Veal vs Venison – What’s the Difference

Venison and veal should not be confused. Although they are both high-quality choices of meat, they are both very different.

Veal is the meat of a juvenile cow, while venison is the meat from a deer of any age.

What is Veal?

Veal is the meat of a calve that is usually between six and eight months old.

The meat from a cow this young is typically much more tender than that of older cows.

There are many types of veal depending on the age of the calf and how it was reared.

Eating veal is sometimes a controversial topic due to the process of slaughtering the animal and overall animal welfare.

However, veal should not be confused with venison. 

What is Venison?

Venison is the meat from any deer and either wild or farmed deer. 

Venison used to apply to any type of game meat but now only applies to deer and sometimes other ungulates like elk or moose.

Veal vs. Venison

AppearanceSlightly pale in color, much paler than venisonDeep dark red rich color, much darker than veal
TasteSubtle taste lacks the flavor profile of venisonDeep rich flavor, earthy tastes.
TextureExtremely tender, much more than venisonSome cuts are tender, but most are much tougher than veal
NutritionVeal is lower in fat than beef but not lower than venisonVenison is one of the most nutritious meats and is a healthier alternative to venison
CookingBest for gentle cookingMultiple ways to cook, including roasting, stewing, grilling, burgers, etc

As mentioned above, both veal and venison are quality meats, but to pit them against each other, we need to look at the qualities broken down.


One of the first noticeable things between veal and venison is the appearance.

Generally, venison is a rich dark red color, whereas veal has a paler hue to it.

The cause of the color of veal is due to the low iron diet of the animal, which is one of the causes of controversies.

However, veal raised under better standards typically has a rosy color.

Venison, on the other hand, gets its rich red color from its muscle fibers. Due to the active nature of deer, their meat is usually redder than that of farm-raised animals.

This is because their lifestyle and activity cause more myoglobin which in turn is the cause of the red coloration.

Veal, on the other hand, comes from calves with little to no activity, thus causing very little red coloration.


Veal vs Venison - What's the Difference

The taste between veal and venison is very different. This is true even if using fawn meat.

Venison is considered gamey by some; however, this varies from deer to deer and is a different topic by itself.

In reality, venison tastes different from veal because of the lifestyle of both animals.

Veal has a mild taste that is less pronounced than beef. Venison, on the other hand, has a deep rich flavor profile, regardless of the age of the animal.

Venison can also be considered fry if not cooked properly; this is due to having little fat, which we will look at later in the article.


Again the texture between these two animals is very different. Diet plays a big part here. Deer are constantly on the move and typically would be tougher than veal.

However, some cuts of venison, like the tenderloin, have a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

But like for like veal will be more tender than beef. This is due to the limited movement of the animal, meaning the muscles have not worked.


Venison Roasted

3 oz (85 g)Calories134
NutrientValue% Daily Value*
Total Fat2.7 g4%
Saturated fat1.1 g5%
Cholesterol95 mg31%
Sodium46 mg1%
Potassium285 mg8%
Carbohydrate0 g0%
Dietary fiber0 g0%
Protein26 g52%
Vitamin C0%Calcium0%
Iron21%Vitamin D0%
Vitamin B60%Cobalamin0%

Veal Roasted

3 oz (85 g)Calories214
NutrientValue% Daily Value*
Total Fat11 g16%
Saturated fat4.4 g22%
Cholesterol92 mg30%
Sodium67 mg2%
Potassium273 mg7%
Carbohydrate0 g0%
Dietary fiber0 g0%
Protein27 g54%
Vitamin C0%Calcium1%
Iron5%Vitamin D0%
Vitamin B615%Cobalamin21%

Nutritionally, venison would be considerably better than veal. As you can see from the charts above, venison has a lower fat and sodium percentage than veal.

Venison is also extremely high in iron, much higher than veal. This should be taken into consideration if you are pregnant.

The vitamin and mineral profile of venison is also impressive. It Is very high in vitamins B1, B12, B3, B6, and B2.

The mineral list is just as impressive, we already mentioned it’s high in iron, but it’s also high in zinc, phosphorus, and selenium.

Veal isn’t all bad when it comes to nutrition. It still has high levels of zinc, niacin, and B12.


Veal vs Venison - What's the Difference

Yet another area where these two types of meat differ, although you will see some similarities.

Veal does well with gentle cooking methods, whereas venison can be more versatile and can work with gentle cooking, or on high heats, like BBQs and grills.

However, as mentioned, there are similarities, and this comes due to both types of meat lacking high-fat content.

So, for some cuts of meats, the cooking methods will be the same, such as stewing, braising, or broiling.


Costs for both types of meat are similar due to the limited supplies. For most of the US, it is illegal to sell wild game meat, so if you are not a hunter or don’t know a hunter, your only choice for purchasing venison will be from a farm.

Farm-raised venison will be slightly different than wild deer. However, outside of the nutritional values, much of the other things will be quite similar.

Final Thoughts

Veal and venison are often the cause of confusion for some people due to having similar names. However, the two types of meat are very different.

One is from deer and the other from a calf. They also differ in taste, texture, and many cooking methods.

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