5 Ways To Make Venison Taste Like Beef (And Not Gamey!)

Venison has a unique flavor that mimics beef in many ways…

But many can’t get past its earthy flavors, so making it taste more like beef is a popular option for those that do not like the gamey taste of deer.

In this article, I’ll teach you five methods of cooking and preparation to make your venison taste more like beef.

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Five Ways to Make Venison Taste Like Beef

The most common ways to make venison taste like beef are to experiment with different marinades, mix venison with additional pork/beef fat, use common ground beef recipes, or cook your venison cuts in the sous vide style.

5 Ways To Make Venison Taste Like Beef

Options for Making Venison Taste Like Beef

There are a handful of ways to make venison taste more like beef, even if you are not trying to accomplish this feat.

Most options have to do with marinating and the type of dish you are preparing.

But what about certain spices or additions to the meal that makes it seem like you are eating beef?

Luckily, you should have these common ingredients in your cabinet or pantry for additional plate items.

Eat Quickly Or Dry Age

Venison, more or less, can be gamey tasting. Most people do not like the flavor, so they avoid wild-caught meats such as venison.

Freshly processed venison meat

However, the best time to enjoy deer meat is when it was refrigerated just under 24 hours after harvest.

The quicker it is processed and seasoned, the better your chances of tasting more like beef than gamey.

Conversely, dry aging your venison for up to 21 days in a moisture-controlled environment is another way to remove gamey flavor and tenderize your venison making it closer to a beef texture and taste.

Eat Ground Venison or Small Cubed Cuts

If you want the absolute best chance at making venison taste like beef, choosing to have yours ground up is a great option.

Most ground venison has some fat added to it, such as pork or beef fat, to give it a beefy flavor and to make sure it does not dry out.

Venison Cube Steak Meal

If you do not have your meat ground, you could try venison steaks or a loin cut into smaller cube-like pieces.

The smaller the pieces are when cooking and eating, the better chance you taste the seasonings that you would use in beef.

Make Dishes Like Tacos or Chili

In addition to having venison ground, you can make a variety of dishes that use ground beef. Nine times out of 10, you probably will not notice that you have venison instead of beef.

These dishes include:

  • Tacos
  • Chili
  • Burgers
  • Casseroles
  • Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Ground Venison Spaghetti

These dishes are typically heavily seasoned to begin with. In the process of cooking, simply taste-test your dish to see if it needs anything else added.

Just remember that venison is also red meat, so the same seasonings can be used as you would with beef.

Use Beef Fat When Cooking

As previously mentioned, you could add beef fat to ground venison to enhance the flavor. But what about cooking cuts that are not ground?

Consider using beef tallow or another oil of your choice to add some fat to the mix. Beef tallow has a unique flavor as well, which complements great with venison.

Marinate With Different Flavors

It can be easy to go overboard with marinades or leave them too long in one.

Some popular marinades that many people use are Dale’s and McCormick, which are very salty marinades that are great for quick use if you are short on time.

McCormick Steak Marinade

For those that enjoy wine, red wine is a powerful marinade. Some recipes use around a cup, as a base, with other ingredients. Times vary on how long to marinate, usually less than 36 hours.

Another option to consider for a marinade is buttermilk with spices such as garlic and onion.

The smaller the meat is, the better chance it will absorb the buttermilk and will taste like beef. You will need 12 hours minimum for this, but no more than 36.

Bonus Tip to Taste More Like Beef

If you have tried a variety of options above, there is another method that you could look into to make venison taste more like beef. This would be cooking it sous vide style.

In addition to two pounds of 1 inch sliced venison backstrap or tenderloin, you need:

  • Red wine or beef stock
  • Fresh thyme
  • Crushed juniper berries

You will need to slather salt all over the venison and store it for at least eight hours in the refrigerator. Once completed, heat your sous vide water to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put the venison in a vacuumed sealed bag with spices, except for oil.

Cooking Sous Vide Style Venison

Cook for six hours, then remove from the bag and save the juice. Use the juice in a pan for about three minutes and add oil to a separate skillet.

Sear the meat for about 30 seconds on each side, then let sit for about three minutes. Take the juice you simmered and gently pour over the top.

Final Thoughts

Venison and beef share many characteristics, but the biggest difference is simply the leanness of wild venison compared to farm-raised beef.

To remedy the gamey flavor and make venison taste more like beef, use popular steak seasonings and cuts that are popular with beef (such as loins).

Additionally, any sauce-based recipe that uses ground beef can be swapped for ground venison. Tacos, spaghetti, lasagna, chili, and even meatloaf are great beef-like dishes that can be made with ground venison.

And lastly, try cooking your venison sous-vide style. This keeps the meat very juicy and some say it’s better than beef!

Thanks for reading, and Bon Appétit.