Venison is lean and low in fat, which makes it a healthy alternative to domesticated meats.

Venison, in its broadest term, once referred to any type of wild game. Most often, it references deer meat, but can include elk, caribou, and moose. The meat is very lean and low in fat, but with a robust flavoring. The “gamey” taste that some people dislike is often a result of poor field dressing or improper cooking.

Venison can be substituted for beef or pork in most recipes and is especially tasty in chili and as jerky. Because it is low in fat, however, use care to keep it moist and tender.


Farm-raised deer are gaining a market, in addition to wild game that is commercially processed. The taste will vary depending on diet.

Buying Tips

Younger animals will be milder in taste and are tender by comparison. A specialty butcher should know the age of the animal. As with any meat, some cuts such as the shoulder, brisket, and flank will be tougher.

When purchasing ground meats, be sure they are labeled 100% - sometimes fats or other ingredients are added for bulk.

Storage Tips

Keep venison tightly wrapped to prevent drying; refrigerate, and use within two days. It can be frozen for six-eight months. Remove fat first as it can influence the long-term flavor of the meat. When freezing large quantities of meat, leave plenty of room for air circulation. Once frozen completely, they can be stacked.

Usage Tips

Some of the gamey taste remains embedded in fat. Trim all meats and replace with bacon slices draped over the meat. Simmering in beef broth will also lessen the wild flavor.

When using ground, blend with breakfast sausage or ground beef and seasonings for moist patties.

Use bold red wines for marinating and deglazing. Marinate for 24 hours to incorporate juices and break down tough tissue.

Always allow lean meats to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This will redistribute juices.

Venison can be cooked to medium-rare (145ºF/62ºC), but it is always wise to let meat reach an internal temperature of at least 160ºF/71ºC. At 170º/76.6ºC, the meat is well-done.

Try one of our favorite venison recipes:
Venison Sausage
Fruited Venison
Dutch Oven Venison