Game Meat Nutrition Facts



Fall has not officially transitioned into winter yet, but it’s starting to feel like it with the new year just around the corner. As we think back over this fall and all that we hoped to accomplish, getting a large deer or elk was on many to-do lists (especially here in Wyoming). Now that the major hunting seasons are winding down, it’s time to take advantage of all the wild game meat you stocked up on. Props to you for finding the most all-natural, organic, free-range meat available!

Let’s take a closer look at game meat, specifically venison, and the nutritional benefits we can find with it. This is a limited list, but provides us with a fair comparison to beef.

Calories, protein, and fat in 100 grams of uncooked meat (about 3.5 oz)
Item
Pronghorn Antelope
Mule Deer
Elk
Moose
Grass fed beef
Grain-fed beef (80/20)
Calories
114
120
112
114
198
254
Protein (g)
22
23
23
25
19
17
Fat (g)
2
2.4
1.5
1
13
20

In Wyoming, deer and antelope often serve as the bulk of most hunters’ freezers as they are so abundant. Looking at the chart above, we can see that antelope and deer are significantly more lean than beef, though elk and moose are the most lean.

Keep in mind that how this meat is prepared and whether extra fat is added or removed will make a significant difference for the calories and fat you will actually consume. If you look at the lean game meat, you will notice that it has a higher protein content per 100 grams compared to beef. This is because there is more fat in beef per 100 gram serving (which is around 3.5 oz, or just a little larger than a deck of cards). If you were to eat 95% lean grain fed beef or have a steak with less marbling, you will also get a greater proportion of protein per serving.

Depending on the diet of the animal you shot, you will also find a variety of vitamins and minerals in greater abundance than regular beef. The table below shows the approximate amount of iron, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B12 that you might find in antelope, deer, elk, or moose, as compared to beef. Dashes indicate it does not contribute significantly to the daily value or data was not available.

Selected vitamins and minerals in 100 grams of uncooked meat (about 3.5 oz)
Item
Pronghorn Antelope
Mule Deer
Elk
Moose
Grass fed beef
Grain-fed beef (80/20)
Iron (%DV)
18
19
15
18
11
11
Niacin (%DV)
--
32
--
25
24
21
Riboflavin (%DV)
34
28
--
16
9
9
Thiamin (%DV)
21
15
--
4
3
3
Vitamin B12 (%DV)
--
105
--
89
33
36

There are many reasons why you might choose to enjoy game meat, but for the best result on your table keep in mind what cooking methods will work best for you. Moist heat cooking methods can help if the meat is tough, these methods include stewing, pot roasting, or braising.  Dry heat cooking methods like roasting or broiling are best for meat that is tenderized prior to cooking.

Adding herbs and spices is an excellent way to improve flavor if you are not a fan of the taste of game meat. You might also consider trying a few jerky recipes to share as Christmas gifts. Of course, be sure to use proper food handling and food safety techniques before gifting any food, but this can be a great gift that is consumable and valuable to friends, acquaintances, and loved ones.  Click below to find a few recipes to try at home this year:

        Elk steak marinade: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/233606/elk-steak-marinade/
        Moose roast with French onion gravy: https://www.thespruce.com/moose-roast-with-french-onion-gravy-2313753
        Antelope stuffed mushrooms: http://www.nevadafoodies.com/antelope-stuffed-mushrooms/
        Antelope guacamole jalapeno burgers: http://www.nevadafoodies.com/antelope-guacamole-jalapeno-burgers/

Don’t forget to use proper handling practices when hunting to protect yourself and your family from food contamination. As a quick reminder, here is a select list of good practices for handling carcasses from the field to the freezer from the University of Wyoming Extension service (http://www.wyoextension.org/agpubs/pubs/B594R.pdf):
1.      In warm weather, when possible, it is strongly recommended that a carcass be taken to a cooler the day of the kill. If this cannot be done, transport it to camp and skin it if the nighttime temperature is expected to be above freezing.
2.      If it is skinned, use cheesecloth or light cotton bags to keep a carcass clean and to protect the meat from insects.
3.      Make sure the internal temperature of the lean is cooled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below within 24 hours. This will often require cooling facilities.
4.      Cut a carcass within seven days after harvest if it was chilled rapidly (see above) and sooner if warmer temperatures prevailed. Do not age a carcass if it was shot during warm weather and not chilled rapidly, if the animal was severely stressed prior to harvest, if gunshot areas are severe, or if the animal was under 1 year old.
5.      Wrap all cuts (fresh or cured) in good-quality freezer paper and store at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
6.      Limit fresh venison to eight months of frozen storage and seasoned or cured venison to four months of frozen storage.

To find out more or view the nutritional value of other wild game (such as bighorn sheep, duck, or even alligator) please review the sources below:

1.      University of Wyoming Extension. Wild Game. Nutrition and Food Safety. Retrieved from http://www.uwyo.edu/foods/educational-resources/wild-game.html

2.      Macwelch, T. (2013, February). Wild Game: A Nutrition Guide for Game Animals in North America. In Outdoor Life. Retrieved from https://www.outdoorlife.com/photos/gallery/hunting/2013/02/wild-game-nutrition-guide-organic-meat

3.      Medeiros, L., Busboon, J., Field, R., Williams, J., Miller, G., & Holmes, B. (2002, August). Nutritional Content of Game Meat [Electronic version]Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture, University of Wyoming. Retrieved from http://www.wyoextension.org/agpubs/pubs/B920R.pdf

4.      Nutrition calculator: www.nutritionvalue.org



Candace Garner is an RDN with a Master’s in Kinesiology through the University of Wyoming. She obtained her personal trainer certification through ACE and also teaches the Group Training and Boot Camp classes at Purenergy Fitness. She finds her inspiration from those individuals who are willing to put in the work to see real results, especially those who start from the bottom. She believes that you are capable of more than you realize, and that you are worth the investment in yourself and your future. She is very excited to be starting work with Purenergy because she believes it is a great platform to influence others in a positive way.



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