Removing "gamey" taste from venison...


January 19, 2007, 09:05 PM
Taught this to a few buddies of mine, and was amazed that none of them had ever heard of this. Thought some THR members might benfit from this too. First of all, I am quite aware that some people enjoy the "gamey" taste found in vennison and other wild game. I don't. I hate it. So do some of my friends. I know many people who refuse to eat wild game because of this flavor. The solution is quite easy. Simply soak the meat over night in milk and water with a little salt and black pepper thrown in. Milk and water ratio should be about half and half. It doesn't destroy the flavor of the meat. It just tones down the over powering gamey taste. It is a easy fix for those of you who have friends that refuse to eat wild game.

After soaking in milk and a water overnight, soak it in a marinade of Italian dressing, bourban, Dale's seasoning, and Tobasco Chipotle sauce. Throw it on the grill for a few minutes on each side to ensure that it hot all the way through, but still pink inside. Enjoy with friends and family, even the ones who won't eat vennison.:D

By the way, I apologize in advance if this has been done before. Didn't find it in a search.

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January 19, 2007, 09:11 PM
Pitch some mushrooms into the milk mix to tenderise the meat also , You wont much taste the mushroom , but will be amazed at how much more tender the meat is.

January 19, 2007, 09:28 PM
Shoot a cow...

Just kidding. Shoot a pheasant.

January 19, 2007, 09:30 PM
Then you drink the marinade???:D :D

January 19, 2007, 09:37 PM
yeah, oldnamvet, on the rocks...:D And good tip on the mushrooms, never tried them before...

January 19, 2007, 09:42 PM
I'm gonna take you for your word. I defrosted some venison steaks today and my family don't like the "gamey" taste. They eat the ground meat and chip steaks but won't eat the thick steaks cause they say it tastes too gamey. I'll give it a try. Thanks!!:)

Kurt S.
January 19, 2007, 09:52 PM
The only gamey tasting venison I have ever had were ribs and home-processed roasts that had fat/tallow on them. Bone marrow has the same effect I am told.

I have also heard that improper handling of a fresh kill, not field dressing soon enough or keeping a carcass cool enough, will cause the meat to have an off taste.

I have been told that a bad shot that necessitates the chase of a wounded animal causes lactic acid buildup in the muscles that will cause a gamey taste. I wouldn't know because everything I shoot at goes down immediately :)

January 19, 2007, 10:22 PM
Kurt S, you must be shooting a .50 BMG.:D The flavor of the meat is also a direct result of what the deer are eating. From what I am told, deer that eat predominately acorns have a much more bitter flavor than those that feed off of corn and rye grass. Just what I have been told. I've also heard the same things about improper processing and lactic acid being gamey taste culprits. Whatever it is milk draws out the blood and removes alot of that gamey taste. :) I always let it soak at least overnight and also the next day if I can. I'll usually give the marinade a couple of hours to overnight. If you want it a bit spicier then you can glaze it with the Tabasco Chipotle while it is grill. That stuff is great, just spicy enough without being too spicy.

January 19, 2007, 10:48 PM
Another tip would be to remove the "connective" tissue from the meat. Fat,Silver Skin, Grissle. this is where most if not all of the "Gamey" Taste comes from. Try this....
Four Backstrap steaks cut 3/4 inch thick all tissue removed.
sliced mushrooms (some woody flavored ones are best but slice whites will do)
Butter or Bacon Drippings
Seasoning salt
Pepper to taste

Lay a sheet of film wrap On the cutting board place one steak on the wrap and fold wrap over the steak.
Pound each steak until 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick.
Season with Lawry's or other seasoning salt and dredge in flour.
Place in Hot Skillet with light olive oil and butter and brown. Set aside keeping warm ( I also do this in Bacon Drippings) (add' note set on paper towel to remove excess grease) cook some mushrooms in the pan
then add two (2) tbsp Butter and two (2) Tbsp flour cook until all the flour is incorporated into the oil and mixture bubbles. add 2 cups water and about a tsp of beef base.
Serve with Spaetzel or riced potatoes pour sauce over steaks and potatoes.
Voila you have Jaegerschnitzel
This goes well with Braised red cabbage with apple and a pinch of caraway

Loyalist Dave
January 19, 2007, 11:05 PM
I thought it was the fat, as well as remaining blood, due to sloppy processing. For lactic acid to build up in an animal, just like a person, you'd have to get that animal running for a while before it died. The short sprint before it settles down to hide (and die) shouldn't cause a build up of lactic acid.


January 19, 2007, 11:09 PM
Yet another tip... Salamidas ORIGIONAL NY State Fair Spiedie Sauce (

Okay, if you aren't from Upstate NY you are probably saying "what the hell is a speedie". The answer is that it's a sort of kebab made by cubing the meat (beef, lamb, but best of all is venison) and then soaking it (completely submerged) in Salamidas for three days to a week (in the fridge of course). You then put it on skewers and cook it on a charcoal grill. Take the result and slap it on good fresh italian bread and eat it as a sandwich.

A small plate of peas or greenbeans and your favorite beer to wash it down... YUM!

Deer Hunter
January 20, 2007, 12:19 AM
I've never had "Gamey" vennison, and I've eaten a forest of whitetail in my lifetime. Does skinning and quartering the meat within thirty minutes help with this?

January 20, 2007, 06:52 AM
Immediately dressing out the animal is the most important thing. Then get it butchered and in the freezer as quickly as possible .My venison is NEVER gamey. But there's no accounting for tastes !! Some people think it's normal to eat spoiled meat !!

January 20, 2007, 07:30 AM
I have found out here in eastren colorado , Where a deer ranges is a big factor. All other things being even a deer that ranges out on the sagebrush ect. will taste " wilder " or " gamyer" than one that ranges on cornfields or feedlots. I do agree that speedy and propper dressing of game is the most vital thing tho .

January 20, 2007, 08:25 AM
"Gamey" taste is a result of a couple of factors. (Stress & feed)

Animals that are running and under stress when taken have a stronger taste because of the adreneline and extra blood pumping through muscle tissue. The iron content in blood is what gives the gamey taste.....similar to eating liver. More blood in the tissue results in more iron content, high iron content is what gives liver a strong flavor.

Game that is not under stress will have a mild almost "beef" like taste.....and just like beef the flavor can be affected by what the animal grazes on.

January 20, 2007, 08:52 AM
Fat & Blood are the two main culprits in "Gamey" taste. (Initial handling has more to do with potentially tainting the meat then the "gamey" taste.)

To get rid of the gamey taste, get the fat (and other connective tissue, like silver skin and bone off the meat.) and get the blood out.

Soaking overnight in milk, buttermilk, lightly salted water or other combination of spices/seasonings you prefer, "pulls" the blood out of the meat.

I've found that for browning ground venison (for sloppy joes, tacos, spaghetti, etc.) some Worchestershire sauce cuts down on the gamey taste.

The animals diet will play a part in the taste of the meat, along with the manner of death, if you get the blood out and remove the connective tissue, even the narliest old buck who ran flat out for twelve miles and then you didn't find until the next day will still taste decent.

To get the best tasting meat:

2-4 year doe, DTR, gutted and cooled within a hour of the shot, and in the freezer within 6-12 hours. That's good eatin'.

January 20, 2007, 10:25 AM
"Animals that are running and under stress when taken have a stronger taste because of the adreneline and extra blood pumping through muscle tissue."

Well then, the venison I'm about to submerge in the milk bath should taste like fillet mingnon(sp). He was strolling at a leisurely pace through the woods and never knew what hit him. He was dressed, skinned and quartered within 1 hour of harvest.:)

January 20, 2007, 02:05 PM
I would agree that sometimes food gives a strong taste to venison especially sagebrush. ...Fat is not the problem other than fat becomes rancid when the meat is not taken care of properly.Blood is not the problem either if the animal bleeds out - one reason I like a heart/lung shot, immediate dressing out also helps.As for stress I only shoot 'contented ' deer never one that's been running.

January 20, 2007, 02:49 PM
Brother took an Antelope that had been tending its harem and on the run for several miles.....text book heart/lung shot. Same day I got mine relaxing by a water hole, again heart/lung shot. Difference in taste between the two was day and night. He tried cooking a roast in the crock pot, sage odor stunk up the entire house, his wife put it on the deck to finish cooking. Tasted just as bad as it dog even hesitated to eat it, but eventually choked it down.

On the other hand mine was excellent, no gamey taste at all.

January 20, 2007, 05:59 PM
You guys are making me hungry talking about the deer recipes. Tonight I am going to get some deer stew out of the freezer and soak it in milk tonight. Tomorrow I will put it in the crock pot and add lipton cup of soup beefy onion mix, onions, salt, pepper and potatoes. I'LL cook it for hours until is tender enough to cut it with a fork.........yummy...I can't wait.

January 21, 2007, 10:09 AM
Step one done. Milk bath completed...steaks are now marinating in italian dressing. It appears that the milk bath has tenderized the meat superbly as a fork stabbed in effortlessly when transfering steaks from milk to marinate. Tonight...we broil!!:D Tune in later for an after dinner report.:p

January 21, 2007, 12:31 PM
To tenderize meat the marinades contain acids - wine, vinegar, buttermilk ,and even for the weird Coca Cola [phosphoric acid ] .So it should be buttermilk not plain milk.

January 21, 2007, 12:59 PM
If you get the animal dressed and cooling as fast as possible then into the freezer as soon as possible, then it should be as good of eating as it can be. Removing as much of the fat when processing also helps.

The food source is the other main factor. A deer eating sagebrush is not going to taste as good as the one grazing on barley fields.

I have heard alot of stories on how if you run an antelope or get the hair on the meat, it will taste bad. Well I have never had bad antelope and have eaten ones that have been running a considerable distance. I don't have a clue how a person would keep antelope hair from touching the meat either. They shed so bad I am suprised they are not bald.

January 21, 2007, 01:54 PM
Any suggestions for those severely lactose-interolant(my dad)?

January 21, 2007, 03:00 PM
any type of brine would work the vinegar and slat will not only tenderize it will leech out that gamey taste.

January 21, 2007, 05:40 PM
Mete, milk contains lactic acid...just like buttermilk...the acid tenderizes, and for whatever reason, the milk/water mixture draws out the blood which is the main culprit behind the "gamey flavor.

January 21, 2007, 06:26 PM
O.K. If you are looking to turn venison into beef...forget it. Venison has a distinctive flavor that I 'm sure you all know. The milk bath, IMO, did reduce the wild flavor of the meat, however it did not remove the distinctive venison flavor. I enjoyed my dinner tonight, and will use the milk bath in the future for the thicker cuts. My 13 Y.O. liked it very much, my youngest did not eat any meat tonight (said he wasn't hungry). My wife....well, she's a beef girl. She just can't get passed the venison flavor. She will eat venison chilli and meat balls, but didn't care for the flavor of the steaks. All in all, It worked as stated and I give it a thumbs up.:)

January 22, 2007, 12:26 AM
Glad to know you liked it, Ambush. I grilled up some steaks tonight myself. My wife is the same way about vennison. She refuses to eat at all though. She doesn't believe that eating wild game is very sanitary. I'm gonna have to talk her in to a visit to a cattle, pig, or chicken farm.:D

January 22, 2007, 03:43 PM
Soak it in tomato juice. If it will pull the skunk smell off a dog it damn sure takes the wild taste out of game. Two hous, add some seasoning to it.

January 24, 2007, 12:09 AM
we use 7 up for 30 min to 2 hours in the refrig...

January 29, 2007, 09:00 AM
Good meat starts BEFORE you shoot. Kill it cleanly, gut it ASAP. I prefer to open the rib cage and make sure the windpipe is removed from the neck. If the weather isn't miserably cold, we would put milk jugs filled with water and frozen in the freezer in the body cavity.

If we can't butcher it immediately, we quarter it, put each quarter in a black trash bag, and put it in the refrigerator. Butchering should be done as soon as possible - 'aging' the meat does nothing but increase the bacteria count. This is not opinion - it is the result of studies done at the University of Wyoming for the Wyo Game and Fish.

I always butcher my own, and do it by removing all bones and fat. It is fast and easy, after you've done it once. I saw this method in an article in Outdoor Life (I think) in about 1970 or so. You could probably find the info on the 'net.

Done this way, it fits into my freezer easier and there is never an objectionable taste. It works on elk, deer, and antelope. People who swore they would never eat game have eaten the meat done this way and loved it!

January 29, 2007, 10:35 AM

Do not use trash bags to store or transport meat. The bags have been treated with some nasty chemicals to help them breakdown (and breakdown the trash) when they hit the landfill. You don't want those nasties on your meat. If you can't get it butchered and into freezer wrap or freezer bags (and then into a fridge or freezer), then getting it cooled quickly and packed into cheese cloth or a game bag works best.

I've found in warmer weather that using regular black pepper also help keep the flys and other bugs off.

January 31, 2007, 11:10 PM
Okay want to cry....I lost 40 pounds of beautiful deer meat to my house fire in November. And now I'm hungry for meat. Sigh. Guess I try to go hunting this fall again......

Mom in Wyoming

Harve Curry
February 1, 2007, 05:39 AM
In the mountains if there was a stream running I lay the whole carcass in it to rinse out and cool down fast, if not I use some water to help cool it. Then I hang it in the shade covered from flies if their around.
At home we have always rinsed meat out again, blood in cold water and while we are processing it meat chunks are setting in ice water. We don't leave any fat, grissel, or scrape the bones. That taste like :barf: .
Rinse, salt and freeze in ziplocks with some water, or make jerky.

Old Time Hunter
February 1, 2007, 08:27 AM
Get as much of the sinew/fat off and marinate in lime juice over night in frig. Do not over cook! Always remember, venison is and always will taste like goat more than beef. That is probably why it makes better sausage!

February 1, 2007, 09:49 AM
This tells much of the story ,see the George Roof posting

February 1, 2007, 07:57 PM
Some one please tell me what "gamey" taste like? We are talking about wild animals that eat everything from corn to tree bark. Animals that range in age from 1 year to 5 or 6 years old. the chances of having two deer taste the same are slim. there are some things you can do to make deer meat less tough. ( some are going to be tough no matter what you do and some are just as tender as you would want ) But you are never going to make it taste like corn feed angus beef.

February 1, 2007, 08:18 PM
A couple of months before deer season I start saving milk jugs.
I fill them with water and store them in the deep freeze. If you
let it hang a few days it will "age" nicely. Hang it in the shade
and fill the body cavity with the frozen milk jugs.
I also soak the meat in Butter milk before cooking, this will pull
all the blood out of the meat and help with the "gamey taste".

February 2, 2007, 05:25 PM
/*My wife is the same way about vennison. She refuses to eat at all though. She doesn't believe that eating wild game is very sanitary*/

LOL, my sister is the same way. I told her to go out to any of the half dozen local meatpacking plants around here (Nebraska) during shift change and see some of the people handling "her" meat.

We have one hamburger plant that has a chronic problem with E coli. It seems some of the workers were used to indoor plumbing that can't handle toilet paper being flushed down the toilet, so by force of habit they throw it away...

...only problem is, American bathrooms don't have wastebaskets in the stalls, so the used TP ends up on the floor.

Sorry to ruin anyone's lunch, just cook Hell out of any hamburger you buy, and you'll be okay.

February 2, 2007, 05:37 PM
just cook Hell out of any hamburger you buy, and you'll be okay

Reason number 47 on why I procure my own meat.........

February 2, 2007, 05:39 PM
Okay, I saw this written up before Internet ever was. Here is a hilarious read as towhy your deer tastes "gamey":

Controversy has long raged about the relative quality of venisonand beef as gourmet foods. Some people say that venison istough, with a strong “wild” taste. Others insist that venison is tender and that the flavor is delicate. To try and resolve this issue once and for all, a blind taste test was conducted by a certified research group to determine the truth of these conflicting assertions. First, a high-choice Holstein steer was selected and led into a swamp approximately a mile and a half from the nearest road. It was then shot several times in various locations throughout the carcass. After most of the entrails were removed, the carcass was dragged over rocks and logs, through mud and dust, thrown into the back of a pickup truck bed and transported through rain and snow approximately 100 milesbefore being hung in a tree for several days. During the aging period the temperature was maintained at between 25 and 60 degrees. Next the steer was dragged into the garage and skinned out on the floor.(PLEASE NOTE: Strict sanitary precautions were observed throughout the processing within the limitations of the butchering environment. For instance, dogs were allowed to sniff at the steer carcass, but were chased out of the garage if they attempted to lick the carcass or bite hunks out of it. Cats were allowed in the garage, but were always immediately removed from the cutting table.)Next, half a dozen inexperienced but enthusiastic individuals worked on the steer with meat saws, cleavers and dull knives. The result was 200pounds of scrap, 375 pounds of soup bones, four bushels of meat scrapsfor stew and hamburger, two roasts and a half a dozen steaks that werean inch and a half thick on one end and an eighth of an inch on the other.The steaks were then fried in a skillet with one pound of butter and threepounds of onions. After two hours of frying, the contents of the skillet wereserved to three blindfolded taste panel volunteers who were asked if theywere eating venison or beef.Every one of the panel members was sure they were eating venison. One of the volunteers even said it tasted exactly like the venison he had been eating at the hunting camp for the last 27 years.The results of this trial showed conclusively that there is no differencebetween the taste of beef and venison.Author Unknown

February 2, 2007, 05:40 PM
whoever mentioned deer eating acorns - it is usually deer eating acorns from red oaks that have a more bitter taste-the red oak acorns have more tanic acid. Around here that usually means later season deer. In early acorn drop, the deer, squirrels, turkeys go after the white oak acorns first.

that being said, people are on the right track when they say quick field dressing and removing the fat.

Freeze it right away? Either processed right away or hung for a while. Often, the day two-day4 window leads to tough meat. If it's kept cool and doesn't spoil, then it starts getting tender again.

some of the best venison I've had has hung at just above freezing for about a week. (34-37°F)

Byron Quick
February 3, 2007, 04:10 AM
Go buy a cow on the hoof and slaughter it. Cut it up, wrap it, and freeze it. Put a couple of steaks on the grill. They're going to taste funny to you for the meat hasn't been aged.

I age my venison for a week. Don't have to soak it in anything.

I have had people who were adamant against eating game ask what it was.

Aged red meat tastes different from fresh red meat. And better to most people. Diet makes a difference. Aging makes a bigger difference.

Lysosomes are organelles present in all cells. Basic function in a living cell is to clean up the cell. The lysosomes burst as the meat is hung, releasing enzymes that partially digest the cell. This changes the taste.

February 3, 2007, 09:02 AM
On my long hunting trips I might kill a deer on Saturday and not butcher it until Thursday or Friday of the next week. Most of the time I am 244 miles from the house and the only thing I can do is cut the meat off the bone and keep it on ice in the cooler until I get home. It don't seem to hurt a thing letting it age a while. After I cut up the meat at home I vaccum seal the meat and then wrap that in frezzer paper. Back in November I was cleaning the frezzer out for my fresh 2006 deer meat and found a couple of packs left over from 2005. I gave the old meat to a nice lady down the road and she laid waste to that deer meat and said it tasted just fine. I would assume that the vaccum seal was the key to it.

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