The objective of this research study performed was to compare the quality of meat from red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) stags that were hunter-harvested in Hungary (10 animals) and north eastern Poland (10 animals). The animals aged 3 to 5 years were included in the research study; all of them were shot during the same hunting season. Four primal cuts (saddle, fore-end, shoulder, and leg) were trimmed from the carcasses. Meat from each cut was chopped and, upon mixing, a meat sample, an average for the given cut (approximately 300 g), was collected from that cut. The chemical composition and physicochemical properties of meat were determined. Based on the analyzes performed, it was found that meat from the red deer from the Polish hunting grounds was characterized by a higher (p ≤ 0.05) content of dry matter, fat, and mineral components determined in the form of ash. Additionally, its colour was darker (p ≤ 0.01) and characterized by a lower (p ≤ 0.01) content of yellowness (b*) and redness (a*), and, consequently, also by a lower level (p ≤ 0.01) of saturation (C*). Next, meat from red deer stags from Hungary was characterized by a higher (p ≤ 0.01) mean value of pH. The quality analysis of the four primal carcass cuts was conducted and, based thereupon, it was found that meat from the saddle was characterized by the highest content of dry matter whereas meat from the shoulder and neck by the lowest content thereof (those differences were statistically confirmed). The lowest per cent content of total proteins was found in meat from the shoulder; it was significantly lower than the content determined in meat from the saddle (p ≤ 0.01) and leg (p ≤ 0.05). Meat from the saddle and leg was characterized by lower (p ≤ 0.01) mean values of pH, a higher water-holding capacity (those differences were confirmed statistically), and by a lower (p ≤ 0.01) cooking loss compared with meat from the neck and shoulder. The darkest colour (p ≤ 0.01) showed meat from the saddle whereas meat from the neck and shoulder showed the lightest (p ≤ 0.01) colour. Meat from the neck was definitely characterized by the highest saturation (C*) value (p ≤ 0.01), whereas the lowest values of the C* parameter were found in meat from the saddle and leg; this was a consequence of the differences in the per cent content of the red and yellow component in the colour of the meat analyzed.
game, red deer, meat quality