A Begginer's Guide to Make Perfect Game Meat
Why Eat Game Meat?
Game meat is the meat of any animal that’s hunted for food instead of raised on a farm. In that sense, it’s closer to the kinds of meat that would have been available in the Paleolithic: generally higher in protein and lower in fat, but higher specifically in Omega-3 fats. Some game meat also has special nutritional qualities (for example kangaroo, which is very common in Australia, is extremely high in conjugated linoleic acid). Wild game also doesn’t raise any concerns about hormones or antibiotics accumulating in the fat, since the animal was never given any.
The nutrition alone would be a good reason to eat more game meat, but it’s also a good way to keep your diet interesting and potentially have a lighter impact on the planet (depending on what you buy and how you get it). And yes, you still can find game meat even if you don’t know anyone who hunts and have no interest in hunting yourself.
Common Types of Game Meat
All kinds of animals are hunted for game, depending on the area of the world. If you’re in the US or Canada, here are some common game meats that might be available in your area:
- Wild duck
- Bison (sometimes also incorrectly called buffalo)
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to get completely different animals; it really depends on what’s available in your area. In northern Canada, try caribou. In Australia, look for kangaroo!
Vernon Blackmore, who owns both The Table and The Anchor in Woodbridge, is a huge fan of goat and game curries.
“We cook a lot of curries at The Table and The Anchor and are always happy to experiment with different meats. The great thing about game is how much it can absorb strong flavours and you can still taste the meat."
“Goat is a good example of this and goat curry in the Caribbean uses powerful spices such as tamarind, scotch bonnet, cumin and more. Slow cooking is the key here to tasty tender meat but the depth of spice marries well with the goat."
“I use guinea fowl very differently, using the fresh fragrant flavours of a Thai curry. Fresh mint, Thai basil, coriander and kaffir lime leaf are perfect with a little coconut milk, and again the flavour of the guinea fowl will still come through."
Some tips to make perfect Game Meat
Pick your right game meat
First, you need to ensure that you only use the freshest, quality ingredients. Once you have sourced a reliable supplier for your game (unless of course, you hunt yourself) you need to know exactly what to look for when buying your meat.
If you are buying game birds, opt for those that look plump and have a pleasant, gamey smell. If you want to cook deer or any other type of game such as deer, look for meat that has both a dense texture and deep color. Always remember that younger animals and birds are naturally more tender and those that fed on a natural, quality diet render the most flavorsome meat.
Correct cooking method
There are a number of ways in which game can be prepared with the cut of meat largely determining the method. Naturally tougher cuts like those derived from the neck, shank or shoulder of a deer can be braised and then used in a delectable soup or stew.
Hindquarters are the most versatile part of the animal and can cut in strips across the grain to use is designer salads and sandwiches, cubed for pies and kebabs, or cut into steaks, tenderized, and grilled. If you are cooking game birds such as duck, pheasant, and goose consider searing it in a hot pan before oven roasting it until the skin is crispy and the meat juicy.
Be careful not to overcook
One of the most common mistakes both home cooks and chefs make is to overcook their game. Regardless of the cooking technique, you settle on it is important to never cook your meat for longer than is required. Even just a few minutes unnecessary cooking time can render your meat rubbery, gamey, and almost unpalatable.
Tender cuts of game like loin and tenderloin are typically served rare to medium-rare and literally require a couple of minutes over high heat to reach the correct state. Due to the fact that game is generally a lot leaner it may be necessary to continuously baste it during the cooking process to ensure that it does not dry out before it is ready to be served.
Always rest your meat after cooking
If you want your game meat to be juicy you have to allow it to rest after cooking. Most cooking processes will leave the exterior of the meat dry. While your meat is resting, however, the moisture will spread to the entire cut of meat ensuring that all areas are as juicy as the centre.
The ideal resting period depends on the size of the piece of meat although it is typically between 10 and 20 minutes. The most adequate way to rest game is to cook it till the internal temperature peaks and then tenting it in foil to keep warm while the meat fibers relax. This technique works as well for deer as it does duck and can easily be used to rest large quantities of meat at a time.
Game meat is an interesting way to expand your culinary horizons and put something new on the table – all nutritional considerations aside, it’s just kind of cool to cook something you’ve never tasted before. You may like these relevant information:
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