In this article, you will learn:
- What does gamey taste like?
- How to tell if your meat has gone bad?
- How to prepare game meat?
- How to marinate or brine game meat?
- How to cook and store game meat?
- 10 tricks and tips
What Does Gamey Taste Like?
When we say something tastes “gamey,” we mean it tastes weird. It’s tough to explain and describe, but all animals we eat have a unique smell and taste. When we say something tastes gamey, we usually mean something smells and tastes different from what we are used to and not necessarily negatively. The gamey flavor is an acquired taste. It means you either love it or hate it and find it off-putting or repulsive.
There are many ways of removing or reducing the gamey flavor from meats. But first, we need to ensure the meat is still good.
How to Tell if Your Meat Has Gone Bad?
- Has a strong repulsive smell
- Foul off-putting smell.
- The slimy mucous-like coating around the meat
- The meat has an awkward texture or breaks apart too easily.
Now let us take a look at how to prepare the game meat.
How to Prepare Game Meat?
If you hunted the animal:
- Remove the innards of the animal as soon as possible.
- Put the carcass in ice immediately.
If you bought the animal from a shop or vendor:
- The butcher will prep the meat and make adjustments if you ask them nicely.
- If you plan on having it later, then freeze it as soon as possible.
Now that you have your meat there are a few things you need to do:
- Remove and trim off as much silver skin and fat from it using a sharp knife. Again this is something you can get your butcher or monger to do for you.
- Cut the meat as per the requirements of your dish and needs.
Okay, so now that your game meat is prepped and butchered correctly, let us now see how to cook your game meat. But before cooking, it is a good idea to marinate or brine your meat. Let us show you how to do it.
How to Marinate or Brine Game Meat?
To marinate the meat:
- Take the meat and place it in a large bowl or container.
- Add seasonings and spices to it per the recipe you are following.
- Use acidic marinates to remove the gamey taste even further. Acidic marinades include Worcestershire sauce, vinegar-based sauces, wine, etc.
- Mix the marinade into the meat evenly, ensuring all the meat pieces are covered.
- Leave the meat to marinate for at least 2-4hours, preferably overnight.
- You can leave the meat to marinate inside the fridge for up to 1-2days.
Brine the meat:
- Place the meat in a large container or pot.
- Make an acidic brine using vinegar, water, and salt. (1-liter water to 1-cup vinegar)
- Feel free to toast some spices and aromatics like peppercorns, bay leaf, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, etc., and add them to the brine for an extra boost of flavor and better enticing aroma.
- Cover the container or utensil with cling film or aluminum foil and place it inside the fridge.
- Let the meat brine for hours, preferably overnight. You can even brine the meat for 1-2days if you want.
You may also like: Can You Freeze Lunch Meat?
The blood and enzymes present inside meat are one of the many reasons behind its gamey taste and smell. Brining meat removes excess blood present inside the meat. Moreover, bringing it helps tenderize the meat, add moisture to it, and enhance its flavor profile.
Optionally you can brine or marinate the meat in buttermilk overnight or 12 hours. It will also remove blood from the meat and tenderize it simultaneously.
Doing these steps will remove the gamey taste from the meat and tenderize the meat, making it more flavorful and tastier.
How to Cook Game Meat?
Cooking the meat should be done as the recipe instructs you to. Here are a few tips to further remove the gamey taste:
- Brown the meat properly if you make anything like stews or braised meats.
- Sear off the meat on all sides quickly and evenly.
- Render the fat properly. If you see any white fat on the meat, it means the fat hasn’t been rendered properly.
- Add acidic ingredients, like wine, vinegar, etc.
- Add aromatics like herbs and spices.
- After cooking, allow the meat to rest for at least 10-15mins.
- Serve with an acidic sauce or dip.
If you were wondering, “How do I cook deer or venison?” or “How do I remove the gamey taste from deer or venison?” then don’t worry. Follow these steps, and you can easily cook deer or venison properly without any gamey taste.
How to Store Game Meat?
After skinning and butchering the meat, trim all the excess fat and silver skin from the meat. Next, wash and rinse away the blood from the meat and then portion the meat. Be sure always to use clean hands and wash your hands when handling meat products. It is very easy to contaminate and possibly get sick from handling meat. You can use clingfilm or resealable plastic bags to store the meat or even freezer-proof containers. You can freeze and store game meats for up to a year or more this way.
You can follow the same procedure to refrigerate the meat. It will stay good for up to 3-7days.
10 Tricks and Tips
- Always try to remove the innards from the carcass as soon as possible.
- Skin the carcass and wash away the blood
- Place the carcass in ice to prevent it from turning bad.
- Always butcher the meat carefully. Cut it as per requirement and use sharp knives to do so.
- Trim off the meat’s excess and extra fat and silver skin. It will reduce the gaminess and, at the same time, make the meat tenderer and easier to chew.
- Marinate or brine in acidic things.
- Use aromatics and herbs carefully so that it doesn’t overpower the meat itself.
- It is always good to at least brine or marinates the meat overnight.
- Use a thermometer to ensure the meat has been cooked to the perfect temperature.
- Always cut the meat against the grain. It will make the meat much tenderer.
Game meat is a delicacy. It’s not something you eat every day, so it’s always helpful to know how to remove the bad and gamey tastes from them and cook, store and prepare the meats properly. Hopefully, reading our article has given you all the info you were looking for. All that is left is to invite your family and friends over and stun and surprise them with the tips and tricks you learned from us. You can thank us later; let the hunt begin!
Eva M. Smith is the owner of this website. She is a 4 year old mother of two and a professional chef. Eva loves to cook for her family, but being a working mom has a lot of challenges. From squeezing in time to do the groceries to make three meals for the day. Eva knows how challenging cooking can be without a kitchen gameplan.
That’s why she perfected techniques of preserving staple ingredients and several foods so that you have something pre-cooked or pre-baked to use for an array of meals. And they do not come short in flavor! And she does not want to sacrifice flavor with convenience. That’s why she is the best person to ask.