What Are the Different Venison Cuts?

Angie Bates

Similar to beef cuts, venison cuts refer to the type and location of meat on a deer which is removed for consumption. They include both high quality meats used for steaks and roasts and lesser quality meat used for sausages and some ground meats. Venison cuts may be obtained from any species of wild or farm-raised deer.

Deer provides a number of different cuts of meat.
Deer provides a number of different cuts of meat.

Animal meat is cut from muscle on various parts of the animal's body. The different parts of a deer provide different venison cuts and different qualities of meat that consumers eat. The neck, back, legs, rump, and ribs all provide familiar cuts. Generally from the ribs to the rump is where the highest quality meat is found, however, and is where the steak and the high quality roast cuts come from.

Venison stew is a rustic dish often made with boneless shoulder meat.
Venison stew is a rustic dish often made with boneless shoulder meat.

Types of venison steaks include the flank steak, which is cut from the muscle of the belly. Flank steaks are flat and rectangular, and are not often single-person steaks. New York Strips and tenderloin — also called filet mignon in beef — come from the short loin, which is located right behind the ribs. The sirloin cut is right behind the short loin, bordering the rump.

The backstrap comes from the upper back of the deer and is more common in wild deer that are hunted.
The backstrap comes from the upper back of the deer and is more common in wild deer that are hunted.

Rump roasts and rounds are cut from the rump area of a deer. On average, roasts are larger cuts of meats than steaks and are designed to roast for hours in the oven, hence their name. Rounds often come more from the back leg area and can be cut in smaller or larger sizes.

Briskets are popular in beef, but are also a venison cut. This cut comes from the chest area of the deer. Briskets are often slow-cooked or barbecued.

One of the venison cuts that is not usually found in beef is the backstrap. It comes from the upper back of the deer, and although it is available when purchasing farm-raised deer, is more often a cut found in hunted, wild deer. The backstrap includes some of the loin section and provides such cuts as loin chops, loin roast, and rib roast.

The chuck meats come from the front shoulder area. Boneless shoulder roasts, chuck roasts, and top blade are common cuts for chuck meats. Chuck is usually considered a lesser quality meat that other cuts.

Ground meat can technically be made from any part of the deer. Usually, however, ground meats are made from the chuck section, but it can be made from higher quality cuts as well. For example, ground sirloin is a popular high quality ground meat.

Venison is available in steak cuts.
Venison is available in steak cuts.

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Discussion Comments


I have hunted before but I don't have any idea how to butcher deer. The guys I went with always took their kills to a processing plant that turned them into a standardized collection of venison meat cuts.

We went home with everything from venison chops to meat for venison burgers. I still have some in my freezer. Deer is tasty but hard to eat every night.

The backstrap is where it's at for me. I like deer in general but the backstrap is like the prime rib of the deer. You usually get two sections out of any deer and each section is big enough for one person depending on the size of the deer. That means one for the hunter and one for whoever he wants to share with. For me that piece always goes to my wife.

Even the best butcher will end up with lots of scraps of meat and fat after they have fully butchered the deer. Most hunters know that this scrap meat can be used to make some delicious sausage. In fact, many hunters have their own recipes and look forward to the deer sausage they will make as much as any other part of the animal.

I have a spicy version that I am particularly partial to. I will get a couple of pounds of sausage out of every carcass by the time that I have properly cleaned it. Over the course of an active hunting season that can add up to a lot of sausage.

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