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What is the Difference Between Venison and Veal?  

What is the Difference Between Venison and Veal?  

The most significant difference between Venison and Veal is that veal and Venison are two different animals.

Veal comes from baby cows. In contrast, Venison comes from whitetail deer, elk, and other horned ungulates.

There was a time when Venison referred to most game animals after being killed.

But then, somewhere along with history, Venison almost exclusively meant the meat of deer.

Still hunted today, deer and elk are being ranched like cattle and produced for those who like the flavor and restaurants that serve game on their menus.

Veal, however, has another story, and eating young calves goes back to ancient Europe.

The tender meat of a young calf is lean, like deer meat, and is a delicacy.

Unfortunately, veal is priced much higher than standard cuts of beef. It can also be much harder to find at grocery stores and restaurants.

Continue reading to learn more about the difference between Venison and veal.

What is the difference between Venison and veal?

Venison is the meat of deer. Veal, however, is a young calf, usually a male dairy calf that is fed a diet of grain and milk. The meat from both of these animals is very lean. However, they have different flavors. Deer meat is dark red and can have a strong gamey flavor. Veal, however, is light in color and very, very tender. Those qualities make both varieties of sought-after meat delicacies, and both are very expensive.

What is the Difference Between Venison and Veal?
What is the Difference Between Venison and Veal?

Why is deer meat called Venison?

Over time, the meaning of the term ‘venison’ has changed. The original term was coined by ancient European hunters who would go after any game they could scare up.

These hunters called any animal that was not domesticated ‘venison.’ The term included wild boar, squirrel, rabbit, deer, and elk.

Another definition for Venison is ‘beasts of the chase,’ which includes the above game animals and game birds. In South Africa, the meat of elk is called Venison.

Cut into roasts, cut into stew meat, and put into soups, a deer would provide a hunter and their family with enough food for several meals.

Deer meat is called Venison
Deer meat is called Venison

Veal comes from beef calves

Veal is the flesh of any breed of cattle from both male and female calves. The sex of the cattle isn’t the reason the meat is so tender.

Veal’s tenderness is due to the age of the calf.

Veal can come from calves as young as five days and as old as 35 weeks. Veal from free raised calves is slaughtered at about 24 weeks of age.

The age of veal is as significant a factor as the cut you purchase when considering cost, and the younger the beef, the more costly it is.

However, veal of any age will be more tender and flavorful than full-grown cows, and many people think it is worth the price.

Whether you are ordering veal from a restaurant or buying it to cook at home, be prepared to pay a premium price for this delicacy.

Veal is the meat from beef calves
Veal is the meat from beef calves

Can veal come from deer?

Baby deer are not called veal and are not generally killed for meat. Instead, they are allowed to grow to procreate and make more deer.

However, hunters often allow a ‘doe day’ and kill the does instead of the bucks. These hunts are limited, though, because, like babies, hunters want mommas to live so they can have more babies.

In some areas of the country, counties will have special deer days to thin the herds because there are so many deer they become a nuisance.

On occasion, a baby deer may be killed by accident, but thankfully, hunters don’t practice bagging babies.

Do you cook veal and Venison the same way?

Some cuts can be cooked the same way, and the tenderloin of both deer and veal are prized cuts. They have other cuts that are alike, also.

The fact that they are both very lean means you need to cook either meat very carefully so that it does not dry out.

You can cut the tenderloin of deer or veal into steaks, or you can roast the whole loin. The shoulders and rear quarters make excellent roasts and slow-grilled or smoked for added flavor.

The less tender cuts of Venison and veal can be stewed, or you can add a sauce to make the meat tender. However, the lack of fat marbling in Venison and veal can make the meat tough if cooked improperly.

Frequently Asked Questions on what is the difference between Venison and veal

How expensive is veal?

Veal is priced at over 30 dollars a pound, depending on the cut.

How expensive is Venison?

Venison, too, is priced at over 30 dollars a pound.

Is veal hard to find at the grocery?

Some grocery stores will not carry it due to its cost. However, it is available online and can be shipped to your home.

The difference between Venison and veal is one is deer, and the other is beef.

Veal is raised to get the resulting tender meat. On the other hand, Venison is grown commercially, providing domesticated deer meat.

However, hunters fill their freezers with Venison every year that they have hunted.

There are hundreds of game preserves across the country with large populations of whitetail deer.

These areas are open to hunters at certain times of the year, and they can bag a certain number of deer.

However, commercially raised deer has become more prevalent in recent years and is available for sale any time of year.

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking and have made it my mission to answer as many open questions related to cooking and food as possible. I am by no means a professional cook. But cooking is a hobby that I have loved for the past 20 years and I am getting better by the day.