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What Does Gamey Taste Like? Everything You Need To Know

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Many people think that gamey meat has an addictive quality, mainly once you try it you’ll want to keep having gamey meat.

The diet that the animals consume is the primary cause of its distinctive flavor. Most of these animals like to eat wild grass and other natural foods.

What Does Gamey Taste Like? Everything You Need To Know

It imparts a different flavor from what we are accustomed to on their meat and muscles.

In nations including America, Australia, Russia, and several Asian nations, gamey meat is quite well-liked. You could easily substitute a steak recipe for gamey meat instead. 

In this article, we will be explaining what gamey tastes like and which meats are considered gamey. 

Gamey: What Does It Mean?

A fascinating adjective to describe flavors is “gamey.” If you’re eating game meat, it will smell more earthy than other types of meat.

You can immediately detect the smell because it is so distinct.

Gamey meat typically has a fragrance that is a combination of campfire, nuts, and earthy mushrooms. Certain individuals might find the smell a touch too overpowering. 

Examples of common gamey meats include:

  • Elk
  • Moose
  • Rabbit
  • Wild Duck
  • Pheasant
  • Geese
  • Bison

When compared to the muted flavors of farm animals, the flavors are typically stronger and more robust.

The strong flavors of wild animals aren’t suited for everyone, as it can be quite rare to come across really gamey meats in particular restaurants. 

What Makes Game Meat Gamey?

Game meat is not farm-raised. Rather, it’s sourced from animals that are common on hunting grounds.

Due to being free animals, they eat wild grass and different foods that are found in the wild. All of this affects their flavor to make them more gamey. 

Since the animals were never fed antibiotics or hormones in the wild, the game meat is extremely nutritious and free of both.

Flavor Of Gamey Meat

The flavor of gamey flesh is similar to that of rotting meat. For instance, when the meat has aged and hung, a certain amount of decomposition is allowed.

The enzymes cause the muscle fibers to break down, making the meat soft and flavorful.

Animals like hares, deer, grouse, and pheasants fall under the same category. However, compared to beef, the maturing process takes longer.

In simple terms, gamey meat resembles domestic animal organ meat quite a bit. Gamey meats have an overly strong meat flavor compared to regular meats.

Due to its substantial texture, some even claim that it has an acidic taste. The lipids in the flesh are what give it its gaminess.

Can You Make Gamey Meat Taste Less Gamey

The gamey flavor that certain meats have isn’t for everyone and there are ways in which you can reduce this. 

Skinning And Field Dressing

Right after the kill, the animal must be gutted and cooled as quickly as possible. This can help you to prevent the gamey flavor.

The taste of the meat will get gamier the longer you keep it out in the field. Enzymes inside the animal break down, and the hotter the temperature, the quicker this happens. 

Some hunters believe that hanging and bleeding a creature for a couple of hours after gutting is required.

If you shoot through the vitals, it will bleed out naturally, however, you should get rid of the blood if you see it still in the muscles.

The meat will taste gamey because of any blood that remains in the muscles.

Soaking The Meat

What Does Gamey Taste Like? Everything You Need To Know

To help reduce that gamey flavor, you can simply soak and even brine the meat. Although, you do need to be careful what you use to soak the meat with. 

A saltwater brine is a very popular choice. However, you must make sure that you wash the meat before you use it. Otherwise, you will have a very strong salty flavor. 

The meat may also be soaked in milk and put in the refrigerator for the night. This is particularly effective for organ meat from large game animals. 

A ready-made marinade is a popular option as well. There are several options on the market. These can also aid in the removal of the blood from the meat, leaving you with the tissue.

Remove Fat And Skin

The fat and skin on any game animal hold a lot of flavors. Therefore, if you want to reduce this flavor you should remove the skin and as much of the fat as possible before cooking. 

However, if you like the gamey flavor you could leave the skin on to enhance the gamey flavor. 

Cooking Gamey Meat

Cooking gamey meat is no different from cooking any other type of meat. 

You need to make sure that your game meat is at room temperature before you start cooking. This allows all the fibers in the meat to relax.

Otherwise, the meat could end up quite tough and unpleasant to consume. 

In addition to this, the last thing you want to do is overcook this meat.

Therefore, it is best to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. Once it reaches around 130 degrees Fahrenheit it is safe to eat. 

It is important that you clean and cook your gamey meat to the right temperature.

This is because the majority of gamey meats contain bacteria and other parasites which can cause illness in humans.

Thus, you need to ensure that the gamey meat is prepared but also cooked to the right internal temperature to get rid of all that bacteria.


Gamey meat is a very healthy kind of meat, which has a very rich and meatier flavor.

This kind of flavor can be quite overpowering for some people, thus it is not suitable for everyone.

However, if you do have some gamey meats to use there are ways to reduce the overpowering flavor to make it much more edible.

We hope you have enjoyed that article and know now a bit more about the flavor of gamey meat. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is Gamey Meat Healthy For You?

Due to its minimal fat and cholesterol content, gamey meat is among the healthiest meats on the market.

Additionally, the flesh is a healthy supply of omega-6 fatty acids, which makes it a fantastic source of fat.

Why Are Certain Meats Called Gamey?

The word “gamey” refers to meat that has a distinct flavor or aroma that is potentially stronger than the usual, bland flavors.

The term “gamey” is frequently used to refer to species that aren’t usually eaten such as mountain sheep, moose, and bear. As well as mutton or lamb, goat, and camel.

Which Meats Are Considered The Most Gamey?

A lot of gamey animals include deer, goats, and camels.

Yet, it’s interesting to note that among all of our domestic meat products, lamb is the one that is most frequently raised exclusively on grass.

It is thus seen as one of the most gamey meats out there.

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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