We are a bunch of foodies here at the 131 Method. We love reading about the elaborate dishes on menus. Investigating new flavors and exotic foods is our jam! Venison is beginning to appear more often on menus and shopping shelves, and from a health, taste and nutritional point of view, we are excited. We think it is a delicious delicacy many foodies can agreed upon. But, it’s still not too mainstream.
What is Venison?
Venison is the meat from a deer. Initially, however, it was a collective term used to describe the meat from any game animal such as hares, goats and wild pigs. Many parts of America, and the world, prove difficult for buying venison. In America, there are strict USDA regulations to follow. And, not many abattoirs process deer. Thankfully, we are beginning to see more butchers and online retailers selling venison.
Although venison is considered red meat, it is often touted as a healthier alternative to lamb and beef. Surprisingly, it is also considered healthier than the white meat of pork and chicken. Venison has a rich, earthy taste, and firmer texture than other red meat.
So should we all be eating venison instead of beef or lamb? That’s a question we, and many health professionals, often ask. Let’s dig in and find out if we should all be eating more of this delicious meat.
Health Benefits Of Venison
Like other red meats, venison helps boost brain health, enhance immunity, prevent anemia and encourage muscle growth and recovery. Interestingly, venison also helps with weight loss. It is an excellent source of protein, low in calories, zero carbohydrates and contains one of the most important omega-3 fatty acids: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which helps reduce triglyceride levels.
Nutritional Benefits Of Venison
As with most nutritionally nourishing foods, there is often a high price tag attached. Venison has a high price tag due to its high nutrient density. It is a fantastic source of lean protein! It’s supposedly leaner than beef, although not as lean as chicken or turkey. So though a red meat, it’s often considered more of a white meat.
A 100g of raw deer meat offers 23g of protein, only 2.4g of fat and only 120 calories.
Venison also offers a good dose of vitamin B6 and B12, zinc, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. This impressive vitamin and mineral content is superior to the vitamins and minerals found in beef, chicken, turkey and pork. Venison is lower in cholesterol than beef, but not as low as chicken breast or ground turkey. Although venison has a minimal fat content, it offers an excellent omega 6 to 3 ratio (1).
How To Prepare & Cook Venison
If you enjoyed our article about the Blood Type Diet, you’d know that venison is one of the preferred proteins for blood type B. Whether you follow the blood type diet or not, you may enjoy the delicacies of venison as steak, roast, stewed, braised, minced or like a sausage.
Venison tends to be tough if prepared and cooked incorrectly. For all meats, marinate it first, up to overnight in the refrigerator. This not only improves the flavor, but tenderizes the meat. As with all other meats, if you grill, barbecue or cook your meat at very high temperatures, marinate your venison overnight before first. Marinating the meat helps decrease the amount of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, AKA- HCA. Some studies suggest that eating HCA’s may increase your risk of some cancers, including: prostate, breast, pancreas, lung, stomach and colorectal.
Buying deer that has enjoyed a free-range life eating natural pastures offers you similar increased nutritional value as grass-fed beef. Purchase the highest quality venison from a butcher with a good reputation who has dressed and aged the deer. Dressing, maturing and marinating the deer meat is one of the most crucial steps to developing succulent, tender venison.
Best Marinade For Venison
There are many delicious marinades, but we love using apple cider vinegar, aka ACV. Apple cider vinegar is fantastic for tenderizing meat as well as adding tremendous health benefits. Another favorite way to tenderize venison is to ‘dry rub’ the meat with a few flavorings. Try massaging the flesh with about a teaspoon each of dry mustard, rosemary, thyme, powdered turmeric, freshly ground peppercorns, crushed Himalayan rock salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Let the rub infuse and tenderize the meat in the refrigerator for a few hours, or ideally, overnight.
Whatever flavors you choose, they need to enhance, not overpower, the unique flavor of venison. Venison has such a superior game-y flavor in itself, it would be a pity to confuse these unique flavors with an overpowering marinade. You might also like to try these delicious marinades.
Be careful not to overcook venison. Venison does not have the marbling like other red meat. Marbling is the fat found between the muscle fibers, giving it a marbled pattern, which offers meat tenderness, juiciness and flavor.
Here are cooking methods appropriate for each cut of the meat.
- Braise – shoulders, shanks and neck
- Cube & Slow Cook – hindquarters
- Mince – flanks and rib meat
- Grill – tenderloin & loins
Loins and tenderloins are naturally tender, but other cuts are tougher and stringier.
Best Recipes For Venison
We love the practicality and deliciousness of these recipes:
Is Deer Meat Good For You?
Well, yes we think so. Free range deer meat is free from antibiotics and hormones, so yes it’s healthier than so many other types. The meat from these free-range animals is lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in vitamin B6, B12 and omega 3 fatty acids. Healthy deer that have been raised in the wild, dressed and appropriately butchered, may be one of our healthiest red meat we have today.
Vitamin B6 is good for metabolism, nerve and liver function, good skin and eye health, as well as vitality. If you are low on energy, there is a good chance you might need to up your intake of B vitamins.
Vitamin B12 is excellent for promoting a happy mood and vitality. Conditions associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency include: chronic fatigue, poor memory, heart, skin and hair health, adrenal fatigue, chronic stress, depression and feeling run down. Take your vitamin B’s as a complex, instead of individually. If you have a medical condition, always ask your healthcare professional before taking any new nutritional supplements.
Omega 3 fatty acids, which this meat offers a good dose of, helps improve eye, brain, heart, bone, joint, sleep and skin health. Depression, inflammation, anxiety, metabolic syndrome, autoimmune diseases, mental disorders and asthma are some of the health conditions which may be associated with an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.
What To Be Careful Of
Some consider deer as one of the dirtiest animals as a few say they don’t clean themselves. Wild deer can suffer all kinds of diseases. At this stage, we have found no studies suggesting any of these diseases being transmitted to humans through us eating their meat. We believe that venison is one of the healthiest foods as they roam freely eating healthy herbs, grasses, berries, and nuts.
Are you joining us as we head out to buy some venison? What do you think? Might you be eating more of this nutritiously delicious meat?