Removing the “Gamy” from Wild Game! (2 of 3)



Reduce 'Gamy Taste' with These Tips!


Where Does ‘Gamy’ Come From?

Generally, experts agree that that “gamy” taste is a by-product of improper handling of the game, after bringing the game down OR before cooking.

What are some examples?

  • Leaving an animal in the snow (dusk shot), to field dress in am
  • Not field dressing animal ASAP
  • Not completely removing entrails
  • Not rinsing cavity with clean water, soon after field dressing
  • Not getting animal on ice as quickly as possible
  • Not processing the animal within a day or two of harvest
  • Not rinsing carcass after skinning; hair, etc., creates off-flavors
  • Your deer’s diet – from wooded acreage, probably has more gamy taste
  • Deer on agricultural & suburban areas – better diet = better taste
  • Hauling game home exposed – in/on the truck/vehicle

Dave Adds

As an experienced deer processor, Dave (of has seen it all and has the photos to prove it. Look around his site for other info on reducing gamy taste.

  • Dave indicates that leaving bone-in the venison contributes to the gamy taste.
  • He believes “aging” deer can add gamy taste. See his suggestions.
  • He also indicates anything less than “double wrapping venison” for the freezer is a bad idea.

The Big Question

Essentially, the real question you should always be asking yourself is, “If this were beef from the grocers, how would I handle this piece of meat?”

Taming “Gamy” Before Cooking

Check out this site: Steve Loder, author of 3 wild game cookbooks, gives an interesting explanation of venison’s fat being the source of much of it’s ‘gaminess.’

His theory and solutions are too lengthy to cover here, but he has the credentials to know his subject and give great advice.

Methods to Reduce Gaminess

There are many ways to remove the wild taste. At eHow, -check out the  idea there.

To Tenderize & Remove the Wild Taste

  • Before we fry the backstrap of the deer, we marinate the meat in milk for ~24 hours.
  • Cut up a pineapple – mix pressed pineapple slices, pulp, juice with meat chunks (or slices), cover, place in refrigerator for a couple of days, then use. If you are using a large piece of meat, increase the amount of fresh pineapple.
  • Buttermilk is another popular marinating liquid

Try venison in tomato-based dishes, such as meatballs and spaghetti sauce, lasagna, chili, etc. The tomato masks (or removes, I’m not sure which) the wild taste.


This blog is a companion to my website:

Can You Take the Wild Taste Out of Venison? (1 of 3)


020176L_One Chance Only

Protect Your Investment with Proper Handling!


Essentially, there are two major times your handling of the meat affects the deer’s taste:  just after the deer is killed and just before you cook the venison.

When I Know the Venison Will Be Awful

When I see proud hunters, with deer draped over the truck top or hanging out of the back of a truck while they are driving, I shudder. They certainly weren’t in it for the meat!

That meat is going to be “gamy” – if not outright spoiled. What are they thinking? Driving down I-45 on a day like today (temperature was 72), just how long would you expect a piece of beef to remain edible, on the top of a truck?

Critical Timing

The few hours after slaying the deer  are critical! Quick field dressing (more on this next time) is essential. Some folks, shooting a deer about dark, leave the body in the snow, to dress it in the am. This is a fatal error!

Another item critical to the taste of the venison meat is — washing out the carcass with water ASAP after field dressing.

Your knife must be sharp and your hand swift and sure. Entrails not carefully removed will affect taste.

Where’s the Ice?

Deer, after death, are still warm. It is critical to get everything iced ASAP. Sometimes, it is not possible to have the deer under ice within the 2 hour window.  At least have bags of ice in the body cavity by that time.

MDH* disagrees with the paragraph above & he has valid points: Putting precious ice in a warm body is a waste. He opens the body cavity to cool down, while he does other parts of processing (depending on the temperature, he may be skinning the deer, also to cool the carcass).

Skinning may be a great plan in 40 degree weather (or less). However, when it is warmer, the best plan may be to quarter the animal and  get it into coolers.

He also disagrees with the idea that a deer must be under ice within 2 hours.  It’s a great goal, but not always practical, especially if you’ve shot the deer miles from homebase.

A Lifelong Deer Processor Says …

1) “Get it Clean

2) Get it Cold

3) Get it Cut”

Dave and Ruth, of have a wonderful site.  They show so much info that is helpful to a hunter: “venison cuts charts, visual aids and estimating your yield.”

The PRICELESS CATEGORY, however, is: “Venison Value.” Show this to your wife next time she tells you hunting costs too much. (Of course this is based on the assumption that you have shot a deer!)

Did You Know?

Venison does not freeze until it cools down below 28 degrees.

Next Time

January 1, I’ll finish this article with other ways to reduce ‘gamy taste’ in venison.

Have a wonderful New Year!


*MDH = My Deer Husband, or “He who likes to be obeyed.” (but rarely is)


This blog is a companion to my website: