How to Cook Deer Meat like Stew Beef
Some people will insist they do not like venison because the flavor is too strong and gamey. While venison does indeed have its own unique flavor, there are ways to tone it down and make it more similar to beef.
Wild venison can be very gamey. While some people enjoy this, others prefer a milder flavor. This flavor is made stronger by the adrenaline that fills the deer when being hunted. Their heart rate speeds up and sends blood into their muscles so they can run. This process also produces pyruvic and lactic acids, which can make the meat taste gamey. Another cause is the venison fat. Unless a deer is field dressed as soon as possible, the fat can add flavor to the meat that some may find offensive.
So, what can you do? If you hunt, field dress the meat as soon as you can. Remove the tallow and fat that lie between the muscles. Since deer meat is not marbled like beef, you do not need to worry about any fat in the meat. It is very lean. Venison is usually aged for awhile before the meat is cut up and frozen.
Frozen meat should always be thawed in the refrigerator. Since any type of game is likely to have a higher bacterial count than farm raised meat, thawing on the counter would enhance its growth. Thawed meat should sit no longer than two days before it is used. Ground venison should be used as soon as it is thawed. Marinating should also be done in the refrigerator.
Tenderizing venison can help it be more similar to beef. Some marinades can help tenderize the meat. Milk, vinegar, and tomato sauce can all help tenderize the meat. If you make stew with tomatoes in it, it will make the venison more beef-like while it cooks. Venison is naturally sweeter than beef, so if your sauce or marinade adds sweeteners, reduce them for venison.
For stew meat, use the less tender cuts of the deer, like the neck or shank. You can also use the chuck, round or shoulder. Cut the meat in small cubes. Seasoning the venison with garlic powder and seasoning salt can help with any gamey flavor that exists. In the stew, add some beef bouillon or glace to add a beefy flavor. You may find that unless your family or guests know for sure you are cooking with venison, they may mistake it for beef.
You can use these seasoning tricks on venison in any recipe, not just stew. Meatloaf, sirloin tips, meatball… all can be made with venison instead of beef. If you happen to live in an area where hunting is popular, or you like to get farmed venison from the butcher shop, you can use these tips to help make the meat more palatable to those people who just “won’t eat venison.”
Venison is a healthy choice because the meat is lean and fine grained. It is high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol. It is also a rich source of dietary iron.
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