NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Hunting for the Perfect Recipe for Wild Game

Hunting for the Perfect Recipe for Wild Game


          After the big hunt, all hunters are eager to prepare a meal from the results of their efforts. Unfortunately, the most succulent wild game can be destroyed by improper handling in the field or improper cooking at home. The handling of the meat from the harvesting to preparing can make a major difference in flavor and safety of the end product. 

          Game animals lead active lives. As a result, their muscles are relatively lean. This makes game meat drier than domestic meat. For this reason, it is important to use cooking methods that add juiciness and flavor to the drier cuts of game meat. Game meat is generally cooked the same way as a similar cut of lean beef or poultry.

          And despite wild game being drier, one of the first steps in cooking wild game is to trim away fat before cooking.  Wild game fat tends to become rancid quickly and hold flavors contributing to "gamey" flavor. In addition, game fat tends to be very solid giving a "greasy" feeling in the mouth (especially if food cools off after cooking). Then replace that game fat with other fats to keep game meat from becoming too dry. You might rub a roast with salt pork, butter, margarine, beef suet, bacon fat, vegetable fat, sweet or sour cream to add moisture, richness, and flavor or baste very lean cuts with additional fat to improve flavor.

           Roast or braise in a slow oven preheated to 325-350EF for about 25 min/pound of boneless meat. Roasting at oven temperatures exceeding 375EF will result in toughening of wild game. With those low temperatures, use a meat thermometer to be sure meat is done.

          Marinades are a cook’s top secret when cooking wild game. Marinades can tenderize, enhance or disguise game flavors to suite your taste.  A variety of "off the shelf" products are available for marinating meats; these include ready-made marinade mixes, French dressing, tomato sauce or undiluted tomato soup, tomato juice and fruit juice (such as lemon, pineapple, or a mixture of many juices).  Do not reuse the marinade- if you wish to have additional marinade for dipping sauce, etc. it is safer to make a second batch.


Venison Stroganoff

2 pounds cubed venison

1 cup boiling water

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup butter or shortening

2 Tbsp. flour

3 beef bouillon cubes

1 cup dairy sour cream

          In a large skillet, sauté fresh mushrooms and onion in 3 tablespoons butter until golden brown. Remove and set aside. Brown meat on all sides (15 minutes). Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water; pour over meat. Add tomato paste, mustard, and salt. Simmer 45 minutes or until meat is tender. Combine flour and water. Slowly stir into meat mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat. Add mushrooms, onions, and sour cream. Heat but do not boil. Serve over hot rice or noodles.

Serves 4 to 6.


Venison Meat Balls

3 slices soft bread

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 lb. ground venison

1/4 c butter or margarine

2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. flour

1/8 tsp. oregano salt and pepper (for gravy)

1/8 tsp. basil

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp. pepper

          Break bread into small pieces and combine with ground venison, salt, oregano, basil, pepper and onion. Mix thoroughly. Shape into small balls about 1 inch in diameter. Chill for 15 to 20 minutes. Brown in butter or margarine, turning frequently. Cover pan. Turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove meat balls. Add flour, salt and pepper to pan drippings. Mix well. Add milk, stirring constantly and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Return meat balls to pan with gravy and simmer another 5 minutes. Serves 4.


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