Ground Elk Stuffed Peppers

I hear it all the time...."I don't like venison, it's too gamey" You can replace the word "venison" in that statement with any number of game meats but the truth is GAME MEAT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE GAMEY!!!! Some of the most delicious meals I've EVER had were harvested from the wild. From dove breast to duck breast to venison, elk, antelope and bison, I've enjoyed masterfully prepared culinary dishes that have blown me away!! Here I'll share some tips and recipes I've found so that you too can enjoy the ULTIMATE "free range, grass fed, all organic" meats!

The first step to enjoying game meat is the prep. I've been combing the internet to compile some tips and here's what I've found....

If your wild game meat, particularly venison, is tasting too gamey suggests the following:

  • Soak the meat in salted water, milk, buttermilk or vinegar to remove blood from the flesh.
  • Age the meat under refrigeration for 3 to 7 days to enhance tenderness.
  • Soak meat in marinades containing wine or vinegar with the heavier flavors of soy or garlic.
  • Serve the meat with sweet or spicy sauces as condiments to temper the wild taste.
  • Trim fat from game meats to remove a major source of the wild flavor.

Soaking the meat in salted water is called brining and it's recognized across the board as the go to method to prep game meats.

This excerpt from FOOD52 answers the question.....

Why Brine?

Brining was originally used for food preservation in the pre-refrigeration era. However, there are two solid reasons why you should brine your meat in this century: flavor and texture. Brining infuses the meat with savory, finger-lickin' flavors, all while tenderizing it to butter-soft texture.

So how does it work?

Let us turn back the clock to seventh grade science class for a moment. Does the word "osmosis" ring a bell? That's how brining works: When you place meat in a bath of salty, flavorful liquid, the solution will travel into the meat in order to equalize the salt levels. This means that, before even hitting the heat, your meat has a higher liquid content -- so when you cook it, your meat will lose the same amount of moisture, but will still end up juicier. 

SOOOOOO...juicier is good!! Obviously, game meat is LEAN and there's a difference of opinion amongst game chefs as to whether what little fat there is should be trimmed or not. The fat, especially in venison, is one of the top culprits for that "gamey" flavor so trim the fat and brine the meat!

Another important thing to remember is DO NOT OVER COOK YOUR MEAT....If you're pan frying or browning, be sure to preheat your pan and coat your meat lightly with oil and sear in all of the juices! Don't use a fork to turn the meat. Those punctures will allow juices to escape! Use tongs to turn the meat instead. I recommend cooking the meat to rare or mid rare and then letting it stand covered for a few minutes before serving. If you're using a slow cooker let slow be the operative word with emphasis on LOW...Cook the meat very slowly at the lowest temp possible to achieve a tender, juicy finished product!!

Homemade Elk and Antelope Chili

So, now that we've established the ground rules for tender, juicy game meat....let's talk recipes!!! The internet is swimming in great recipes for game meat but I found a site with the MOST creative and tempting game recipes I've ever come across! Hank Shaw writes a game food blog called HUNTER ANGLER GARDENER COOK. He's an absolute GENIUS when it comes to preparing game meats. Just click the link and see for yourself!

Here's just one of Hank Shaw's fabulous recipes...Venison with Blueberry Sauce! Just click on the picture to check this recipe out for yourself!

Another from Hank Shaw to tempt your taste buds!! Click on the picture to take a closer look!

I hope that this helps you prepare wild game that you will enjoy...there's no healthier way to eat and it's SOOOO GOOOOD!!

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