Since you are here, I am assuming that you too are a great deer meat lover like me. And perhaps you try deer burgers too often to enjoy its delicious flavor. But doesn’t the gaminess displease you a bit? If yes then keep on reading. I am going to discuss all my findings to remove the gamey flavour of deer meat.
As you know, deer are wild animals. So, unlike traditional meat like beef, or chicken, they taste a bit different. In particular, venison is disliked for its too strong flavor. Even if it is grinded enough to make a burger patty, the unwavering essence is still there.
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So, how to get the gamey taste out of a deer burger? As I had faced the same problem while having it, I did adequate research on it. The techniques include from handling and processing the meat properly to cooking it by following some clever ideas.
Without further ado, let’s head towards the details.
What Causes Gamey Taste In Deer Burger
Before unravelling the ways of removing the gamey taste out of deer burger, I would like to discuss what makes the meat gamey. If you know the reasons, it would be easier for you to understand and get the wild flavor out of the meat.
Basically, the strong flavor of venison is caused by the eating habits of the deer. They live on a variety of wild foods like browse, grass, herbs, mushrooms, etc.
Apart from that, it depends on some other factors too. Poor processing, late field dressing, improper butchering, misguided cooking, etc. can cause gaminess in the meat patties.
Walk through the vital whatfors below that make the ground venison taste gamey when it’s seasoned in a burger.
Wondering how is this relevant? Okay, let’s explore.
Unless you find a downed deer that cannot run after your shot, the adrenaline rush along with lactic acid will spoil the taste of the meat when the deer will try running.
Improper Shot Placement
Also, the shot should be perfect enough to ensure a quick kill. Firstly, it is highly desirable from an ethical point of view. Secondly, it also gives the deer a speedy death and maintains the quality of the meat. I personally recommend a heart shot or a lung shot.
Avoid aiming for the head, front shoulder, and stomach. Not only will they delay the death but also deteriorate the meat. Front shoulder shots will consume a significant amount of usable meat.
Also, try not to puncture the bladder. If an inaccurate shot hits the digestive system, the emission of biles, gastric fluids, entrails, and other hormones will turn the flesh flavor tainted by soaking into it.
Inadequate Blood Draining
This is to remind you that you should start the on-field dressing at once. Let the blood flow continue as long as possible. Inadequate blood draining can cause the meat to taste gamier. Also, cut off the scent glands immediately to get rid of the aroma.
Not Chilling the Carcass Rapidly
Don’t you think 38.5°C is too much to preserve any food? Yes, that’s a deer’s internal body temperature. If you leave the carcass in this condition for too long, no wonder the meat will be contaminated by the severe bacterial attack. Resultantly, it will taste gamey and spoiled.
Not Skinning the Deer
Planning to leave the hide for over 36 hours? It will do no good other than affecting the flavor. Try skinning the carcass as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. As deer usually pee all over their body, the strong smell will be diffused into the meat. Unless you want a urine-flavored deer burger, get rid of the skin quickly.
Ignoring the Ageing Process
Trust me, aged meat tastes better in every way, not too aged though. After processing properly, you can store it in the refrigerator for cooling down. This process lets the natural enzymes flow through the muscles to break them down.
Also, it lets the residual blood be drawn out of the meat. So, if you try cooking the meat after storing it for 3-14 days, the strong flavor will be gone. Otherwise, the terrible texture with extreme gaminess might disappoint you. I prefer my meat to be aged at least for seven days.
How to Get The Gamey Taste Out of Deer Burger
Now it’s time to uncover the tricks which I follow while preparing the meat for a deer burger. Whether you hunt it all by yourself or purchase the meat from the market, there are some certain steps in making a tasteful burger patty.
Concentrate on the preparation, marination, and cooking method for better results to get rid of the gamey taste out of the deer burger.
Like any other regular meat, cleaning is very important for deer meat too. Cut it into the shape you want and use a spacious bowl to clean them properly. Then comes the soaking step for which you can use several liquids.
Among them are lemon juice, buttermilk, regular milk, wine, vinegar, a mixture of salt and water, fruit juice, soya sauce, etc. Soaking the meat overnight before storing it will notably decrease the chance of tasting it gamey.
Also, remember to remove the hide and fat fast as deer fat is not as tasty as beef fat and it will only make any recipe a failure.
Storing in the Freeze
As I already mentioned, you should refrigerate the meat for one or two weeks. This will lessen the toughness and gaminess. To avoid freezer burn, do not store lots of meat together. Make your time to store them separately dividing them into smaller amounts.
However, use plastic bags or any sealed bags to store them. Please remember that there should not be any air in the packet. You can store the meat for up to one year in the freeze.
For any venison recipe, be it a burger or something else, marinating the meat for at least three hours is a must. Or else all your effort will go in vain and the food will taste anything but flavory.
But I choose overnight marination to make full-flavored burger patties. Trust me, it pays me back by relatively reducing the rancid flavor. Use a plastic bag with a zipper or a bowl with a lid to marinate the meat. Of course, it should be kept in the refrigerator.
However, balsamic vinegar is a great marinade to cover up the strong gaminess of the meat. Or else, you can go for any liquid mentioned in the soaking part. Add garlic, herbs, spices, etc. to the marinade to add some extra flavor.
Never forget to add some olive oil to the ground meat while cooking. When you are browning it for a burger, make sure you add some garlic, onion, mushroom, bell pepper, etc.
On one hand, the extra spices will make the dish delish. On the other hand, adding oil will considerably collaborate to eradicate the foul taste.
Avoid Over Cooking
Cooking is, for sure, a prominent part of deer meat. If you want to cook out the upsetting flavor, you need to go slow. Long cooking will eventually take the gamey taste out. But do not overcook the meat.
If the deer was killed quickly and processed perfectly, cooking as normal beef would do. As you are frying the burger patties to brown, quick frying is preferable. Otherwise, the meat will be too dry.
Cook in the Proper Temperature
Temperature is the most important consideration when cooking deer meat. Try to maintain it as 60-65°C for the entire cooking process. On the Fahrenheit scale, it is 140-150F.
I personally use a meat thermometer for measuring the accurate temperature. And I find it the most convenient way to maintain the exact tenderness for a deer burger.
A Few Exclusive Cooking Tips for Deer Burger Without Gamey Taste
In this section, I would like to add some exclusive cooking tips to make your deer burger without a gamey taste. I have tried them when preparing the patties and they just did wonders. Hopefully, they will work for you too. Let’s have a look below-
- Use freshly made patties instead of frozen ones.
- To make the burger sticky and to let it hold together you must take all the liquid out of the meat before cooking it. Use paper towels for this.
- Up for a juicy deer burger? Then think of adding some beef or pork to your grind venison. Not only will the taste increase but also the fetid flavor will be gone.
- Season both the inside and outside of the burger for better taste.
- Try adding your favorite seasonings with the grind deer meat. To make some delicious burger patties, I add bacon, onion, garlic, mushroom, etc. as seasonings. These magically make the off-putting flavor less obvious.
- Minced meat or cubed meat is the best to make burger patties. Because they are swiftly spread through the seasonings. Consequently, the strong-smelling flavor is masked by the seasonings.
- Do not marinate the meat for over 24 hours. Then the marination will overpower the overall taste making it weird.
What Does It Mean When Deer Meat Tastes Gamey
The gamey flavor refers to a strong and wild flavor in a wild animal’s meat. As deer is not a firm-raised animal, it will differ in taste. But that does not necessarily mean that gaminess is bad. It is just not like the usual taste we get in regular meats.
However, some people mistake gaminess for rotten meat which is not true at all. Being much leaner than regular farm-raised animals like cows, deer meats are intensified with an unusual tainted flavor.
As they live a free life in the wild and live on finding their own food, deer meat offers a mysterious essence that is neither salty nor sweet. The extract is too small to ignore and that’s what affects the taste. But those who are used to it are perfectly okay with it.
Any wild animal like deer has a faster heart rate causing a much more intense blood rush while butchering it. This ultimately leads to the gaminess in the flesh.
As there are some clever schemes to remove this gaminess, stop worrying and follow them accordingly to help yourself with your favorite deer burger. Just be sure that gaminess is just an exception in taste, not a negative condition of the meat.
How Do You Know If Deer Meat Is Gamey
Have you gone through the whole article? Then you already know the answer. Look for the probable causes of making deer meat gamey. If you hunt it yourself, you must know if the processing was good or not.
If not then the meat will be rotten quickly which will smell strong. So, you will learn immediately that they will taste terribly tainted once cooked.
But what if the meat is frozen? Then you can start to thaw. From the touch, you can feel the difference. The texture should always be smooth if not gone bad. Notice the color carefully. It should be red. If the meat is brown, it is a bad sign.
I think the most intelligent way to look for deer meat without gaminess is to investigate whether it was butchered and field dressed properly or not. That makes a huge difference to avoid distasteful deer meat.
Any recipe with deer meat needs special preparation as the meat will taste stronger otherwise. As for a deer burger, it needs even more attention to make it juicy, soft, and savory simultaneously. Besides, it must not taste gamey.
I have pointed out all the methods on how to get the gamey taste out of a deer burger based on both my experiences and experiments. Having said that, all the hacks if followed accordingly will make the venison burger taste better than ever. Of course, the cooking method is not the only concern. You should focus on the processing as well.
I hope you have got a clear view of making a deer burger by masking the gaminess of deer meat. Keep trying at home and it will be perfect only over the practice.