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I have fond memories of deer hunting with my uncle when I was younger... not only for the thrill of the hunt (as I'm sure most do), but also for the spoils: venison. Apparently, I was the only one of the kids who enjoyed the meat (I guess I have weird tastes?). It wasn't until recently that I identified the specific taste that I enjoyed: gaminess.

Anyway, it's incredibly difficult to buy venison where I live, and the prices on the net are unacceptable. So, that leaves me looking for a flavoring I can simply add to what I eat. Unfortunately, this has not been easy.

I have seen "liquid smoke" before (which I was told tastes exactly like how it's described), but nothing close to this.

Where can I find a "liquid game" or a similar sauce? Can I reproduce this flavor with other spices?

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    Your question is very interesting. I have never heard of "gaminess" before! – James Slagel Feb 22 '11 at 2:15
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    Can you get other types of gamey meat? Kangaroo, buffalo, moose, emu, ostrich, pheasant, even some types of duck? This, with the right sauce, might give you the richness you are after. – KimbaF Feb 22 '11 at 8:52
  • I would see if you can get your hands on blood, and use some of the offal from various animals to get some of that barn yard in your food. Liquid smoke definitely won't help anything though. – Brendan Apr 12 '13 at 1:53
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From a cooking perspective any imitation sauce or marinade is never going to deliver the quality that venison has to deliver. We have a massive deer farm close and the price is still ridiculous . My suggestion is that you find a good butcher that will age beef for you on the bone ,or you could age it yourself if you have a climate control area to keep it at the correct temperature. Anything over 30 days on the bone will start to give you the gaming flavour you are craving. Nothing is going to match deer, but aged beef or really any type of cattle (eg buffalo etc) will give you the gaminess if it is aged. Restaurants are getting up to 180 days, which I could only imagine would melt in your mouth but the flavour would be intense.

  • Totally agree on aging. It's worth pointing out, too, that if you're going to make that investment in aging beef, you might as well start with a beast that's been grass-fed. – Robin Betts Mar 28 '18 at 22:35
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As a deer hunter myself, my most favorite part of the experience is the butchering. I enjoy having a knife in my hand and breaking down the big quarters into smaller roasts, chops, etc.

This is where I purposely cut out the gaminess. Gaminess comes from the fat. Venison is very lean, however, it does have some fat, especially in the rib section. Most people avoid the ribs precisely for this reason, too gamey. Yes, you can go in and cut around the fat, but it's just too meticulous. Cut out the fat, and you cut out the gaminess.

Hence, if you want to add gaminess, add venison fat, not beef fat. Beef fat will just make it taste better. To make it taste "wild", add "wild" fat.

Same for other wild critters, remove the fat, and you remove the gaminess. Keep the fat, and you keep that elusive "wild" flavor that you are after.

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Beef can make a fairly acceptable venison substitute if you marinate it the same way you would venison. For example, juniper berries are a flavor I associate with venison marinade, so using them on beef gets me that "almost there" taste. It's never quite the same, though; sorry.

  • This is a good idea, although the venison I've had is rarely marinated in a unique sauce. Unseasoned venison jerky seems to have the most distinct flavor. – JJ Caldwell Feb 22 '11 at 7:03
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I also find it is nearly impossible to find venison. If you can find someone who hunts you may be able to buy some off them, I finally was able to find someone after asking some co-workers. Trying other gamey meats like bison or boar, depending on your local availablity may help but they really don't compare to venison.

Have you tried liver? it has a metalic taste which is vaguely similar and delicious.

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    Agreed on finding a hunter -- most of 'em would love to have someone take the meat off their hands, as it means they get to hunt more. (at least, the responsible ones who aren't willing to waste meat, so will only hunt if someone's willing to use the meat from it or there's a major reason to thin the population) – Joe Feb 22 '11 at 20:05
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    I would second the comment on liver. A gamey taste is generally associated with darker meats. Rabbit is a good alternative as a meat, but if you're struggling to find different types of 'game', then offal (i.e. liver, kidneys etc) is a good way to go – Matt Taylor Dec 24 '14 at 12:18
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The easy way without marination is to use a leg of lamb and lace it with bacon. Stick a medium wide knife blade through the meat and thread a rasher of bacon all the way through the cut. Repeat this 4 or 5 times or more for larger legs. Roast it in the normal manner surrounded by onions and peeled potatoes and peeled pumpkin. Sprinkle the meat with mixed herbs. The flavour of the lamb will be close to venison. Adrian

  • Would you have any pictures of how this looks prior to cooking? – Mick Walker Dec 2 '16 at 9:02
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I basically agree with Burdon on Society's answer; aging is really important. But among the less specially raised and hung meats you might want to look out for hogget, mutton, or goat.

You might also check out the gamiest-tasting cut of beef: the Onglet, or Hanger Steak. It takes very well to marination, and yields a very flavorsome, open-textured meat when grilled or pan-fried.

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