Venison, grilled chop
Thomas Barwick/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Venison usually refers to deer meat, but it can also mean meat from any large game animal, including elk, moose, caribou, and antelope. This meat may be a little hard to find if you don't do your own hunting, but there are plenty of places to buy wild game meat online or through specialty markets. 

Because it is so much lower in fat and cholesterol, it has become a favorite of health-conscious individuals, including those on restrictive diets.

Why Venison Is Healthy

Venison is not only low in fat and cholesterol, but high in vital nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and phosphorus. Like any non-farm produced animal, Venison is resistant to disease and does not live on a diet of antibiotics and steroids. Many people stay away because they believe the flavor is too strong, but venison actually has a wonderful woody, almost fruity flavor that is truly fantastic.

Don't compare it to beef, because there is no comparison in flavor, though the texture is similar. One word of warning, though, If you are prone to gout, you should eat venison in moderation because it contains purines that can cause gout flare-ups.

How to Prepare Venison

While you can marinate and season venison, it doesn't need much in the way of extra flavor. Since venison is so low in fat, it's recommended that you marinate it in an oil-based marinade to give it extra moisture before cooking.


Venison is quite lean, so avoid overcooking it or you'll have a dried out piece of meat. The grill is the perfect place to cook venison because of the high, intense heat that allows for quick cooking times. Because of the low-fat content, venison can stick to your grill so brush it lightly with oil before it hits the hot cooking surface. Venison does not need to be cooked to the same high temperatures as beef and should only be cooked to about 145 degrees F.

This type of meat is great in hamburgers, but you need to watch the cooking time. While most people haven't seen a medium-rare burger in decades, it is important not to overcook ground venison or you'll end up with a crunchy char-burger.


Low and slow smoking works perfectly with venison, but you need to compensate for the lack of fat. This is typically done by seasoning the venison roast and then wrapping it in bacon. The bacon will maintain the moisture of the meat while it smokes. Make sure there are spaces between the bacon to let the smoke reach the meat. Venison also makes great jerky.