Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions:

I like a strong taste, will farmed venison be tasteless?

Most of our customers prefer our natural venison flavor, however, you may marinate the meat. The stronger the marinade and the longer you leave it, the stronger the flavor. So farmed venison can be made very strong if you like that.

How long is your venison aged?

Four to seven days in a cooler. This gives a really good flavor of venison without the gamey taste.

Is it expensive?

Not when you consider how lean it is. Venison only has about 5% fat, often less. Beef has around 20% and lamb even more, especially the shoulder. This means less shrinkage, so by the time you serve your venison, the actual meat costs about the same as milk fed veal, US prime beef or the better forms of seafood. Also, it is properly aged. This is an expensive process as there is shrinkage, but it produces a superior product that tastes better! A third reason is that we are not artificially forcing our animals to over-produce. Deer don’t grow in winter, but we still have to feed them, and we don’t use growth promoters. In other words, we grow the animals naturally which is not the cheapest way to produce meat, but eat it with a clear conscience.

Venison is awfully dry, isn't it?

Not if you cook it right. But it is very lean so it needs different treatment. There are details in our hints for preparation.

Venison, it's strong and tough, isn't it?

Not farmed venison. It’s young, so you don’t need to age it so long to make it tender. As for tenderness, farmed venison is even more tender than beef, e.g. our Denver steaks are more tender than beef sirloin steak.

What about TB in deer? Can we still eat venison?

There has never been a recorded case of humans contracting TB from meat. It is normally transmitted by drinking affected milk, or by having very close contact with affected animals. So it is quite safe to eat. TB is an animal health issue and our meat is inspected and our producer’s farms are carefully monitored and controlled for all hoofstock diseases.

What does it taste like?

Venison is velvety in texture, tender, and has no wild or gamey taste.

Will farm venison taste different because of its diet?

Not necessarily. Our deer are fed on pretty natural stuff-grass, grain, hay, potatoes, carrots, etc. The slaughtering, aging and cooking of meat changes the taste much more. Tasting panels couldn’t tell the difference between farmed and wild venison when the age and treatment of the carcass was the same.

Health Questions:

Is Venison healthier than other meats?

From a health standpoint, it’s better for you than most other meats and poultry. Although it is red meat, it has about the same calories, fat and cholesterol and protein as salmon and falls well below the American Heart Association Guidelines for fat, cholesterol and calories.

Preparation & Cooking:

Can you microwave it?

No, not even to thaw it. We suggest thawing venison slowly, in the refrigerator to retain the flavor and freshness. The result is you won’t be able to tell fresh from frozen.

Do I have to marinate venison?

Not at all. It isn’t necessary because farmed venison is young and tender already. But marinating alters the taste, so if you like a more powerful taste, by all means do.

How much do I need?

6-8 oz. when off the bone, 8-12 oz. when the bone is included (i.e. saddle and shoulder 12 oz; leg 8-10 oz) When serving for very large numbers (over 20), you can drop the amount of boned meat to 5 oz. Obviously the style of meal and age of eaters will influence the amount.

How should Venison be prepared?

Venison is a lean meat without noticeable marbling but all fat should be trimmed off as it is the fat that can have a strong taste. Because Venison is so lean, it is best when cooked quickly, over high heat. Venison is normally served rare and never well-done. Venison has a rich flavor which can be accentuated with fruit or berry sauces for variety. The modern approach to raising Venison produces a delightfully tender meat. If you are not familiar with preparing farm raised Venison, follow these helpful hints: *Venison has very little fat and there is no shrinkage. *DO NOT OVERCOOK: this will dry out the meat. *Preheat the oven, skillet, grill or barbecue before cooking. *Cook it quickly at a high heat to prevent drying out. *Brush with oil before pan-frying or grilling so it will retain its natural juices (avoid salt for the same reason). *Serve on pre-heated platter and plates to retain heat and high quality.

I cannot use fat, how should I cook it?

For steaks, brush with oil and grill, or use oil and a non-stick frying pan, leaving the meat slightly pink. For roasts, brown in oil, then use the fast cooking method. If you can’t use oil, press some herbs and spices onto the meat and grill to brown before roasting, for extra flavor. You can also grill the meat using a piece of lettuce to cover the top of the meat while it is cooking to retain the moisture.

What is the best way to cook it?

There are as many ways of cooking venison as there are beef. We have preparation hints and recipes available on our web site, or if you are looking for a specific recipe, please send us an email and we’ll see what we can find to accommodate your needs.

You have to cook it for a long time, don't you?

No, obviously any stew takes longer than any steak, but farm raised venison needs no longer than beef. It is best served rare or medium rare.

Types of Venison Cuts:

What is the best cut?

Saddle cuts are the most tender but legs are also very tender.

What is the best roasting cut?

For rare or medium rare venison, the leg or saddle are best. The shoulder has a little sinew in it which melts away during slow cooking, so it is ideal for well done or pot roast.

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Contact Info

Highbourne Deer Farms
7146 Highbourne Lane
Dallastown, PA 17313

717.428.2774

For large orders, please contact us to assure product is available.

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