Venison vs. Beef

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 19 June, 2008 at

If God didn’t want us to eat MULE DEER, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat


“You’ll often read that venison contains a lower level of cholesterol than beef, but this just isn’t true. This article, excerpted from my book, “Making the Most of Your Deer” (2000), contains USDA data, cut-for-cut.”

Nutritional Value of Venison

Venison, when properly prepared, is a culinary delight that holds its own in the company of fine wines and other condiments. The meat has a fine-grained, interesting texture, yet is tender without being mushy as are some of the more expensive cuts of domestic meats. But the good news doesn’t end here. Not only is venison delicious, it also is better for your nutritional well-being than are most commercially available meats. In this day and age when so many tasty items have been found to be either worthless or even potentially harmful to your health, rest assured that venison compares favorably with the supermarket alternatives. Venison is low in fat and calories and is high in minerals and vitamins. It also is free from chemical additives, synthetic growth hormones and other nasty substances.

Some of venison’s nutritional superiority exists solely by the default of our modern meat raising systems. Still, the basic fact remains that whitetail deer are highly efficient processors of the natural foods they eat. The buds, herbs, acorns, wild fruits, and other browse in a deer’s diet are effectively converted into muscle, and the benefits of this natural food fare are passed along to those of us who enjoy venison. It’s truly an “organically grown” product!

…….it’s obvious that venison ranks very high by modern dietary standards. For one thing, venison fat content, and consequently the caloric count, is relatively low. Even when all excess fat has been trimmed from a beefsteak or pork cut, there still remains a high level of fatty tissue entwined within the muscle fibers (we call it “well-marbled”) of domestic red meat. When a portion of venison is trimmed of fat, the remaining meat is 97.8 percent fat-free. Now that’s what you can properly call lean meat! Venison also contains comparably high levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. These minerals are essential to our well-being, and it’s great that we can partake of them while enjoying a gourmet venison meal. And let’s not forget the vitamins; venison scores high in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, plus Vitamins B6, B12, and E. In fact, it has been calculated that a one-pound venison steak contains more than the full recommended daily adult allowances for thiamine and niacin and a major share of the recommended riboflavin allowance. These are natural vitamins, products of nature rather than of industry, and they come to you indirectly in venison from the foods of the forest.

Cholesterol in Venison? – the Real Story, Right Here

Everyone knows that the cholesterol level in venison is lower than in beef and pork…right? Wrong! I wish that I could claim that cholesterol in venison was low, right along with the established benefits of higher vitamins and minerals and lower fat content, but that just wouldn’t be true. It turns out that, yes, although certain parts of a deer (such as the round steak) are slightly lower in cholesterol than some other parts of beef and pork, the total edible venison from a deer contains a slightly higher average cholesterol than do beef or pork. To get an accurate comparison, you need to look at the same cuts of meat from a beef cow or pig as you do for a deer, because they’re all different! Don’t just take my word for it, go to the USDA National Nutrient Database at:

and see for yourself. This remarkable Website lists the nutritional values for virtually all of the more common meat cuts from most domestic animals and some game animals, and further provides good nutritional data for cooked versus uncooked meats, and fat-trimmed versus cooked as-is. The cholesterol content of any animal is tied more directly to the lean meat than to the fat content of the animal. You might be surprised to learn that fat contains very little cholesterol! So it’s a see-saw…calories from fat, or cholesterol from the lean meat. Pick your poison…but please add the right spices first!

_____________________________________________________ Gourmet Food on a Survivor’s Budget

Good food is somewhat expensive, sure, but the cost of true gourmet food is out of sight. Just to have the experience of grilling a prime beefsteak in the backyard, the average person might have to scrimp on other groceries. We would like to be able to experiment with different sauces and exotic recipes, but with meat prices so high we restrict our culinary adventures to within the affordable and commonplace. Instead we often limit our skills to the preparation of tossed salads and hamburger dressings. Why take a chance with big money, right?

Well, with a supply of venison stocked away in the freezer, we can experiment to our heart’s content. Make no mistake about it, venison qualifies as a gourmet delicacy in every sense of the word. Venison has a distinctive flavor, responds well to special cooking techniques, is uniquely different from domestic meats, and last but not least, is difficult to obtain. Venison has the status of exclusiveness because wild venison cannot be legally sold or purchased. (The venison that sometimes appears on some restaurant menus originates from licensed deer farms. These pastured deer are fed commercial foods and consequently, the taste of their venison is somewhat different.)

Restaurants charge exorbitant prices for such exotics as truffles, caviar, morels, lobster, escargots, and other choice items that are obtained chiefly not from domestic sources but from the natural world.

But then, so would venison be expensive; that is, if you could buy it. If you had to pick up the tab for someone else’s hunting trip every time you had a venison meal, you would soon come to understand the real meaning of the words “exclusive” and “expensive.” The fact that we hunt for pleasure, rather than for food or profit, does not alter the fact that venison has all the qualifications of a gourmet food. A lot has been written about how venison can be made to taste just like beef so that those people who profess not to like wild game would not be able to tell the difference. That certainly is true; with a little cover-up here and there, venison can be made to pass for beef. But why would you want to do a thing like that? Why try to alter a gourmet food into something ordinary?

Venison should be appreciated for its own merits, much the same way that you relish a lobster for its sweet, succulent flavor. Sure, you could prepare a lobster in ways that would disguise the piquant odor of the ocean, and pass it off as farm-raised. Similarly, venison should not automatically be dummied up with strongly flavored sauces solely to change the taste of it into something that could be mistaken for a domestic meat. Take the approach of the gourmet and limit the use of sauces to only those which will enhance the natural taste and flavor of venison. A fine wine, good music in the background, candles (optional), the children either young and in bed, or grown and off someplace (also optional), and a fine meal of venison with the proper accompaniments–what else could you possibly ask in the way of a gourmet meal of fine cuisine?

The Tragedy of Modern Domestic Meats

Sometimes you can get as many chuckles from reading the advertising hype on a package of processed supermarket meat as you can from the comic section of the weekend newspapers. Seems that meat is inevitably packaged under brand names that are designed to evoke images of sunshine, shade trees, sparkling brooks and so on, scenes where children soar kites under perpetually blue skies and Mom is in the kitchen forever baking apple pies. This advertising often contains a picture, typically one that shows a smiling, straw-hatted farmer feeding only two or three head of livestock. Even the livestock are smiling (although somewhat ironically). You get the mental picture, standing there in the supermarket, that the contents of the package you are holding were grown back in the Good Old Days and then were mysteriously transported into the Here and Now, just for you. You even feel strangely reassured that those little piggies (or whatever) in the picture received many affectionate pats on the rump during their rich and full lives down on the farm.

3 Responses to “Venison vs. Beef”

  1. “Pick your poison, but add the right spices, first.” Now, that’s just plain funny!

  2. Venison is very good, but it has to be cooked right. Here are some facts that you may or may not know about venison. 1. Deer that have been chased before before being harvested have very tough meat. I’ve had venison before that was impossible to chew up. 2. Younger deer (and females) have more tender meat. 3. If a buck deer is not properly cleaned and dressed, fluid from different glands can get on the meat, making it not taste right. 4. The very best scenario: 1-shot kill, not being run, young deer, cleaned properly. Then, keeping the meat on ice for 48 hours will cause excess blood to leach out and cause a better tasting venison. It helps to butcher/slice it properly also. The rest is up to the preparer. There are several ways to season/cook venison, but if you start with the better meat (as above) your chances of great-tasting venison is very good.

  3. Cougmantx

    I agree. Deer that are not shot properly and allow the adreniline to get into the muscle can be off taste and a little tough. Shot placement and instant kill are important. Also, learn to process the deer yourself. Learn the cuts. You never know what you are getting when you take a deer to a processer. It’s not hard to do, will save you a couple hundred dollars and is more respectful of the animal you just killed. Cooling it for 2-4 days does help a lot. I never just cut the tenderlion out. I make venison chops. Meat with the bone is a better presentation and to my way of thinking, taste better. There is usally a few pounds of meat that I make sausage with. Usally no more then five pounds. I only use 20 percent pork fat and my spices. You can do this in a grinder or food processor.

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