Great Tasting Venison: Science Proves What’s Best

Most deer hunters think that older, bigger deer are tougher to eat than younger, smaller ones, and that some cuts of deer make better steaks than others. But most of us don’t know exactly why it’s true.

Deer & Deer Hunting

Venison is one of the healthiest sources of protein available, but there can be differences in its taste and tenderness. (photo copyright

By Dr. Phillip Bishop

A Polish study, in a very scientific manner, tested what most of us believe. Eight female deer were tested. Four of them were 6 months old, and four were 4 years old. Meat samples were taken from the surface of the ham (biceps femoris), deeper in the ham (semimembranosus) and backstraps (longissimus). The samples were rated based on values for chewiness, hardness, viscousity and elasticity.

The meat from the surface of the ham had the highest values for each category, plus the biggest muscle fibers and muscle fiber coverings.  The inner ham was second, using these same characteristics. The backstraps had the lowest values.

Thus, the backstraps had better characteristics than the other two cuts, regardless of deer age. However, the meat from the younger deer did have better food characteristics than the meat from the older deer. The older deer had bigger muscle fibers and muscle fiber coverings, but a lower percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers than the younger deer. Consequently, the younger deer were indeed more tender than the older deer.

So, science has painstakingly shown what we knew all along.



Venison Wisdom Cookbook Check out the Venison Wisdom Cookbook and try any of its 200 easy-to-make recipes for flavorful meals with venison, the world’s healthiest red meat.

Recipes use practical ingredients, so you won’t be making special trips to the store for items you don’t have or will never use again! Plus, these recipes take you beyond trying to “disguise” your venison in taco shells and sloppy joes!

A special section highlights celebrity recipes, including some from Ted Nugent, Mark Drury, Jim and Ann Casada, Charlie Alsheimer and more.

With bonus venison care tips from Deer & Deer Hunting Editor Daniel E. Schmidt, this entertaining book is more than a collection of recipes — it’s a fun read too!