Cooking big game venison meat safely
Cooking methods that enhance flavor of venison
Big game animals usually exercise more than domestic animals, so game meats may be drier and less tender. It's important to use cooking methods that add juiciness and flavor.
- Moist heat methods such as braising (simmering in a small amount of liquid in a covered pot) is recommended for tougher cuts like rump, round and shoulder.
- Chops and steaks may be pan fried or broiled.
- Experiment with herbs like rosemary, marjoram, thyme and sage.
- Spices or marinades may be used to mask the gamey flavor. Meat should always be marinated in the refrigerator.
- A vinegar-soaked cloth will remove hairs. Hairs can produce undesirable flavors.
- For a less gamey flavor, cover meat with vinegar water (2 tablespoons vinegar to a quart of water) and place in the refrigerator for about an hour before cooking.
- Add other fats to keep game meat from becoming too dry. Rub a roast with oil, butter, margarine, bacon fat, sweet cream or sour cream to add moisture, richness, and flavor.
- Baste very lean cuts with additional fat to improve flavor. Covering roast with bacon strips will provide self-basting.
- Don't overcook or cook at temperatures above 375°F. The short fibers in wild game meat will get tough.
- Serve game meat very hot or very cold. Lukewarm game fat has a very greasy taste.
How cuts may be used:
- Neck: Stew, sausage, ground
- Shanks: Stew, sausage, ground
- Shoulder: Pot roast
- Rib: Oven roast, chops broiled or fried
- Loin: Oven roast, steaks broiled or fried
- Rump: Pot roast, stew
- Round: Pot roast, Swiss steak
- Breast/flank: Stew, sausage, ground
Marinades can tenderize, enhance and disguise game flavors.
- Cover meat with one of the following marinades.
- 2 cups vinegar, 2 cups water, ½ cup sugar
- French dressing
- Italian dressing
- Tomato sauce or undiluted tomato soup
- Tomato juice
- Fruit juice (such as lemon, pineapple, or a mixture of many juices)
- ¼ cup vinegar, ½ cup cooking oil, ½ tsp. pepper, ¼ tsp. garlic salt
- 2 cups water, 2 cups vinegar, 1-2 tbsp. sugar, 4 bay leaves, 1 tsp. salt, 12 whole cloves, 1 tsp. allspice, 3 medium sized onions, sliced
- Garlic salt, salt, and pepper to taste. Add equal parts of Worcestershire sauce and two of your favorite steak sauces. (This gives a blend of flavors and also is excellent for basting game roasts or thick steaks during cooking.)
- 2 tbsp. vinegar, 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger, 1 clove garlic, minced, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, ½ cup soy sauce, ¾ cup vegetable oil
- Commercial marinade
- Place in the refrigerator overnight. (Marinating meats for more than 24 hours breaks down the meat fibers making it mushy.)
- Drain and discard marinade.
- Broil, roast, or braise.
- From Field to Table: a Pocket Guide to Care and Handling of Deer and Elk – North Dakota State University
- Wild Game Cookery, University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns and Wright County, November, 2000.
Revised January 2011 by Roselyn Biermaier, Educator Emeritus, University of Minnesota Extension. Peer reviewed by Carolyn Thomas, Extension Food Safety Education Specialist, University of Minnesota.