Hunters and game cookers everywhere, welcome to The Everything
To begin with, wild game must be properly field dressed and transported to the meat processor in a timely manner. Some hunters butcher their own meat. Most send it out for butchering. Soaking game meat in brine (a mixture of water and salt), milk, or even vinegar can reduce the gaminess, if desired.
Since most game is leaner (there is less fat throughout the meat) than its domesticated counterpart, when this meat is overcooked, it tends to be dry and tough. We recommend cooking good-quality lean wild game to medium-rare for optimum tenderness and juiciness. Cooking to medium doneness is acceptable, too. Medium-well and well done are best saved for braising wild game, when it's immersed in a liquid that helps to keep it moist while cooking.
Game can be grilled, braised, broiled, baked, smoked, roasted, spit-cooked, pan sautéed, and fried. Tender boneless and skinless breasts of duck, turkey, goose, grouse, and other birds are delicious when licked with a hot flame. They may be wrapped with a slice of bacon or prosciutto or basted with butter or olive oil while on the grill. Sear them hot and fast and use a thermometer to test their doneness (135°F to 140°F for medium-rare).
Big-game steaks are also very lean. Most of the gaminess in big game comes from the fat, so any excess fat around the edges of a steak are trimmed off. Quick searing over high heat is the ticket here, too. Marinating in or brushing with olive oil and sprinkling seasonings on the steaks yield wonderful results. A half-inch steak will cook in about 4 to 5 minutes over high heat, turning only once.
Braising, roasting, and smoking are preferred methods for tough game meat, which may come in the form of big roasts, a shoulder, or a leg. It may also come from an older animal. Oftentimes, an older animal is best processed into ground meat. There are ample recipes for ground meat throughout this book. But a good roast that is brined and slowly braised like a stew might be absolutely delicious. For other tough meat, try the delicious soups and stews throughout the chapters. Make them a holiday tradition, and serve them for casual get-togethers throughout the winter.
There are ample short recipes for those who get dizzy looking at a long list of ingredients. But there are plenty of luscious gourmet-style recipes, too, which may require just a bit of effort, but the results are worth every minute of your time.