What Are the Best Tips for Cooking Deer Meat?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2019
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Cooking moist and flavorful but not gamey deer meat depends a lot on the preparation process. Getting a skilled butcher to prepare the animal, letting the processed meat stand in milk, and aging it for up to five days are all important in cooking the best venison. Properly spicing or marinating the meat and cooking it slowly are ways to cook venison without ending up with an overly spiced and extremely tough dinner meat. People who do not want to mess with the complexity of cooking venison can use the meat in their favorite slow cooker recipe instead.

If the animal was properly prepared after being killed, the unpleasant gamey taste that turns a lot of people off deer meat should be minimal. Generally, this requires getting the animal to a skilled butcher as soon as possible, if the process is to be performed by someone else. If for whatever reason the meat has an odd taste, it can be soaked in milk overnight to reduce it.


Wild deer meat is usually leaner than most meats purchased at a grocery store. As it has less fat, an important substance in keeping the meat moist during the cooking process, deer meat should be cooked slowly. Many people also advise against cooking the meat until it is well done, because this can significantly increase its gamey taste. It is generally agreed upon that deer meat can be cooked until well done in a slow cooker on low, however. Slow cooking deer meat can take anywhere from six to 12 hours.

While a common complaint about venison is its toughness, there are multiple ways to prepare and cook it to maximize tenderness. For example, leaving venison in the refrigerator for one to five days ages the meat, which can increase its tenderness. It is not safe to leave raw venison in a refrigerator for longer than five days, however. If the cook decides not to cook the meat after all, it should be placed in freezer packaging and frozen. For the best quality, frozen deer meat should be thawed and cooked within nine months.

Liberally applying marinades and spices after assuming the meat tastes like game is a common mistake for first-time deer meat cooks. If the venison is prepared in the recommended way,it should have a taste similar to beef but richer. The cook can use the same amount of spices and marinade he or she uses on beef. One exception is salt, which can dry the meat during the cooking process. Although this is usually not much of a problem with fatty meats, venison is incredibly lean and needs the moisture.



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