Questions and Answers on the Free Deer Hunting Tips Blog

By Marty Prokop

So many deer hunters in the community are sending in questions and comments.

I love them. Keep them coming.

Remember, all questions and comments are great. So don’t feel like a comment or question is “stupid” or “unimportant.”

You’re questions and comments are important, we want to hear them and your thoughts will help a lot of people in this deer hunting community.

So please send in comments and questions by posting at the blog at or emailing marty “at sign” Replace “at sign” with @. I write my email this way in the newsletter and web site so spamming software can’t read it. (It cuts down a bit on spam.)

Here is a great comment and question from Troy. Thank you, Troy, for taking the time to help us all with your excellent comments and question.

“Wow, this was a great one (newsletter about ribs) Marty. Shot my first deer this season, and had actually been wondering on this exact subject since I'm a 3rd generation Rib bbq'r and lover (beef & pork).

“My family (wife-4 kids) and I have been enjoying the steaks and stew's and chili with the roast meat. Next year though, not having ANY ground. That's all I have left is pounds and pounds of not very good tasting burger.

“I've been thinking about buying a jerky gun and using the rest of the ground for jerky sticks. I wonder if it’s for the same reason, the processor didn't clean it properly and just threw fat and all in when grinding?”

Troy, Native Californian now happily in Crawfordsville, IN and loving it.

Here are my answers….


Congratulations on harvesting your first deer. If you would like to share your hunting story and a photo of your deer, send it to me. I will place it on the Blog.

I am glad you found the tip on venison ribs helpful. In my experience I have found barbequed venison ribs can turn off even the most die-hard barbeque lovers. I am sorry to hear your ground venison does not taste good.

Here are three common causes of bad tasting ground venison…or venison that just doesn’t excite your spouse and kids.

I have not met a kid yet (barring a committed vegetarian) who doesn’t finish off a plate of ground venison when it is processed correctly. This includes even the pickiest of eaters. Often ground venison is the only meat parents could get them to eat.

I’ve processed over 7,807 deer, so I helped parents feed a lot of kids.

Hopefully these three deer processing tips will help you and your family.

I would be delighted to see your family really love the ground venison you provide for them. As a fellow deer hunter, I know and understand what it takes to provide good, natural food for loved ones.

Three Reasons Your Deer Meat Tastes Bad…And Two Great Solutions

Deer Meat Reason #1

When a deer is processed properly, with all the deer fat, bruised meat, glands, tendons and gristle removed, ground venison tastes great. (Yes, even from “swamp bucks.” If you don’t believe me, read on…)

If a deer processor did not remove venison fat, bruised meat, glands, tendons and gristle from your venison trimmings before the meat was ground, this will definitely produce bad tasting venison burger.

If the deer was cut bone-in, the fine bone-dust and bone marrow will be spread across the meat. This is tedious and time-consuming to remove. If bone-dust and bone marrow are left on the meat and it is ground, your ground venison will taste bad.

Meat from big bucks and swamp bucks must be very well cleaned. The actual meat tastes decent. This year I harvested a big swamp buck and it tasted better than doe meat. Here’s the secret.

The wild or swampy taste is in the bone marrow, fat, bruises from the harvest, glands, tendons and gristle.

Trimming all this excess from your deer meat takes more time. Very few processors take the extra time to remove it all before the meat is ground, because time is money in a meat shop.

You may consider processing your own deer. Many people are doing this, because they want their venison to taste better. They want to avoid the very real and common problem of a freezer full of pounds and pounds of not very good tasting venison burger. In just a few minutes, I’ll talk more about making this a viable option.

Dear Meat Reason #2

Your deer might taste bad because, at the meat shop, your meat may have been put in the grinder with deer meat from those who did not take care of their deer like you did. Very few meat shops keep the deer trimmings separate.

Most meat shops have big mixer/grinders that can grind and mix 300 pounds of meat and more per batch.

Again, in most meat shops, time is money. So they can really save time by mixing 20 people’s venison at once rather than doing 20 separate batches.

Deer Meat Reason #3

And, even if they did keep your meat separate, your meat would have been ground with a grinder that was used all day.

So if the meat before yours was bad, remnants of that bad meat could have still been in the grinder when yours was put in. Bacteria could have been ground into your good meat and may explain why it now tastes bad.

Two Great Solutions

Great Tasting Venison Solution #1

If you want someone else to process your next deer, have the processor NOT grind your trimmings. Have them package your trimmings and give them back to you.

When you get your deer meat home take a look at how clean the trimmings are.

Remove as much of the fat, bruised meat, glands, tendons and gristle as you can. Keep cleaning until the venison trimmings are clean like beef stew meat.

Once the meat is trimmed correctly then grind some into burger. You can use a food processor or pick up a home grinder. The burger will taste great.

Great Tasting Venison Solution #2

If you want to make sure your venison always tastes great, and your venison is from your deer then learn to process your own deer. The reason I learned to process my own deer is because, years ago, I had a problem with the taste of my first deer like you are having with yours.

Since then, I’ve processed over 7,807 deer producing great tasting meat and burger, been to outdoor stores to give “How to Process Your Deer” seminars and have taught many, many people how to process deer successfully, mostly non-meatcutters.

There is just something so rewarding about processing your own deer.

Now, I used to make my living processing thousands of deer for deer hunters. If you choose to continue to have someone else process your deer, I totally understand. Just make sure to see solution #1 above.

Plus, processing your own deer is not for everyone. It’s really for those who want the experience and pride of providing for their families with their own abilities from field to table.

It is also for the people who want to make sure their deer stays their deer. After all, you have spent money to go deer hunting.

When your family can’t or doesn’t want to eat what you have brought home, it produces a “this wasn’t such a good idea” feeling in the pit of the stomach. I hate that feeling. It verges on feeling like a “loser.”

I really like for my family to be happy with what I am able to do for them. So the extra hour or two I invest to process my own deer is totally rewarding when I see the smiling faces of even the pickiest eaters in my family as they ask for second helpings.

And because of this, my wife tells me to go deer hunting. It’s actually on my “Honey Do List.” She even helps juggle our family schedule, so I can go deer hunting more. You’ve got to love that. It’s totally worth it.

I am just finishing up a really affordable “How to Process Your Own Deer” training program, which includes videos and support. I take you by the hand and walk you through step-by-step.

I’ll keep you updated on the “How to Process Your Own Deer” training program as it becomes available, because it could be a great option for you.

Let’s Talk Deer Jerky

You mentioned buying a jerky gun. I think jerky guns are great tools. There are quite a few different brands out there today. I have tested many different kinds.

The one I use is a more heavy-duty model. The cylinder is made of heavy gauge aluminum and holds 1½ pounds of seasoned meat. It has different attachments that allow me to make a single jerky strip, a double jerky strip, a single snack stick or a double snack stick.

The better jerky gun kits will also have cleaning brushes included. These brushes are essential to make sure you are able to clean your jerky gun properly.

Keep one thing in mind when you go to make jerky from your current ground venison. Although you will be able to mask the taste of the burger by adding seasonings, you may not totally get rid of the bad taste of your burger completely. The reason being the venison fat and other things are already mixed into the burger.

Good Luck and Great Hunting.

Marty Prokop

About Marty Prokop

Deer hunting expert Marty Prokop reveals closely guarded deer hunting secrets on how to get deer every time. Get his Free Deer Hunting Tips Newsletter, free deer videos and free online deer hunting game at Free Deer Hunting

Marty Prokop has 24-years experience deer hunting, processing deer for deer hunters and venison sausage making .  Marty Prokop teaches deer hunting, hunter safety, deer processing and deer sausage making classes. Marty Prokop has processed 7,805 deer, field dressed 422 deer and made over 991,990 pounds of sausage, smoked meats and jerky. Marty Prokop worked with Minnesota DNR programs. His deer hunting videos are used in statewide advanced hunter education classes. Marty Prokop is a successful speaker, outdoor writer and published author.

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