Food preservation

How to Tell if Venison is Bad

Have you ever tried any game meat? If not, you should eat venison to start you off. It has an earthy taste and retains less water than other types of meat like beef. 

The first time I ate venison, it was roasted. I love meat, and as usual, I was willing to try deer meat. The only type of game meat I had eaten up to that moment was crocodile meat. 

I expected venison to be so sweet. I have always imagined it to be so. I was not entirely disappointed. It is smooth, earthy, and a bit firmer than beef. 


I have cooked venison in my home several times since that day. I bought it and stored it for four days in the fridge.

On cooking, I realized that it may have gone bad. That got me wondering. How do I know if venison has gone bad?

Fresh venison is red and juicy. The color, however, changes when it has spoiled and turns into dark brown. If it has gone bad wholly, it can change to green. It is also more tender than usual when spoiled, and it stinks. 

Also, Read on: How to Tell If Salmon Is Bad. HERE

What is Venison

Venison is deer meat. It is bright red and succulent with an earthy taste. This taste results from all the grass and leaves the antelope eats. 

Deer meat is a delicacy in most parts of the world. Texas, for example, is home to numerous white-tailed deers. 

Hunting is an activity that some people enjoy. Some do it for food, others as a sport, while others hunt to regulate the number of deers in an ecosystem. Hunting deer yields deer meat despite the reason people do it. 

Unlike beef and pork, venison has low-fat content. Deers lead an active life. They are constantly moving from one place to another for food and water. They are also continually running away from predators. 

As a result, they burn a lot of fat calories. People mostly zero-graze cows and pigs, thus accumulating lots of fats. So, we may argue that venison is healthier than either beef or pork. 

Has Your Venison Spoiled?


You can use various methods to detect if your venison is bad. Eating spoiled deer meat can be detrimental to your health. 

Many people ask this question; how do I tell if venison is bad? It is such a common question because deer meat is highly delicate. 

After hunting and killing the deer, you need to let it bleed out completely. Any surplus blood will make the meat spoil faster. Again, it would help if you did not leave it in the open for long, or the temperature would cause it to rot.

So, it would be best if you did not let your venison stay out in the open for six hours before cooking or freezing it. After that, it will start spoiling. 

How then do you tell whether your venison is going bad? By using your senses. Smell, touch, sight, and by timing it. Read on to know how you can tell if venison is spoiled. 

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1. The Smell


Fresh venison has the smell of iron due to the blood and a gamy odor. It smells like a combination of earthiness and minerals. 

Spoilt venison, on the other hand, has a terrible odor. It has a sour and pungent smell.

Frozen venison might not have a smell even when it is spoiled. You will, however, smell it as soon as it starts thawing. 

Smelling your venison is the best way to tell if it is rotten. If it has the slightest odor of sewage, it is spoiled.

2. The Texture


Another way of telling if your venison is spoiled is how it feels when you touch it—fresh deer meat is soft but firm. 

Supposing you try to have a feel of your venison and it feels slimy and wet, it is most probably rotten. The texture should be damp but not wet. 

Completely rotten deer meat will be extremely slimy. You will feel like you are touching mucus.

You cannot miss this feel unless the meat has been frozen. This is another reason you should let the meat thaw before cooking it. 

3. The Color


The color of your venison is another obvious sign of whether it is rotten. Deer meat is bright red when fresh; when it starts to go wrong, the color changes to dark brown. 

When it is in its final stages of rotting, the meat has some green and purple pigments. These colors are so obvious, so you cannot miss them. 

You can, however, easily mistake the red and brownish colors if you are not careful. So, if you are not sure what color the meat is, check for the other signs to prove your point.

4. Timing


Timing is everything with venison. If you leave deer meat in the open for long, it will go bad quickly. 

After the kill, you should give the meat about six hours to hang. It will be enough time to drain all the blood from the carcass. Blood is a good breeding ground for bacteria. If you do not drain it well, bacteria will make the meat spoil fast. 

Leaving the meat out for long when the temperatures are high will make it go bad fast. That is why you should either cook it or store it. 

If venison has stayed without being frozen or refrigerated for a long time, it is likely to be bad. It is, therefore, crucial to check the time of the hunt and the time you are cooking it to determine if it is still good to consume.  

How to Cook Venison

Venison is like any other red meat. So, you can cook it in all the ways you can cook beef. You can roast, boil, fry, bake, or grill it. 

You should be aware of a few alterations when cooking venison. As we have learned, it has less fat than other types of meat. Due to this, you should be wary of the following conditions. These conditions are;

● It would be best to oil the steak and not the cooking pan. Due to the low fats, smearing venison with oil before grilling or frying will prevent it from burning. 

● Ensure your venison is at room temperature before you cook it. 

● Do not cook venison under high temperatures. It has low amounts of fat, and if you cook it at the same temperature as beef or pork, it might burn. Worse, it will cook unevenly. 

● When roasting it, smear the meat with salt before the oil. This process will yield delicious and crispy roasted venison. 

Store your Venison for Longer


If you are not cooking venison immediately, you can refrigerate it or freeze it. The form of preservation you choose will depend on how long you wish to store the meat. 

When refrigerated, venison will take around three days before it goes bad. So, if you want to keep the meat for a day or two before you cook it, you can refrigerate it. Venison is delicate, and you should store it in the coldest part of the fridge. 

Supposing you are planning on storing venison for a longer time, freeze it. Frozen deer meat can stay viable for up to two years. Ensure you allow the meat to thaw before cooking after freezing. 

Also, Check Out: Does Fish Sauce Go Bad?

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Can eating spoiled venison make you ill?

Yes, it will. Eating rotten venison will have the same effects as eating any other rotten meat. You should throw it away if you realize it is spoiled. 

 2. How long does venison last in the fridge before it goes wrong?

Depending on the condition of the fridge and where you have placed it, venison will be consumable for two to three days. After that, people consider it not safe to eat.

3. How do you tell if deer meat is safe to eat?

Look at the color of the meat. Good deer meat should have a bright red color. It should also have a gamey and earthy smell and be soft when you touch it.  

Bottom Line


To know whether your venison is good or bad is a simple thing. You need to use your senses. Smell the venison, touch it, be aware of the kill time, and look for a color change. 

It is unhealthy to eat spoiled deer meat. If you realize that the meat is spoiled, throw it away. It is not worth risking your health for a piece of meat. 

It is crucial to know how to prevent your venison from going bad. I have discussed how you can do that above and tell if venison is rotten. 

You no longer have to wonder if your venison is safe for consumption. After reading this article, I am confident you now know how to tell. Be safe. 

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