A Walk on the Wild Side - Cooking Gameby Linda Wilson
Are you intimidated by wild game because of that gamey taste? That gamey taste is most people like about
wild game. It might take a few times to get used to it, just like other foods you've grown to like. A lot
of people look forward to the different flavor of game because it's a change from the monotony of their everyday
chicken, beef and pork.
Game animals should be skinned, game birds should be plucked, and fish skinned or scaled as soon as possible
to retain the best flavor. Remove the entrails, wash the meat thoroughly and chill. For
larger animals like deer, you can employ a butcher or a locker plant to process the meat. You can
probably take care of the smaller game yourself. For easier plucking of game birds, work quickly,
while the bird is still warm. Dip the beheaded bird into a pot of water in which a cake of paraffin has
been melted. The water should be hot enough to melt the paraffin, but not so hot that it cooks the
skin. Pluck off the feathers in handfuls, (some differ on this), then singe the fuzz over an open flame.
Pinfeathers can be removed with a knife or tweezers. It may be easier to just skin the bird if it is
going to be stewed. If you purchase your meat from the store, you can skip this part.
Most wild game animals are lean and therefore do not develop that heavy layer of fat that domestic
livestock have. The fat that is there, however, should be removed because it is very strong tasting and
even a small amount can affect the flavor of the meat. You can baste the meat with cooking oil,
butter, or margarine to keep it from drying out. The ground meat can be mixed with a little pork or beef fat.
Aging the meat of large and small animals and game birds helps to improve the flavor and tenderize
the meat. Fish, however, should not be aged. To age small game and game birds, wrap the meat in a
damp towel or put it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a few days. Older, tougher meat should be
aged for about four days. One to two days is sufficient for young animals. If it is cold enough
outside, the large game can be hung in the cold garage or an unheated basement. The temperature
should not go above 40 degrees F. You may also cut up the carcass into large pieces and store it in
the refrigerator if you have room.
Now on to cooking!
You can cook the more tender cuts from young game just as you would the steaks and chops of beef, pork,
and lamb. They can be broiled, fried, sauteed, or cooked on the grill. For steaks, dredge them
in flour, season with salt and pepper, and brown in heated oil over a low heat. Brown on both sides,
turning once until it is slowly cooked to a tender delicacy. Venison has short fibers that toughen
quickly, so be sure not to over cook it at too high a temperature. It is best when it is medium to well
done; never serve it overdone or rare. Be sure to serve it hot because deer fat starts to congeal while it
is still warm. Reheating is not recommended except in casseroles.
You can saute smaller pieces of boneless meat in hot butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir the
meat frequently and do not flour it. Just be careful not to over cook it or it will become dry and tough.
Older game should be stewed or braised to break down the fiber and to tenderize it. Braise the meat
by first sauteing to brown it, then add 1/2 to 1 cup liquid, cover, and cook over very low heat until
tender. If necessary, you can add small amounts of liquid. You can tenderize the meat in several
different ways. Use a commercial tenderizer, marinate in an acid-based marinade, pressure cook it,
pound it with a meat tenderizer, chop or grind it , or parboil it first. Parboiling also removes some of
the gamey taste from strongly flavored meat.
Small game such as dove, quail, grouse, etc. tends to be on the dry side. You can marinate them first
and then wrap in bacon before cooking. They can be fried, baked, roasted, braised, cooked whole or
cut up. Roasting should be done slowly over an open fire or in a slow oven. Turn the bird frequently
and baste with butter or margarine or your favorite sauce. For meat from older birds, cook as you
would an older chicken.
For marinating game you need an acid base. Place meat in a shallow bowl or baking dish and pour
either Italian dressing, tomato juice, water and lemon juice, vinegar and water, or your favorite red
wine marinade over it. This helps break up the connective tissue besides complimenting the flavor.
You can baste a roast with marinade or rich gravies. Steak can be served with gravies or flavorful
sauces. A whole animal can be stuffed with sliced onions or orange halves. Just discard the stuffing
after baking. For ground meat or stew, you can combine it with half beef or pork. Finally, try to hunt
early in the season because the meat becomes much stronger with the approach of the mating season.
So, rid yourself of those negative thoughts on wild game. Take a shot at one of the recipes here, and
get ready to take a walk on the wild side.
|Stalking Wild Game on the Web|
Fishers.net wild game recipes
International Hunters Venison recipes
Just Game recipe collection
Bug Spur wild fowl and venison recipes
Cooking with Susie Q
Cajun duck recipes
Squirrel Recipes from the archive
Wild game sausage recipes
Wild Game chili
Alaksa Outdoor Journal recipes
The Sporting Chef
Ostrich Recipes from the archive
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