All About Venison: How to Hunt, Harvest, Process, and Cook Deer Meat

I married a man who loves to hunt. As a young wife and mother, one of the big challenges for me was to learn how to cook venison and all the other wild game filling our freezer. At first, to be honest, I wasn’t all that crazy about venison. That’s because I didn’t yet know the tricks of preparing this wholesome food. Wild game meals can be delicious, tender, and even sophisticated. In fact, the ways to prepare venison are almost endless!

Persian venison stew: you can learn how to cook deer meat in almost endless ways
Persian venison stew: the ways to prepare this healthy meat are almost endless.

Along with harvesting wild game, we also grow food and flavor on our land: vegetables, fruit trees, and herbs along with chickens and bees. I started my Game and Garden brand in 2012 to share all the knowledge I’d gathered about free-range living.

Although has grown and changed since then, Game and Garden is still going strong. I believe the reason why is that more and more people are wanting to take their food and health into their own hands.

I find it very encouraging that the venison articles and recipes are some of the most popular posts on my blog. Why? Because that means lots of folks are discovering this fabulous natural food and cooking it for their families.

The ABCs of How to Cook Venison

In light of this awesome trend, I decided to create this “all about venison” roundup. Here you can find links and summaries of my most popular venison and wild game posts. First, I’d like to answer a few common questions about deer meat.

cleaning and dressing a deer

What Is Venison?

Well, originally, venison was just a word for wild game. These days in North America, it usually refers to various types of deer, such as antelope, elk, caribou, and whitetail deer.

For our family, cultivating venison begins with attracting the deer to our land. A great way to do that is to plant peanuts. Deer and dove both love them. So do we, actually! You can read more about planting peanuts for deer here.

Is Venison Healthy?

Venison is super high in protein and other nutrients, like iron and B vitamins. At the same time, it’s very low in saturated fat. There is some evidence that it’s a heart-healthy meat, as well as a great food for anyone who is trying to build lean muscle. It’s the ideal free-range meat if you want to replace corn-fed beef with something better for you. So if you’re wondering is venison healthy, in a word: Yes!

What Does Venison Taste Like?

I know many people are afraid that venison will taste “gamey” and that the meat will be tough. Those preconceptions are totally true if you don’t know how to prepare venison well! You really can’t cook venison like beef from the grocery store. However, you can make it delicious and tender with a few tips and tricks.

Stacy holding breakfast skillet dish

So what does venison taste like? It has an earthy, rich taste that I absolutely love, now that I know how to prepare it.

I’ve devoted a whole post to 10 Tips and Tricks for Preparing Venison, from deer processing and aging to cooking.

How to Cook Venison for Best Flavor

Once you’ve mastered the basics of preparing deer meat, the sky’s the limit! You can make venison sausage and meatballs, add it to stews, and make it the main protein in all sorts of cuisines. Seriously…think Parmesan Venison, Venison Enchiladas, and Indonesian Venison with Peanut Sauce!

To answer the question of how to cook venison, my post 21 Ways to Use Venison includes those recipes and many more. Additionally, many of the recipes include step-by-step photos and/or how-to videos. For example, you can learn exactly how to butterfly and truss a venison loin.

Butterflying and trussing: important steps in learning how to cook venison.
Butterflying and trussing are important steps in learning how to cook venison.

One of my favorite things to do with venison is make my own sausage. Click here to learn all about the lost art of sausage making.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

I do recommend you follow these 10 tips for processing, aging, and cooking venison. But beyond that, feel free to experiment! For example, try adding venison in place of pork sausage in one of your favorite Italian recipes. Give it a starring role on taco night. If you have ground venison meat, be sure to try a scrumptious venison burger in place of hamburger with all your family’s favorite fixings.

Ready to learn how to cook venison? Stacy Lyn’s Venison Recipe Roundup

Here is a roundup of all the venison recipes on my blog. Enjoy!

Venison Recipes


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  1. I would like some Jerky recipes. Thanks for all the hard work you do

    1. I’ll try to get a few up on the blog! I do have one in my preserving handbook, along with a ton of other preserving recipes. It’s in my store. I will try very soon to get it on the blog too!

  2. Thanks for all the hard work you do. I would like some Jerky recipes.

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