Cooking with venison is a great way to use up fresh deer meat that you've purchased or hunted for yourself. However, it's important to ensure the venison hasn't gone bad--which can sometimes happen, particularly with fresh venison as no preservatives have been added to the meat. There are a few factors to pay attention to when determining if the meat has spoiled, especially a pungent odor that will let you know the venison is no good to cook with.
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Pay attention to the length of time between the venison is killed, dressed and stored. The longer the time between these actions, the more likely that the meat will spoil.
Note the amount of time the meat has been stored in a refrigerator or cooler. Venison will keep for months in a freezer, but should be stored in a refrigerator or cooler for up to three days; after that, it will spoil.
Feel the outside of the venison before you begin cooking. Spoiled venison will feel wet and slimy to the touch. Good venison will be damp but not slippery to the touch.
Smell the venison. Good deer meat will smell gamey; spoiled deer meat will give of a sewage-like aroma.
Cook the venison as your recipe warrants. Spoiled venison will give off a sewage-like aroma that increases as it cooks, letting you know it has spoiled.