There are many different ways to describe the flavor of meat. It can be smokey, spicy, bland, or maybe you have even heard it described as “gamey.” But what does gamey even mean when it comes to meat? Is it the taste of it? The texture? Read on to find out more about this term and how it relates to your meat.
What Does Gamey Even Mean?
Gamey tends to be related to wild-caught game animals or unconventional meats, like deer, buffalo, or elk. These meats’ flavor is slightly more tangy and pronounced. Than the meat that comes from farms, such as beef, chicken, or pork.
Farm-raised animals tend to be higher in fat content. Since they are fed a steady diet and are raised with the specific goal of being eaten.
Wild animals that are hunted are leaner, and as a result, their meat tastes a little bit different. Hence the “gamey” flavor. Many people enjoy this flavor. But there are also many people that are put off by this tangy flavor. Since it is so different than the typical meats we consume.
Sometimes people will use the word “gamey” to describe meat that has begun to go bad as well. It starts to develop a sour, tainted smell when it goes bad and is referred to as “gamey.” However, the more common usage is to describe the flavor of the meat that is caught in the wild.
Is Gamey a Texture or Flavor?
It is a little bit of both, though most people use it to refer to the meat’s flavor. It is usually used in reference to animals that we don’t typically buy from the grocery store.
Animals like elk, buffalo, and deer are often referred to as gamey. These animals are hunted in the wild and are usually more lean, resulting in a higher protein content, which changes the flavor of the meat.
Most people are accustomed to buying their meat at the grocery store. Pork, beef, and chicken come from farms and have a higher fat content, so the meat texture is different from the protein-rich texture of wild-caught meat. Therefore, gamey also refers to the texture of the meat with higher protein and less fat.
That being said, gamey is also used to describe the flavor of the meat. Since the meat is higher in protein than fat, it tastes different than the grocery store meats.
Some people say it has a tangy taste and has overall a more pungent, “meat” taste. There is no one flavor to describe it as though. It is something you have to eat for yourself!
What Does it Mean When Meat is Gamey?
All it means is that you are eating a piece of meat that was likely hunted or isn’t your typical “grocery store” meat (chicken, beef, pork). It means the meat you are eating was probably caught in the wild and then cooked up, or it is just meat that you are not used to eating, like buffalo or elk. It can also refer simply to the wild animals that we eat.
Is it Safe to Eat Gamey Meat?
Absolutely. However, you need to be sure you are cooking it thoroughly and to the correct temperature with any meat out there.
Use a meat thermometer to be sure of this, and it will be perfectly safe to consume it. It is recommended to cook it to ensure all bacteria and parasites are cooked out before freezing it and not to rely on freezing the meat to make it safe for consumption.
If you are hunting, just double-check that the animal wasn’t sick. You want to avoid consuming an infected animal, especially if you are unsure what it was sick, to begin with and whether or not that bacteria will cookout.
If you are hunting in an area where certain animal diseases are known to be prevalent, have the meat tested before you eat it. Furthermore, you need to cook it thoroughly before you freeze it to ensure proper safety when eating it. Other than that, you are good to go!
What Does Gamey Meat Taste Like?
If you’ve never eaten gamey meat, you’ll likely notice more earthy flavor than other types of meats. This user on Reddit describes it like a campfire, nuts, and mushrooms combined. Some people even say that it almost tastes like liver, but not quite.
Is it Possible to Get The Gamey Taste Out of Meat?
While you can’t remove the taste entirely, but according to the Bradley Smoker website. It is possible to reduce the meaty flavor of meat and disguise it, so it isn’t so obvious. Most people will make a marinade to soak the meat in or create a rub for the outside of the meat before cooking it.
You can use very similar cooking methods for gamey meat you would use for the regular chicken and beef you get from the grocery store.
To reduce the gamey flavor, you can soak the meat in buttermilk before cooking it. Doing this pulls some of the blood out of the meat, which reduces the gamey flavor.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can also use vinegar mixed with milk and create your own buttermilk soaking solution. It will work the same as store-bought buttermilk.
You can also disguise the meat, so the gamey flavor isn’t so pungent. You can do this by soaking the meat in a marinade for at least thirty minutes before cooking.
This will help the meat soak in different flavors, so those stand out more than the gamey taste. You can also use spices and herbs like garlic, salt, and pepper to help cover up the gamey-ness. Adding things like bacon, onions, and mushrooms will also help add other flavors that will not only complement the gamey flavor but will also help cover it up, leaving you with a delicious piece of meat!
Gamey-tasting meat mostly occurs in wild-caught meats that were hunted and ready to be eaten right after. It results from the animal being leaner and not having as much fat as farm-raised animals that we eat.
While you can’t make them not taste gamey, you can cook them in specific ways to complement the flavor or hide it to make it more palatable for you and your guests.