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montcalm 05-17-2021 08:04 PM

Meat Flavor
Gonna try this here because I think hunters in general seem to understand this kind of thing...

I sometimes get a taste in beef that I could never quite describe. Maybe it's "gaminess", but I used to eat venison all the time, and I wouldn't describe it like that. I'd actually say the closest smell and taste I can think of is raw pumpkin, although in the most unpleasant sense.

I've noticed in all sorts of beef from home grown, grass fed to completely industrialized meats. It's not always there, but when it is, it is, and I don't care for it. Does anyone know what causes this?

Seems to be independent of preparation, but I can definitely taste it more on something like a burger that isn't in a sauce. From what I can come up with on reading, the way the meat is killed and prepped immediately after can affect these kind of tastes.

adkman12986 05-18-2021 06:39 AM

I think meat of any kind including game will have a taste of their own depending on the feed they get. Sometimes when western beef grasses get dried up they will graze on trees and other things.

Jwojcik1990 05-18-2021 09:51 AM

@adkman I thought the same thing at first too, but he seemed to indicate that it does not matter where it came from or what it was fed.

@Montcalm Could it possibly have something to do with ageing of the meat? I know steaks can start to get a taste like that with a dry age on them.

montcalm 05-18-2021 10:04 AM

Yeah... no obvious indicator it's feed. I've bought meat from the same farm, local, grass fed and sometimes it's there, sometimes not.

Actually I really love dry age steak and I can never taste anything weird about it. I've actually never tasted what I describe with those kind of meats. I only really notice it with ground beef.

I've also noticed I cannot smell any difference in the meat when it's raw. I can notice the smell when it's cooked and if I smell it, the taste will be there as well.

The only other thing I can say is that restaurants with really good meats I've never noticed it.

Ground lamb has a certain taste to it, and I don't love or hate it, but it might be a little bit similar to that. But every lamb I've eaten always tastes that way and it is stronger with ground lamb. Beef seems highly variable to me, at least from grocery store butchers.

Jwojcik1990 05-18-2021 10:25 AM

Isn't lamb known to be somewhat greasy? Perhaps its linked to the fat content in your beef?

montcalm 05-18-2021 11:43 AM

Seems to independent of fat content, with beef at least.

It might even be something to do with how it is ground, and perhaps how the meat is trimmed and prepped before grinding.

ILikeRocks 05-18-2021 12:01 PM

Have you noticed any correlation with cut of meat vs flavor? Does fat content correlate with the flavor?

montcalm 05-18-2021 12:12 PM


Originally Posted by ILikeRocks (Post 285862)
Have you noticed any correlation with cut of meat vs flavor? Does fat content correlate with the flavor?

I don't think I've ever tasted in Angus beef. Always ground beef and independent of fat content.

I actually don't think it's the fat taste at all because lean meat sometimes has it much stronger.

It's not packaging either. Had it both in fresh from the butcher counter and in vacuum packed meat. I know with the new vacuum packaging for chicken there's sometimes a really foul sulfur odor, so bad that I don't buy it anymore.

My nose is super sensitive though. I can literally smell the difference in grass fed ground beef vs corn/feed fed. Grass fed has a slightly off hay smell to my nose.

montcalm 05-18-2021 12:41 PM


Maybe it is a feed component. Might be allowable even in a grass fed diet.

nutmeg creeker 05-18-2021 02:38 PM

This may sound far out, but one's olfactory sense does have a certain "memory," especially for odors which are regarded by the perceiver as unpleasant or offensive. The response can be triggered by association with the original substance. Odors can "come back" inexplicably.

cutbait 05-19-2021 12:02 PM

For venison; preparation is very important. The gaminess in venison for the most part comes from the fat which does not taste mild as it does with beef. Cut as much fat off venison steak that you are preparing to limit this gaminess. Also and most important to consider first - field dress your deer as quickly as possible and cool it down. Some like to "age" their venison, however, most do not have the facilities to properly keep it at the constant proper temperature for aging at the proper length of time. So for most of us, getting the deer cut up quickly and packaged is better.

With beef or any other product, such as fish, that is processed commercially and stored: I think the temperature it is stored at is extremely important. If not frozen, there is definitely a shelf life for freshness and optimal healthy food, which is manifested in bad taste and smell when it is not so fresh or healthy.

mgc 05-19-2021 06:19 PM

Interesting discussion....
I love a good beef steak and enjoy a beef hamburger but I cannot stand the smell of beef hamburger cooking.
WRT deer meat...a few thoughts. We eat mostly wild game and venison is a big part of this. I butcher it myself and make sure that I trim off all of the fat. I also do not use a saw on anything. I am of the opinion that the marrow in the bones is as off putting as the fat. I believe that most folks who have tried venison and believe it to be gamy tasting have been fed deer that were not properly handled after being harvested. A properly cleaned and aged deer steak is normally a very mild tasting piece of meat. As has been noted, you must field dress right away and cool the deer quickly. If you do not have the luxury of a walk-in or a two door reefer to handle a deer in warm weather you can (and should) still allow the meat to sit for a few days before you package it. I typically break the deer down into it's largest bits and put those on ice for two or three days before I slice, trim and package it. The trick is to be sure that it stays dry while you rest it.
Raw deer has a very distinctive smell that is different than beef. I find that beef has less of a smell (to my nose) than deer.
After processing a deer I lose my desire to eat it....the smell from trimming/butchering etc. sort of overwhelms me. The next day, backstraps on the grill or in the cast iron skillet cooked in a bit of bacon grease...!
One final thing, if you overcook deer meat (any wild game) it seems to pull up gaminess. Cook it to medium rare or rare or braise it until tender. Nothing in between works for me. That is why I do not put pork in my grind. It's pure venison. If you use pork you need to cook the burgers longer to get the pork properly cooked.

montcalm 05-19-2021 06:22 PM

Cutbait - this is what I recall hearing about venison, but I never prepared anything myself. I knew enough hunters when I was younger I ended up eating a fair deal of it. It never really tasted much different to me, but I think I was less sensitive to those things then.

I'm pretty sure it's real. I can smell stuff out that other people, like my wife, cannot. Literally can find stinky stuff in the house by "following my nose".

I'm not sure this is a freshness issue either, but I guess it could be. It certainly doesn't smell or taste like decaying meat, which I definitely know and can sniff out. I wouldn't even say it's a "bad" taste. It's not a great taste to me but it seems no one else notices.

timberghost 05-19-2021 09:22 PM

Find out what the butcher / cleaning staff use for disinfecting the counters and implements and don't get the 'first' cuts after the morning or afternoon cleaning.

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