Everything You Need To Know About Venison

Are you looking for a healthier alternative to beef without sacrificing flavor? Venison may be just the ticket to change up your menu, as Good Housekeeping states that venison contains only 1/3 of the fat found in beef and has less calories than chicken, and is "richer in protein than any other red meat," which they share is "important for muscle growth and repair, hormone production, brain function, and sleep."

Venison is usually associated with deer meat, but can actually be sourced from any large game animal, like elk, antelope, caribou, and boar, according to The Spruce Eats. The meat, no longer just a winter staple for hunters, is gaining popularity on American tables due to an increase in commercial ranching. What's more, pasture-raised venison doesn't have the same gamey flavor as that of wild deer, giving it a widespread appeal. Venison can be sourced fairly easily online or at specialty markets, says The Spruce Eats, and can be stored the in the same way you would other meat.

Venison is a healthy alternative to red meat

But whether it's wild or raised on a farm, The Guardian says venison is an excellent choice of meat that shouldn't be overly gamey tasting. It's also high in vitamins B2 (aka riboflavin) and B3 (or niacin), which are good for your metabolism, and vitamins B12 and B6, helping to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

When preparing venison, it should be handled differently than beef, calling for less cooking time to avoid becoming tough. The Spruce Eats says venison can be used instead of beef in recipes like roasts, hamburgers, jerky, stew, or simply cooked on the grill. In an article for Southern Living, cookbook author Stacy Pilgreen-Harris notes that venison is also a great choice in fajitas and sandwiches, or eaten as steak. The writer suggests utilizing dry-rubs or marinades, optimizing the meat by cooking it appropriately to really play up the flavor.

While healthier venison can be substituted for beef in many favorite recipes, its unique flavor lends itself to exploring dishes that showcase what makes it special and different.