How to Cook with Wild Game

A piece of meat on a cutting board Description automatically generated with low confidence

A piece of meat on a cutting board Description automatically generated with low confidence

The best part of a hunting trip isn’t getting your catch’s antlers or the bear’s skin hanged on your wall. It is actually the supply of delicious meat that you get that makes the hunt all worth it. You can make numerous dishes out of the deer, elk, game birds, and other animals that you caught in the field.

However, cooking with wild game is not as straightforward as cooking regular meats. Many food enthusiasts describe wild meat as gamey and sinewy. These are not describing words that entice most regular people to try it.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t make a good meal out of the meat that you caught. You just need to know the secrets to cooking wild game.

Removing the gaminess from wild game

Unlike beef fat, the fat from the meat of wild game like an elk or a bear is not tasty. It is actually where the gamey flavor comes from. That is why cooking experts advise that you cut it off before grilling, frying, or broiling.

Now, this might go against what many hunters believe. Many of them think that if you are going to eat the meat of the animals that you hunted, you need to get the full experience. You are not supposed to waste any part of the animal. However, sticking to this might turn off many people who are not used to eating wild meat. If you want the food to be eaten, go ahead and trim the fats. You can use those for other purposes later.

Another popular way of reducing the gamey flavor in the meat is by soaking them in milk. It is similar to what chefs do to remove the fishy taste from fish.

Preparing wild game for cooking

There are a few things that you need to remember in preparing the wild game’s meat for cooking. This is because while wild game meat can be cooked like regular meat, it does require some preparations to ensure that it comes out moist and flavorful.

The first thing to remember is to brine the meat. Prepare the brine by adding two tablespoons of salt to four cups of water.Let the meat soak in this mixture for four hours or longer. The brining process will boost the meat’sjuiciness and ensure that the cut stays tender even after cooking. Soaking in the salt mixture will also get rid of the gaminess of the meat particularly that of hares and fowl.

is to add just the right amount of salt. Wild game is already much leaner than beef or pork. This makes it dryer than other meats because it lacks the fat that coats the flesh during cooking.

Salt will pull out the water from the meat. This lack of moisture will cause the wild game’s meat to become dry even more and make it too tough. You’d be chewing the cuts like rubber if you add too much salt.

Another step that you need to remember as you prepare the meat is to slice it about a quarter of an inch thick. You can even make it half an inch thick. Slicing the meat too thin will promote dryness. You will have to experiment with cooking the slabs of different thicknesses to find the best one that will work for your type of wild game meat.

Besides not putting too much salt on the meat, we can help the meat stay moist by cooking it with some bacon or butter. The fat will prevent the cut from becoming too dry. It would also help to sear the surfaces of the cut on a hot pan. Once all the sides have been seared, you can turn down the fire. Experienced cooks suggest that wild game such as venison be cooked in temperatures between 130 and 140 degrees to achieve the perfect medium rare cook.

How to grill wild game

Grilling is basically like cooking on a campfire. The smell of smoke and wild game really goes well together. However, wild game must be grilled carefully. You cannot overcook it or it will turn into rubbery hunks of meat. As mentioned, keep the internal temperature lower than 140 degrees to produce the most tender medium rare cuts. Don’t forget to baste the meats as you are grilling. The sauce will prevent the meat from drying out.

How to make a stew out of wild game meat

In making a stew, you need to remember to cook the stew meat or round steaks slowly and in low heat. You might want to pan-sear it first to keep the juices and flavors inside.

Start by preheating the oven to 275 degrees. Get three lbs. of meat and trim off the fat. You can use venison, moose, buffalo, or elk. Rinse the cuts and pat dry. Make a mixture of salt, pepper, and flour. Dredge the meats in this mixture.

Get a large pan and put it over high flame. Add some olive oil and sear the meats on all sides until a crust forms.

Place all the meat pieces in a Dutch oven pan. Add a beef bullion stock, a cup of red wine. Add also a cup each of chopped onions, carrots, celery. You can also add your herbs at this time. A teaspoon each of rosemary and thyme will go well with the taste of the meat and vegetables.

As this is cooking, add 5 cloves of chopped garlic, three tablespoons of tomato paste. Season this with salt and pepper.

In the pan where you seared the meat, pour in a cup of red wine and half a cup of port wine. Let this reduce by half over medium heat. Pour two cups of beef broth into this. Once these are fully incorporated, take it off the heat and pour over the meat and other ingredients in the Dutch oven. Put on the lid and cook the stew in the oven for six hours. When the meat is tender, add two cups of chopped potatoesand a cup of sliced mushroom. Add more stock if needed. Check the taste of the stew and adjust the seasoning.

Conclusion

Wild game meat is flavorful but requires more preparation to prevent it from becoming too dry. Once you learn the right way to prepare the meat, you will be able to make the best dishes out of your catch.

 

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