut and skin an entire deer with just a pocketknife in a couple of minutes.

4. Improper or incorrect trimming

If the fat and connective tissues are not trimmed properly, it tampers with the taste of the deer. The fat, along with the connective tissues, the silver skin, and the sinew, should be removed; otherwise, you end up with bad-tasting venison.

5. Bad cooking procedure

Deer meat is not handled like other red or white meat. It requires the right cooking time, ingredients, and the right recipe.

How to cook deer meat

Cooking venison the right way is essential to get the best taste and nutrients from it. Below is a step-by-step guide to achieving this goal.

Step 1: Drain the blood

Like every other red meat, ensure you drain the blood from them before cooking. This step ensures that the venison does not carry any unfamiliar or unwanted taste.

Step 2: Trim off the fat

Remove or trim any excess fat from the venison before you commence cooking.

Step 3: Marinade the meat

Ensure you use a marinade with the right blend of spices; vinegar or citrus, lemon, and salt are some of the best blends. This marinade mixture helps break down some of the connective tissue and beats down the gamey taste.

The marinade should be done for 3 to 5 hours. Ensure you do not over-marinade, so it doesn’t affect the taste. Afterward, pat the venison dry with a paper towel.

Step 4: Cook the venison

Cook the venison to at least a medium rare doneness level; this is 145°F. Use the meat read thermometer to ensure it reaches this level. Ensure not to overcook the meat as it may affect the overall taste of the venison.

Step 5: Allow the venison to rest

Allow the meat to rest before you serve, and this gives the juices time to spread around the entire meat. It should take around 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the venison.

You can use this recipe for deer meat salad, and it can be enjoyed alongside seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Is deer meat healthy?

Yes, it is. Deer meat holds a high level of nutrients that your body requires. It also holds a fair amount of amino acid and fat since it is lean meat, which makes it helpful for those on a diet.

How can you store cooked deer?

The best way to store your venison is to refrigerate or freeze it. Cooked deer meat can stay between 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator and can stay between 4 – 5 months in the freezer.


How can you tell if deer meat is bad?

The best way to tell if deer meat is bad is by its smell. If you get a revolting smell that gets more intense as you cook, then the meat is bad and should be thrown out.

What happens if you eat bad venison?

Eating bad venison could lead to food poisoning. The most common symptoms are nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

What are the best cuts for deer?

The tenderloin, haunch, shoulder, and backstraps are some of the best cuts of deer.

Is there tapeworm in deer meat?

Yes, there is. There are worms present in the lungs and liver, but these worms are not harmful to humans.

Can you eat deer meat raw?

It is not safe to eat raw or undercooked meat, according to the US Department of Agriculture.


Deer meat has a strong and earthy taste. Its taste is often likened to that of beef but is less juicy and succulent. Oftentimes, the processing may alter the taste and make it gamier.

However, you can follow the steps or guide mentioned in this article to get the best taste from your venison.

Explore the taste and profile flavor of duck meat here and see a list of easy duck recipes you can try at home.

Thank you for reading this article.