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Wild Game Without Gamey Flavor

SchneiderPeeps - Wild Game Without Gamey Flavor is easy to achieve with these 7 tips.


{update: Stacy’s books are on sale for $14.94 with free shipping right now! You can click here to order – and this is not an affiliate link) 

Last week when I reviewed Stacy Harris’ books and dvd, I asked readers what their biggest struggle cooking wild foods was. The vast majority mentioned the gamey flavor in meats. Stacy’s books don’t really address that particular issue, since her books are about cooking and the gamey flavor comes about during the processing of the game. So, I went on a quest this week to find out just exactly how to keep from getting the gamey flavor in your meat to begin with. 

I’m sure you know, but I think it’s worth mentioning, that wild meat will always taste different than domestic meat…not bad, just different. Domestic animals are fed a very controlled diet and usually not allowed to roam around and develop muscle. Wild animals eat what they forage and run around and develop all kinds of muscles. This will cause the meat to taste different. 

I usually can our venison to make meat and gravy or stew and my guys really like making jerky with it. But thanks to Stacy I’m branching out. 

Canning Stew

warning – If you don’t want to read about how to process an animal properly, please don’t read any farther. 

Here are seven tips on how to keep your meat from having a gamey flavor…

1. Get the animal down as soon as possible. The longer the animal runs around after being shot, the more lactic acid that will build up in the muscles – which makes the meat taste gamey. 

2. Field dress the animal immediately. Don’t do an hour long photo shoot or keep it in tact to show mom. You need to get all the organs out asap. Here is a video from my friend Tammy at Trayer Wilderness (it’s pretty graphic, just so you know 😉 )

3. Let the animal bleed out. If you live in a cool area you can hang the animal. If you live in a warm area (like we do) you can quarter the animal and put it in a cooler with ice. Leave the drainage spout open, you don’t want it soaking in it’s blood. Keep it on ice for several days, replacing the ice as needed. (We -as in my guys- skin it before it goes into the coolers 😉 )

4. Cut away all the fat, sinew and anything else that isn’t meat. Unlike beef, venison fat doesn’t taste good. This alone will do wonders for the flavor of your meat. 

5. If you already have some meat in the freezer that has a gamey flavor, you can soak it in buttermilk, milk, white vinegar or saltwater. Any of these will help draw out the blood and the gamey flavor. 

6. Either stew the meat and cook it on low for a long time or cook the meat on high for a short time. If you choose the later, you will need to serve the meat medium rare. If that’s not your thing, you probably need to not try to grill steaks with your venison. You’ll be disappointed. 

7. Add fat to ground meat, especially if you’re going to make hamburgers or sausage or else the meat won’t stick together. You can add pork or beef fat at a ratio of about  5:1 (venison to pork or beef). 

So after all my research, I’m convinced that in order to have really wonderful tasting wild game without gamey flavor, processing the animal correctly is a must. 

The winner of the Sustainable Living Giveaway is Teri G! Teri, I’ve sent you an email. 

What are some of your tips for great tasting wild game? 




Thanks for sharing with your friends!


Saturday 14th of March 2015

I didn't see anywhere, where you remove the scent glands during your field dressing procedure. If you don't want a strong odor and/or gamey smell and flavor, I would remove these from the backs of the legs. If you soak the meat in cold water with a little white vinegar and change it several times. The last one, use beef bullion or beef base and worcestershire sauce, a little liquid smoke and soy sauce and let it soak a few hours then drain and process, your meat will taste a lot like beef.

Angi Schneider

Saturday 14th of March 2015

Thanks for these great tips! And you are right, removing the scent glad is key.

Tim D

Sunday 7th of December 2014

I use 1 teaspoon per pound baking soda, on meat soaked in water 24 hours. Take out of freezer cover with water and add BS put in fridge, wait cook. I can take any piece of meat from any deer and make it taste just like grass fed beef this way. This came from an old timer hunter when i was young 50 years ago.

Angi Schneider

Monday 8th of December 2014

Those are the best kind of tips. Thanks so much for sharing!

Barb Sowers

Saturday 6th of December 2014

A couple of adds. Don't allow a single hair to be left stuck to the meat, especially during cooking.

We cut up the meat then soak it overnight in water in the fridge. It splatters a bit during cooking but helps get any excess blood out.

And if it is still gamey tasting, cook it in butter instead of using cooking oil. It really helps.

Angi Schneider

Sunday 7th of December 2014

Those are great suggestions, thanks for sharing Barb. I didn't know about the butter trick.


Thursday 4th of December 2014

We do all of the above! Sometimes the meat is more "gamey" than others so we have found that soaking it in Apple juice helps. You can even put the juice in a spray bottle and mist it on the meat while grilling. Makes for great shish-ka-bobs! :)

Angi Schneider

Thursday 4th of December 2014

That is a great ideas about the apple juice! Thanks for sharing.