I am setting the stage for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s exciting online Food Week #NGPCFoodWeek beginning tomorrow, Monday, June 30th and running through the Friday, July 4th. You’ll want to follow us on Facebook or check our other online and social networking sites at least daily to get a variety of cool recipes to help make your Independence Day get-together or summer outing the most enjoyable ever at the table!
In advance of our food week, I thought I’d share some basic information about cooking wholesome, nourishing wild game. A good number of us who hunt have venison, wild turkeys, ducks, geese, and other assorted wild game animals in our freezers. If you are new to cooking wild game meat or haven’t done it for a while, here are some of the basic principles I follow as a veteran hunter and longtime wild game aficionado:
- Game is leaner and drier than most domestic meats, so use recipes that keep it moist!
- Game meat will be tender if you cook it for a short time on high heat or a long time on low heat. Game meat needs to be cooked thoroughly, but is best done medium-rare!
- Younger animals taste better and are tenderer than older ones. Use young game in most recipes; reserve older game for stews and braising.
- Less is better. Simpler recipes are not only easier; they respect the nuances of game meat. Use sauces, spices and seasonings sparingly to enhance, not overpower your game.
- Fresh is best. When a game recipe calls for herbs, purchase them as you need them from the grocery store or pick them fresh from a small herb garden. Old herbs have little taste. Greg Wagner’s favorite herb to use with wild game is rosemary!
- Wines and Wild Game. To keep things simple, use white and rose wines for upland game birds, red wines for everything else.
- Let it soak! Let wild game meat soak in marinades overnight, or at least for a couple of hours. This will help to add flavor and tenderize your meat.
- Rub it in. Sprinkle herbs and rub seasonings on your game meat with your fingers and then let it sit a while before cooking. Brush a light coat of olive oil on meat that has been dry rubbed to help seal in favors and moisture.
Turning free-ranging, organic wild game animals and birds into delicious meals is not a daunting task if you remember to keep your game meat moist, serve it hot and use seasonings sparingly.
Enjoy the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Food Week #NGPCFoodWeek!