Venison is the meat you get from antlered animals like deer and elk.
The meat is quite interesting having a taste that varies dramatically according to factors such as age of deer, diet of the deer, stress the deer was subjected to prior to slaughter, and how long it was hung prior to use.
Among the many interesting things about venison is the flexibility involved in preparing it.
Venison can be eaten rare and medium rare. And as a matter of fact, venison is recommended to be consumed medium rare to avoid overcooking the meat which would make it tough, drier and less interesting after cooking.
Because the fat in venison is recommended to be trimmed off to improve flavor, the meat is apt to drying easily, which produces a result that doesn’t taste good in the mouth.
To combat this issue, venison is cooked to an internal temperature of 130 to 140 F which corresponds to medium rare and medium.
This way, alongside other methods like marinating or rubbing with fats like oil, butter and cream prior to cooking is used to retain moisture in the meat and add richness which makes it more enjoyable.
Below we discuss the best method for cooking venison, how to handle the meat, as well as how to ensure it always tastes better when you cook it.
When cooking venison, it’s good to always note that the meat is highly unlike beef and thus is apt to drying.
To begin with, venison has lesser fat content in comparison to beef, thus subjecting it to the same cooking conditions as beef will most likely produce a much different result, most times, a meat on the dry side of the scale.
That is why the best way to cook cuts of venison is rare or medium rare, especially prime cuts like venison loin, so moisture isn’t lost at the end of cooking. If that isn’t observed, then other ways mentioned below like marination, basting with butter etc must be done to ensure reasonable moisture is retained in the meat after cooking.
When you cook venison, you want to avoid going more than 375F otherwise the short fibers in it will go tough. Additionally, you want to avoid overcooking the meat because it will get dry and uninteresting.
For much tougher cuts like rump, shoulder and ramp, you can opt to cook them slowly as opposed to rare or medium rare. You can braise or make them in the slow cooker, and make sure to use delicious broth when cooking them.
Serve all venison either very cold or very hot. Serving them at temperature in the middle will affect the taste of the fat significantly.
Cook to 165 when you are compromised
When you happen to fall into the group of people tagged as compromised, which includes children, people with weakened or weak immune system like HIV patients, sick people or the elderly, it is best to always cook your meat to doneness, 165F, and moisturise using other ways to retain moisture.
This is to reduce the chances of getting sick from consuming bacteria present at the surface of the meat.
Additionally, for any set of meat grounded or minced, always ensure to cook to doneness prior to eating because they harbor more bacteria than other types of meat.
What meat can you also eat rare?
Among the meat you can safely consume rare includes:
which has most of the bacteria confined to the surface which thus regular searing or grilling destroys them completely.
which, in the same way like beef, has the bacteria mostly confined to the surface and thus a quick sear on both sides and the edges destroys them completely.
For evolutionary reasons, fishes have developed to be anti-agents to bacteria or pathogen cross over, thus the chances of having pathogens “cross-over” from one fish species to the other is quite low.
Additionally, the freezing process of preserving fishes before they get to our tables ensures the parasites on them are killed! So for these reasons and more, fishes are mostly safe to eat raw when fresh or even after one or two days in the freezer.
How to get the best flavors in venison
Trim off the fat
It may help preserve moisture, but then when you consume it, you’ll know why trimming it off is necessary.
While beef fat is soft and in fact adds flavor to the meat you’re cooking, the opposite is true for venison. The fat in venison has a terrible taste and makes the meat taste gamey. So trimming it is quite essential to improve flavor and taste.
Marination helps with flavor as well as tenderization which means to soften meat fibers.
The simplest marinade you can make consists of vinegar and water. Add two tablespoons of vinegar to a quart of water and cover the meat in the solution for about an hour in the refrigerator. Avoid keeping venison meat in the marinade on the counter. Bacteria can accumulate in the meat and cause food poisoning.
You can use other marinades meant for beef or chicken to coat venison with a memorable flavor. Or better still, use this marinade provided by the University of Minnesota.
Remove residual hairs
Do so with a cloth dipped and wringe in vinegar. Sometimes, the reason why you’re having a gamey taste on your meat is because of the residual hairs in it.
How to eat other types of meats
Poultry, unlike other meats like beef or lamb must never be undercooked before eating. It contains bacteria scattered across and within the meat and that can cause serious food poisoning when consumed.
Feel free to cook sheep meat rare and medium rare. Most of the bacteria is concentrated on the surface of the meat which is why a quick sear on both sides of the meat is sufficient enough to render the meat safe for consumption.
Like sheep meat, beef too has most of the bacteria concentrated on the outside. So searing it on the outside only is more than enough to ensure the meat is safe for eating.
— Goat meat
Avoid cooking goat meat rare because you’ll only end up with a cut that is very tough to chew.
Cook goat meat to doneness which is when the internal temperature reads 165F and make sure to use a slow cooking method like slow cooker so the collagen is broken down and the meat returns nice and soft.
Venison can be eaten rare and medium rare so long you’re not a compromised person and you have made sure to follow the necessary practices for handling meat.
If you find the taste of venison too strong for your liking, there are a few things you can do to tame that down.
First, remove any residual hair on the meat which can contribute to the gamey taste. Then cut off the fat contents and ensure to marinate the meat before cooking.
You can also add strong spices and seasonings like sage, marjoram and rosemary to boost the flavor more.