Venison is the meat of the deer, intended as food. It is derived from the ancient French word “Venesoun,” which initially described the meat of any large animal, not just deer. Today, it exclusively applies to deer, except in South Africa, where it refers to antelope.
- Venison has a high content of protein and iron and low in fat and cholesterol.
- Venison jerky can be purchased in some grocery stores or ordered online and is served on some airlines.
- Red Deer can be found in large numbers on deer farms.
- Red Deer was introduced into the wild in 1879 at Sydney’s Royal National Park.
- In the United States, venison is less common at retail due to the requirement that the animal is inspected by USDA inspectors.
Venison Buying Guide
Venison is marketed as joints and in smaller cuts, cubed, minced or processed into products such as sausages and jerky. When buying venison, look for lean meat with a deep color and dense texture. If the animal is young, its meat will be more tender. It’s best to buy venison in prime season (from October to January) because the meat is fresher, and sometimes, during this season, the animals are benefited from a proper, natural diet – all factors which contribute to the better-tasting game.
High in protein, venison is dark red and lean, with a fine texture and relatively strong flavor. Meat from older deer has a better flavor but requires long, slow cooking to achieve tender results. The meat from younger animals can be cooked more quickly. As it’s lean meat from a wild animal, it’s best served pink to avoid it drying out. Venison has a flavor that is similar to beef but is more vibrant and can have a gamey note. It can be eaten as steaks, tenderloin, roasts, sausages, jerky, and minced meat.
For best quality, wrap the venison tightly in plastic wrap, keeping air out as much as possible. Wrap the packages in vapor-proof or moisture-proof freezer paper. Freeze quickly at 0 degrees or below.
Ground Venison must be stored in a freezer at 0F or colder for 5 months, while roasts and steaks can be stored up to 6-12 months at this temperature. Proper dressing, packaging, quick freezing, and colder freezer temperatures will help maintain meat quality for the most prolonged period.
As venison is very lean meat, the best results will be achieved if it is served rare to medium-rare to retain the meat’s juiciness and tenderness. It is essential to not over-cook venison and always allows it to rest for at least five minutes before serving in any recipe.
There are many cuts and methods of cooking venison where the meat must be eaten rare. If venison is overcooked, it is like eating rubber, but if it’s seared and allowed to rest for about ten minutes before slicing, it is like eating butter! Venison cooks faster than beef, and when cooking it rare, it needs only to reach a temperature of 130 degrees. If venison reaches 150 degrees, it begins to toughen.
Venison suits fruity sauces such as cherry, blueberry, and redcurrant, as well as earthier flavors such as mushrooms, marjoram, and red wine. To keep venison meat moist and tender, marinate and then baste regularly during cooking. For smaller cuts taken from the saddle, loin or fillet, pan-fry or grill. Roast larger joints such as saddle, leg, or rump. Otherwise, braise, casserole, stew, or add to pie fillings.
Venison is considered by the nutritionists to be very healthful meat for human consumption. It is a versatile, low-fat, high-protein meat that is flavorful in the way that other red meat, such as beef, is but is a healthier alternative. Wild venison has a high omega-3 fatty acid level which is similar to that of range-fed beef.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin B12: Keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
Vitamin B6: To help keep the brain and nervous system healthy — and for heart health, muscle function, and a lot more.
Riboflavin: A vitamin that is necessitated for growth and overall good health.
Niacin: It has a wide range of uses in the body, helping functions in the digestive system, skin, and nervous system.
Iron: Helps to preserve many vital functions in the body, including universal energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and the regulation of body temperature.
Phosphorous: It is needed for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.
Selenium: An essential trace mineral that assists with cognitive function and fertility.
Zinc: A nutrient found throughout your body that helps your immune system and metabolism function.
Copper: It helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function, and it contributes to iron absorption.