What Are Venison Chops?

Lori Kilchermann

Venison chops are the highly-prized cuts from a deer which run down the length of the back bone from the front shoulder to the hind quarter. Commonly called the loin, fillet or loin chops, venison chops include part of the backbone or rib cage, whereas the loin or filet is a boneless cut of the same piece of meat. Prized for their tenderness and full flavor by many venison eaters, the chops are a preferred cut and are often served butterflied to produce a thinner, yet larger, presentation on a dinner plate. The chops are typically very lean cuts of meat with very little fat or sinew.

Venison chops are a popular form of deer meat.
Venison chops are a popular form of deer meat.

When preparing a meal, venison chops can be used in nearly all recipes calling for beef or pork loin with a great deal of success. Unlike beef and pork, venison is a nearly fat-free meat that is very high in protein. Some consumers of venison chops claim the meat has a slightly gamy taste, however, different methods of preparing the cuts can greatly diminish the wild flavor. Much of the flavor depends on the region and season that the deer was harvested. The sex of the deer also greatly influences the flavor of the meat, with the flesh of a buck or male deer commonly being stronger than that of a doe or female deer.

Cooking bacon with venison adds a little fat to the meat.
Cooking bacon with venison adds a little fat to the meat.

Due to the natural leanness of the venison chops, a trick in preparing the cuts is to add pork fat in the form of bacon or sausage to the pan as the meat is cooked. The fats from the rendering pork product will aid in preventing the venison from sticking to the pan as well as add a juicy finish to the lean meat. Many old recipes for preparing venison chops call for a large amount of butter to be used to cook the meat, however, modern day health concerns regarding cooking butter in large amounts have influenced cooks to seek alternative methods to prepare the cuts.

One secret to removing a gamy taste in venison chops is to remove all of the silver skin found on the meat. Commonly removed by a quality butcher, the remnants of any silver skin or sinew on the meat lead to a stronger taste as well as a tougher meat. By removing this material from the venison chops, they will be much easier to chew and digest, as well as have a milder flavor in most recipes.

The loin or filet is a boneless cut from the same piece of meat that chops come from.
The loin or filet is a boneless cut from the same piece of meat that chops come from.

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Discussion Comments


@Ruggercat68- I didn't think I'd like venison chops when a member of my church brought them to a potluck dinner. He cooked venison tenderloin medallions and bone-in venison loin chops. They were surprisingly good, and very tender. I asked him how he did it and he said he followed the recipe for venison chops his grandfather used, including a lot of butter in the skillet.

I don't know if I like venison enough to add it to my usual beef, chicken and pork diet, but it wasn't some exotic meat I'd only eat on a dare, either.


I've heard of people soaking raw venison in buttermilk to remove the gamy flavor, but I suppose any venison marinade would work. Personally, I don't mind the wild taste of venison as long as the meat is cooked properly. A friend of mine does a lot of deer hunting, and he usually brings me at least one rack of venison every year as a gift. I grill my venison chops on the grill, just like pork loin chops.

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