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Deer meat isn’t something you in your local supermarket like you get pork, beef, chicken, and salmon. In fact, very few people actually get access to the duck meat. Well, it isn’t called deer meat either.
There’s a specific name that people use to address the deer meat. And it’s called “Venison.” But venison doesn’t mean the deer meat explicitly. So you cannot use the words interchangeably if you want to be accurate.
What is Deer Meat Called? [Venison]
In modern times, the word Venison is used to define the meat of a deer, elk, or antelope. So if you’re looking for deer meat, you have to specify. Venison solely will not convey the correct information.
In the past, the term was used to refer to the meat of any game animal. Game meat is procured for animals that are non-domesticated and free-ranging. They roam, graze, and stay in the wild.
Hunters used to hunt these wild animals and bring the meat home. The meat included any part of the animal that is edible, including the internal organs.
The meat thus collected is collectively called venison. The game includes animals like bison, moose, reindeer, elk, deer, beaver, wild turkey, wild ducks, wild boar, etc.
Is Deer Meat Safe to Eat?
Hunters during the hunting season bring home antelopes and deer for a feast. So you might be wondering if it’s safe enough for human consumption.
Speaking from a nutrition perspective, deer meat is actually healthier than, say, beef. You get only 134 calories in every three ounces of venison compared to 259 in beef for the same amount.
Additionally, there is a fewer amount of saturated fat in deer meat than in beef. These types of fats are bad for heart health.
If properly washed and processed, deer meat is safe to consume.
But there are a few health concerns associated with deer meat or venison as a whole. And the main concern is that of CWD or Chronic Wasting Disease.
This illness is similar to Mad Cow disease, which attacks and degenerates the brain of the animal. The disease is caused by an abnormal protein molecule called prions. These molecules aren’t destroyed by cooking or freezing. So they remain in the meat, especially in the head portion.
While is little evidence of the transmission from deer to humans, CWD is a health concern, nonetheless.
Therefore, it’s advised not to consume the brain, eyes, spleen, and spinal cord of a deer or game animal.
What does Deer Meat Tastes Like?
The deer meat varies from species to species. So deer meat tastes different than elk meat.
The most common type of dear meat you’ll find is of the Axis Deer. Native to India, the deer species can be found in many parts of the world, including the United States.
They are brown in color with white spots throughout the body. Another distinguishable feature is the three-tinted antlers.
If you’re consuming Axis Deer, then you can expect a mild and tender taste. Because of the low-fat level, they taste exceedingly good.
If you’re consuming caribou, then it too has a tender taste. They can weigh up to 400 pounds and are high in protein.
Moose meat is similar to that of lean beef or bison. A single moose weighing 1500 pounds can provide 900 pounds of meat. The moose meat is popular for steaks.
Similarly, elk meat has a more gamey flavor and a coarse texture. They are leaner than beef but have a higher cholesterol level. More than the meat, it’s the antlers that are of prime focus. They tend to weigh about 40 pounds, and people like to keep them as a souvenir.
Fallow deer, which are the most common dear found in the world, offers a strong taste. To counterbalance the taste, chefs use wine marinades.
Finally, you have the red deer that has large antlers. They are comparable to an elk and weigh over 500 pounds. Meat procured from a red deer tends to be rich in flavor and low in fat. The protein content is appreciable too.
Is Deer Meat Legal?
The legality varies from country to country. In the United States, hunting and selling game meat might be considered illegal. But if they’re procured from a Game farm, then it can be sold just like regular meat.
Many states have Game Farm licensing in place. Anyone who owns a farm and get this license and raise game animals for the purpose of selling in the market.
Furthermore, the meat needs to undergo tests by the USDA. They test and approve the quality of the meat and provide an Inspection Stamp. To receive this stamp, farmers must get the animal inspected prior to slaughter.
There are protocols from the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service or APHIS that sellers must follow before they’re allowed to sell venison.
In England, the sale of venison is tightly regulated, but the meat is commercially available at many places.
In New Zealand, deer meat is fairly common since they have a large population of farmed and raised deer.
Deer Meat Recipes
Deer meat or venison are cooked in several ways. After cleaning and removing the ineligible parts, the meat is cured and then dried.
Most people like to grill the deer meat for the best taste. Because they’re tender, the smokey flavors perfectly compliment the meat.
Another popular recipe is Grilled Venison with Blackberry sauce. The sauce adds to the taste and provides a rich flavor.
You can also prepare Crockpot Lasagna. The thin flat pasta with cheese and vegetables go well with the tender deer meat.
Hunter families also like to prepare venison crescent rolls. They’re minced and then mixed with cheese and vegetables. Finally wrapped in crescent rolls and then baked.
To Sum up
Deer meat is commonly called venison, but venison doesn’t always refer to deer meat. Therefore, you can simply refer to the meat of a deer as deer meat without fearing being ridiculed.
As a safety measure, you should check with your state if there are cases of CWD. They keep track of any outbreaks that happen in their area and alert the authorities accordingly. If so, then you should take appropriate measures or abstain from deer meat for a while.