What is the Difference Between Elk and Venison?

Did you know that there over 90 species in the deer (Cervidae) family? Most people don’t realize that all deer are not the same. The grazing ruminants in this family include animals like moose, reindeer, elk, and white-tailed deer. Because elk are part of the deer family, many assume that venison and elk are basically the same. We are here to tell you that is not the case, especially when it comes to meat and sausage. We are going to explore the difference between elk and venison, so you can not only identify what you see, but also be able to pick out the diversity in flavor.

What is Venison?

Venison is commonly referred to in many ways. The word venison comes through the French word “venaison,” derived from the Latin “venari” which means “to hunt” and means properly “the spoils of the chase.” This term is usually used to refer to deer meat.

Let’s Learn More about Deer

Because venison is not actually an animal and is more of a type of meat from the deer family, it’s important to understand what deer are.

Deer rarely weigh above 300 pounds and have sharp, pointed antlers. When it comes to their diet, adult deer only cover about two square miles of land and spend their days looking for nutrient-dense foods like the tips of shrubs and trees (sometimes even your flowers or garden). Deer are considered browsers because they have a specific diet they prefer; they don’t just fill their stomachs with grass.

What are Elk?

While all elk are deer, not all deer are elk. Usually the meat of deer and elk are noted as such, but sometimes elk meat can be called venison. As if that isn’t confusing! Let’s review what makes an elk different than a normal deer.

An adult elk bull (male) typically reaches 800 pounds, with some being over 1,100 pounds. They can grow to five feet at the shoulder and are a much more physically imposing animal than the deer. Their antlers are most prominent in the summer and are sharp, pointed, and softer to the touch than deer antlers.

When they are searching for food, elk roam areas as large as 500 square miles. They constantly graze on grasses and foibles (weeds), and typically eat three pounds for every 100 pounds that the animal weighs. This is different than deer who have much pickier eating habits.

What is the Difference Between Elk and Venison Meat?

Because of their distinct diets, elk and venison taste different. When you are deciding between elk and venison, there are few things you should know.

  • Elk: Elk meat is considered to be less gamey tasting than venison. Elk meat usually has a sweet and savory flavor.
  • Venison: Venison is typically viewed as the less favorable meat, due to its gaminess. Venison contains more fat which makes it have an earthier flavor.

To Wrap it up

To put this simply, elk and venison are both meats from the deer family. Every elk is a deer, but not every deer is an elk. Elk is the far favorable meat between the two options due to its less gamey taste. We tend to like them both.

If you want to add either of these meats into your life, at Five Star Sausage, we have options. We are committed to providing cruelty-free meat. We source our meat products from cruelty-free farms that focus on sustainable and humane farming practices. We strongly adhere to a “farm to table” philosophy, because we really believe that you are what you eat.

Check out our sausages to give elk or venison… or maybe both, a try. We assure you, with your order, you will receive high end butcher-quality products delivered right to your front door with Five Star Sausage.