How to Get Rid of Gamey Taste in Pork: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pork is a widely enjoyed meat across many cuisines. But sometimes pork can have an unpleasant gamey or funky flavor, especially wild boar or heritage breed pork This strong taste can be off-putting if you’re used to milder pork from the grocery store

So what causes gamey taste in pork, and how can you get rid of it? Keep reading for an in-depth look at the science behind it along with simple tips to tame gamey pork so it’s delicious on your plate!

What Causes Gamey Taste in Pork?

First, let’s examine why some pork ends up with a gamey flavor.


The biggest factor is diet. Pigs allowed to roam and forage will eat a diverse mix of foods like roots, nuts, insects and small animals. This affects the flavor of the meat. Commercially raised pigs eat controlled feed designed for fast growth.


Heritage pig breeds like Berkshire, Red Wattle and Mangalitsa are prized for their flavor, but have stronger taste than commercial breeds. Farmers often crossbreed to balance flavor and leanness


Older pigs tend to be gamier. Most pork comes from 6-month old commercial hogs. Wild boars are often 2+ years old when hunted, contributing to their strong taste.


Stress, diet changes and poor handling before slaughter can cause chemical changes that intensify flavor. Proper techniques result in tastier pork.

Simple Ways to Reduce Gamey Taste

Now let’s get into practical methods you can use at home to mellow out the flavor of gamy pork.

Vinegar Soak

Cover pork in a vinegar and water solution (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water). Soak overnight in the fridge, up to 24 hours. Rinse before cooking. The acetic acid in vinegar acts as a flavor modifier.

Buttermilk Soak

Similar to vinegar, soaking in buttermilk balances the meat’s pH. Use full fat buttermilk and soak 4-12 hours. The enzymes also tenderize. Rinse after soaking to prevent curdling when cooked.


A salt and sugar brine infuses pork with flavor while altering its chemistry. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup salt per quart of water. Add aromatics like garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns. Chill and soak 12-24 hours.


Marinating pork in an acidic ingredient helps too. Try wine, citrus juice, yogurt or fruit purees. Antioxidants in herbs and spices also help mellow gamey notes. Marinate at least 2 hours, or up to 12 hours.

Low and Slow Cooking

Gentle, moist cooking methods give time for collagen to break down and flavor to develop without intensifying gaminess. Braising, stewing or roasting around 300°F works well.


For very strong pork, dice and blend into other ingredients like sauces, chili or casseroles. The flavors diffuse and become less pronounced.

Smoke and Cure

Charcuterie methods like smoking, curing and aging pork allow its flavor to evolve into something more balanced. Time is your friend when taming gamey fresh pork.

Avoid Overcooking

Cook pork just until it reaches an internal temperature between 145-160°F to keep it tender and juicy. Overcooking concentrates undesirable flavors.

step-by-step Instructions to Remove Gamey Taste

Follow these instructions when you need to prep gamy pork for dinner:


  • 2-3 lbs pork (steaks, chops, etc)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar (apple cider, white or red wine)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns


  1. In a bowl or pan, mix vinegar, water, salt, bay leaves and peppercorns until salt dissolves.
  2. Add pork and cover fully with brine solution.
  3. Refrigerate 12-24 hours. Occasionally flip pork.
  4. Remove pork from brine. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  5. Pat pork dry with paper towels.
  6. Cook as desired, seasoning additionally with herbs, spices and oil.
  7. For best results, cook low and slow at 300°F or less using moist heat.

And that’s it! With this easy brining method, you can tame even the wildest boar into a delicious, milder-tasting pork for your recipes. Share any other gamey pork tips in the comments!

4 Most Effective Ways to Get Rid of the Gamey Taste in Wild Meat


How do you neutralize gamey taste?

The distinct game flavor of either birds or animals will be milder after soaking the meat overnight in the refrigerator in either a salt or vinegar solution. 2. Vinegar solution – 1 cup per quart of cold water. Use enough solution to cover the game completely.

What causes pork to taste gamey?

Gamey meat is almost entirely a function of the flavors in skin and fat. Most of the stronger aromas we perceive in meat are fat soluble and reside in that fat.

Why does my pork taste weird?

Boar taint is the offensive odor or taste that can be evident during the cooking or eating of pork or pork products derived from non-castrated male pigs once they reach puberty. Boar taint is found in around 20% of entire male finishing pigs.

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