What Does Venison Really Taste Like? [Comparisons]

Many people, especially those who haven’t tried it yet, wonder what venison really tastes like. This article will address this and more! Venison has a more intense and sweeter taste compared to beef. Beef is …

Freshly roasted venison with rosemary and pepper

Many people, especially those who haven’t tried it yet, wonder what venison really tastes like. This article will address this and more!

Venison has a more intense and sweeter taste compared to beef. Beef is rich and mild in taste because of the marbling of the fat in the muscle or meat. This means that it can be dry. But this can be prevented by cooking tender cuts in high heat for a short time. 

So, can you cook venison like you would other red meats? Find out the answer below!

Will I Like Venison? [How to Tell]

Beef is rich and mild. Venison, on the other hand, is not as rich and mild but sweet and intense. In fact, it is sweeter than beef. This can be attributed to the absence of fat in between the muscle. 

Instead of fat, venison has more capillaries within the muscles which makes it sweeter. To maintain its sweetness, tender cuts, the best cuts of venison, have to be cooked briefly and at a high temperature (source: Montana Outdoors). 

This difference tells us that venison will not have the same outcome and taste when you cook it as you would beef. Venison is like, say, the red meat version of turkey for the reasons above.

If you are not sure whether you’ll like it or not, you can try a small cut and cook it. Prime cuts are recommended because they are more tender and this will be explained in the last section.

Does Venison Taste Like Beef or Lamb?

Venison can taste like beef or lamb as explained in the next section. But it is meatier than the two because of the absence of marbling or the distribution of fat within the muscles of the meat. 

grilled deer meat pink

If you like sweeter and more intense meat, venison is for you. If you like a rich and milder taste, beef or lamb would be great. 

Does Venison Taste Rich or Gamey?

Venison is always associated with a gamey taste. After all, it is a game meat. Game meat is meat taken from animals that aren’t farmed (source: Collins Dictionary). But what does gamey exactly mean?

In the UK, venison comes from deer meat. In the US, it can be produced from the meat of deer, reindeer moose, elk, antelope, or caribou. A younger age means more tender meat (source: BBC Good Food).

And a wild game has tougher meat and a gamey taste (source: The Ohio State University). A gamey venison translates to a bitter taste (source: Montana Outdoors). The gamey taste is also more apparent in the fat outside the muscle or the meat which is why it has to be removed (source: University of Minnesota Extension). 

Venison can also come from impala (source: Unvegan). According to a study on producing meat from male impalas, an extensive system resulted in an intense, beef-like, gamey, herbaceous, and sweet flavor.

An intensive and semi-extensive system resulted in a gamey and liver-like flavor, as well as tenderness and mealiness. The system here is the way the meat is taken. Results show that venison from impala can both be gamey, beef-like, and liver-like in taste (source: Foods). 

To help minimize the gamey taste, you can soak venison in a vinegar or salt solution in the fridge overnight (source: USDA). 

Ideas on Trying Venison for the First Time 

Venison can be an intimidating meat for those who haven’t had it yet or those that have forgotten what it tastes like.

Freshly roasted venison with rosemary and pepper

There are two cuts when it comes to venison: tough and tender. Like most meat, especially red meat, venison is best eaten when it’s tender and sweet. These prime cuts include loin, steak, roast, and the medallion cut to name a few.

Compared to beef, venison is not as rich as beef but sweeter. This is because it has no fat in between the muscle. Rather, it has capillaries which makes it sweeter. And to maintain this sweetness, tender cuts have to be cooked for a short time at a high temperature

This means when you order or cook a prime cut of venison, it should not be well done. You can try venison kabobs, steaks, or a sandwich (source: Montana Outdoors). 

But if you’re not sure whether you’ll like it or not, you can always go for venison casserole, meat pie, and other dishes where it’s not the star ingredient. 

May this article serve as a guide to your curiosity about venison!