How To Tell If Venison Is Bad? (Explained)

how to tell if venison is bad
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how to tell if venison is bad

Venison is the meat of a game such as a deer or an elk. It is very lean and has a deep, ruby red color and distinctive, rich taste.

It comes in many different cuts, from ribs to haunch, shoulder roasts to sausages. It pairs very well with fruit and sweet sauces, red wine, and bitter herbs like rosemary.

You’re in for a treat if you have purchased or hunted some fresh venison. Provided it is cooked correctly and not allowed to become dry, venison yields a tasty, healthy meal.

You can use it for roasts or pies, casseroles, or barbeques.

Like any meat though, venison degrades with time due to multiple factors, including heat and bacteria. It is good to know how to tell whether your venison is fresh or not. 

In this short article, we will tell you about some simple ways for you to know if your venison has spoiled.

How To Tell If Venison Is Bad?

Should I Check the Length Of Time Between Deer Being Hunted And Serving?

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Many people are unaware that from the time the animal is hunted to the time it is served, venison, or any other meat for that matter, starts to spoil.

If you have hunted a deer, then you should immediately begin its dressing and storing after shooting it.

Don’t let the venison remain at room temperature for too long because the fats and protein present in the venison will begin to spoil.

After How Many Days Is Refrigerated Venison Consumable?

Refrigerated Venison
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Another key element behind the deterioration of venison is a prolonged period of refrigeration before freezing or consuming.

If you have stored the venison beyond 3 days in a refrigerator, it is not considered safe for consumption.

If you keep the venison in the refrigerator for a day or two, store it in the coldest section which is the bottom shelf towards the back. Make sure that it is well wrapped in plastic. Vacuum packing is best.

Can You Tell if It’s Spoiled by Its Smell?

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Always trust your senses to tell you if food has spoiled. If it smells bad, it probably is bad. Fresh venison has a fairly strong “gamey” smell but it is not unpleasant.

Some people say that bad venison gives off a “sewage-like” odor. The smell of bad meat becomes worse with cooking.

Does The Texture and Color of Venison Define Its Freshness?

fresh deer
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Yes. If you have ever cooked fresh venison, you will know what kind of texture and color it possesses. The color of the fresh venison is dark red, and if you touch it, it has a smooth feel.

When the venison has spoiled, the color will lean more towards brown and it may even have a greenish shade. A metallic sheen indicates spoilage too. The meat may feel slimy.

For ground/minced venison, a brownish color indicates spoilage. The mince should be deep red throughout the package.


As you can see from the above, making use of your senses of sight, smell, and touch will go a long way towards telling you if venison, or any meat for that matter, has spoiled or not.

If you are unsure, rather throw it away. Risking your health just isn’t worth saving a few dollars.

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