Can You Mix Lard With Venison?

Can You Mix Lard With Venison?

With fall hunting season in full swing, many hunters are prepping their freezers with venison. While venison is lean and healthy, it can dry if improperly prepared. This leads to the question – can you mix lard with venison to keep it moist and flavorful? Though fat has gotten a bad reputation over the years, using small amounts may provide benefits. This introduction will explore the reasons for and against mixing lard with venison, including impacts on health, taste, and preservation. The answer is more nuanced than a simple yes or no. Read on to learn more about this timely wild game cooking dilemma.

Quick Glance Highlights

Yes, you can mix lard with venison, but you need to be careful about the amount. Lard contains high levels of saturated fat, so use sparingly – no more than 1-2 tablespoons per pound of meat. When used in moderation, the rich, fatty flavor of lard complements the leaner, gamier taste of venison. Mix in fat when grinding venison for burgers or sausage. Or add lard while searing or braising venison steaks or roasts. The key is balancing the health benefits of venison with the moist texture and flavor lard provides. Use just enough to deliver an indulgent dish without going overboard on fat and calories.

Quick Glance Highlights

Why Add Fat to Venison?

Venison is prized for its lean, protein-packed meat. Yet without added fat, venison can quickly dry out during cooking, resulting in challenging, flavorless meals. Adding supplemental fat when preparing venison provides essential benefits that transform your meal.

Moisture and Tenderness

The leanness that makes venison so healthy also makes it prone to drying out. Venison contains less intrinsic marbling or fat than beef and other red meats. Adding fat while cooking introduces much-needed moisture. As the fat melts, it bastes the venison, keeping it tender and juicy. The result is succulent, fork-tender venison that avoids becoming tough and chewy.

Some of the best moisture-fitting fats include butter, bacon, olive oil, and duck fat. Their saturated and monounsaturated fat contents allow them to keep venison moist through long cooking methods like braising, stewing, or roasting. Adding a couple tablespoons of one of these fats to the cooking liquid or pan-basting meat as it cooks are easy ways to lock in moisture.


In addition to moisture, supplemental fats impart flavor to mild-tasting venison. Venison’s low-fat content makes its wild, gamey flavor leaner than beef or pork. Added fats can balance and round out the distinctive venison taste.

Fats with rich, meaty flavors like bacon grease, lard, or tallow complement venison’s earthy notes exceptionally well. Porcine fats like lard add a subtle sweetness that counters venison’s gaminess. Butter and duck fat provide a more delicate richness to accent, but not overwhelm, the natural flavor of the venison.


While venison alone is very low in fat, adding small amounts of certain fats can provide nutritional benefits. For example, oils like olive, avocado, and walnut oil add healthy unsaturated fats. They provide vital omega-3 fatty acids that are lacking in venison alone. Using these oils to cook or dress venison allows you to obtain the omega-3s your body needs while still enjoying lean protein.

Some fats like tallow or lard do contain saturated fat. However, incorporating them sparingly into venison dishes in moderation can fit into a balanced diet. Lean protein paired with vegetables balances out the saturated fat.


The extra fat mixed into or coating venison also helps preserve its freshness and shelf life. Venison’s leanness causes it to spoil more quickly than fattier meats when refrigerated or frozen. The protective seal created by cooking venison in butter, oil, or its own fat delays spoilage by limiting exposure to air and preventing freezer burn.

Types of Fats for Venison

Here are some of the most popular and effective fats to mix with venison:

  • Butter: Provides moisture and subtle dairy flavor when pan-fried or roasted. Use softened butter under the skin of roasted venison.
  • Bacon grease: Excellent for searing or frying venison to impart a smoky, porky flavor. Also, it is used to baste roasts or chops.
  • Lard: Adds rich texture and mild sweetness. Mix with ground venison for burgers or sausage.
  • Tallow: Deep, beefy flavor complements venison from cows finished on grass. Use like lard.
  • Duck fat: Subtle game bird essence pairs well with venison—roast chunks of venison in duck fat.
  • Olive/avocado oils: Healthy unsaturated fats. Saute or roast venison in small amounts to benefit from omegas.

In moderation, supplemental fats counter venison’s leanness. They make venison more succulent, flavorful, nutritious, and preserved. A properly balanced venison dish enjoys the benefits of added fat without overdoing it.

Why Add Fat to Venison?

How to Add Fat to Venison

To get the most out of your venison meat, it helps to add supplemental fat when cooking. Several effective methods for incorporating fat enhance moisture, tenderness, flavor, and preservation.

Grinding Fat into Ground Venison

For dishes using ground venison, directly mixing fat into the meat as it is ground is easy. Trimmed beef, pork, or venison fat can be cubed and placed in a meat grinder along with venison cuts. Aim for a 75% lean to 25% fat ratio. The ground fat is evenly distributed to deliver moisture and richness with each bite.
Potential fats to grind with venison include:

  • Pork backfat or belly – contributes tasty, subtle sweetness
  • Beef suet or tallow – adds deep, meaty flavor
  • Venison fat trimmings – mild game essence complementary to venison
  • Duck or goose fat – moderate gamey flavor adds interest

The fat content makes the burger or sausage juicier when cooked. And the flavor permeates the entire dish rather than just the surface. Be aware that extended freezing can cause some fats to go rancid. For best quality and safety, use freshly ground fat.

Mixing in Cured Pork fat-lard

Mixing in cured pork lard is another way to inject moisture into ground venison. Lard has a less pronounced pork flavor than fresh fat, so it doesn’t overwhelm the venison. It has a mild, savory sweetness that accents the wild flavors.

Lard’s creamy consistency keeps burgers and sausages succulent. Add 1-2 tablespoons per pound of ground meat. Let the lard re-chill before grinding or mixing to prevent smearing. The curing process helps lard resist spoilage better than raw fat. Always use refrigerated lard within a few weeks for optimal freshness.

Pan-Searing in Fat

Cooking venison steaks, chops, and roasts via pan-searing or high-heat roasting benefits from added fats. Heating the venison in lipids bastes the exterior with flavor and moisture.

Oils with high smoke points, like avocado, peanut, or grapeseed, work best for searing. Coat the pan with a teaspoon or two before laying the venison in. Baste the top as it cooks with butter or rendered venison drippings. The meat will develop a beautifully browned crust encasing the juicy interior.

Take care not to overcook venison past medium rare to prevent toughening. Pull it from the heat while still pink inside so the fat can finish cooking it gently to the proper doneness. Let the venison rest for a few minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

Basting Roasts and Braises

Regularly baste the meat with melted fat for slower-cooked venison roasts or braised dishes. Butter, beef tallow, bacon drippings, or olive oil lend continuous moisture and flavor penetration.

Baste roasts every 20-30 minutes while cooking by spooning the melted fat on top. For braises or stews, periodically ladle the fatty cooking liquid over the venison chunks. It is maintaining moist heat limits meat fibers from tightening and toughening. The result is fork-tender venison that is pulled easily apart into juicy shreds.

There are many effective ways to imbue venison with supplemental fat for improved cooking qualities. Try grinding, mixing with cured lard, pan-searing, or basting to find your favorite method.

Tips for Cooking With Venison and Lard

Lard is an ideal fat for cooking venison due to its rich flavor and moist texture that complements lean meat. When cooking venison with lard, follow these tips to transform your wild game into delectable, tender meals.

Tips for Cooking With Venison and Lard

Recommended Recipes

Here are some of the best ways to use lard with venison:

  • Venison burger patties – Mix a few tablespoons of chilled fat per pound of ground meat. Fry burgers in a bit more lard.
  • Venison sausage – Add diced fat to sausage filling during grinding to keep it juicy.
  • Venison stew – Brown venison chunks in fat, then braise in lard-infused liquid.
  • Venison chops – Pan-sear chops in hot fat to create a crispy crust while sealing in juices.
  • Venison roasts – Coat roasts with fat or place lard slices on top before roasting to impart moisture.
  • Venison jerky – Brush lard on dried jerky to seal out air and prevent brittle texture.

Lard Tips for Best Results

Follow these tips when cooking with lard and venison:

  • Use lard cold – Chill lard before mixing it into ground meat or grinding together. Cold fat evenly distributes without smearing.
  • Limit lard amounts – Stick to 1-2 tbsp lard per pound of ground venison or 1-2 tsp per chop or roast. Too much fat overwhelms the flavor.
  • Heat lard properly – Melt fat over medium-low heat—overheating burns lard, causing off-flavors.
  • Combine flavors – Pair lard with complementary seasonings like garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and black pepper.
  • Cook venison properly – Sear chops/steaks until browned, but keep the interior pink. Roast and braise roasts low and slow.
  • Let rest before serving – Allow venison to rest 5-10 minutes after cooking so juices redistribute internally for moist, tender meat.
  • Use fresh lard – Refrigerate lard after opening and use within 1-2 months for the highest quality flavor. Rancid fat ruins dishes.

Lard Benefits

Understanding the properties of lard helps ensure successful venison dishes:

  • Rich, subtle flavor – Lard has a mild porky sweetness that brings out venison’s wild essence.
  • High smoke point – Lard can get extremely hot without burning, perfect for deep frying or searing venison.
  • Moist texture – Lard bastes venison and keeps it tender and juicy through cooking.

Lard transforms venison into succulent, rich-tasting dishes when appropriately used. Follow these guidelines to enjoy the benefits of cooking a wild game with fat.

Tips for Cooking With Venison and Lard


Is venison with lard suitable for special diets?

Venison mixed with small amounts of lard can fit into some special diets in moderation. Its lean protein and low carb content work for keto or low glycemic index diets. Limit portions to restrict saturated fat and calories for weight loss diets. People with diabetes can also work venison/lard dishes into their meal plan, being mindful of saturated fat and carbohydrate pairings. However, the lard makes this combination unsuitable for vegan/vegetarian, kosher, and halal diets due to its pork origin. Very strict low-fat or low-cholesterol diets should also avoid this mixture.

Related Video: How to Render Fat- SAME METHOD- ALL FATS- Pork Fat, Beef Fat, Bear Fat {Lard and Tallow}

Summing Up

In closing, lard can be successfully paired with venison if used judiciously. A small amount of lard amplifies the flavor of lean venison without compromising its nutritional benefits. When mixed into ground meat or added during cooking, lard bastes the meat while lending its signature richness. Be mindful of saturated fat content by limiting lard to 1-2 tablespoons per pound of venison. With a light hand, lard transforms venison into mouthwateringly moist, savory meat that retains its wild, gamey essence. In the end, the answer is yes – with a few caveats, lard can provide just enough fat and flavor to bring out the best in healthy, hearty venison.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *