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:

My Wild Game Recipe Collection – Thus Far


Here's The Whole Shebang!

Here's The Whole Enchilada!


These recipes have been spread out over so many months, you may  have missed some.

  • Just Ducky – Wild Duck – Chesapeake Barbecued                                          Duck and Roasted Wild Duck
  • 2 Ways with Venison – Pecan-Crusted Venison, Tex-                                    Mex Venison
  • Deer Chili in a Slow Cooker “Brazos River Bottom                                     Killed-on-the-Road Texas Chili” and LBJ’s River Chili


This blog is a companion to my website:

Recipe: Wild Game in the Slow Cooker



Venison Stew for a Cold Evening!


Lately, I’ve been getting traffic from folks looking for wild game recipes, using their slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Cooking by Lora Brody has several good ones. (Published in 2001, ISBN = 068817471X, $25.00).

She offers a recipe or two for pheasant, duck and rabbit. Today, however, I’m using her

Venison Stew with Mushrooms

Yield: 6 servings

Cooking Time: 6 – 8 hours on low

Slow Cooker Size: 4 quart

The meat is marinated overnight and the venison comes from the cooker more tender & flavorful than by baking.

The Marinade

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup dry red wine

1 large sprig fresh rosemary

1 large sprig fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

For the Stew

2 lbs. venison stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more if needed

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

1Tbsp. flour – all-purpose

1 1/2 cups dry red wine

1  1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth

2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (See Note)

2 bay leaves

2 whole cloves

3/4 tsp. salt, plus more if needed

freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp. butter

10 ozs. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1/4 inch slices

1 Tbsp. currant jelly

2 Tbsp. fresh, flat-leaved parsley

Combine marinade ingredients in non-reactive (plastic, glass) bowl or a large resealable plastic bag. Add meat to marinade and mix to get marinade into the meat. Allow the meat to marinade 12 to 24 hours, occasionally stirring the contents of bowl or kneading meat in bag.

To cook the stew, drain marinade, dry meat with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Brown meat on all sides. Transfer the browned meat into the slow cooker.

Add the carrot, onion and garlic to the saute pan and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until you can no longer see white flour. Add the wine, broth, tomatoes, bay leaves,, cloves, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper (to taste) to the pan.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour this mixture over the meat in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Turn the cooker off and let the stew rest, covered, while you make the mushrooms.

Melt butter in saute pan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until they have softened and browned. Sprinkle them with the remaining1/4 tsp. salt. Set mushrooms aside.

Ladle off about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the stew; place it in a small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer, and then whisk in the currant jelly and continue whisking until the jelly dissolves.

Pour this sweetened liquid back into the stew, stir well and add the mushrooms. Season for taste; remove the bay leaves.

To serve, ladle into wide, shallow bowls. Sprinkle with parsley.

NOTES: To peel tomatoes, plunge them into rapidly boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon. The skins will slip right off.


This blog is a companion to my website: