The 1 Thing You Learned- Cooking Wild Game

I think most of us make a mistake over and over again. We go on a hunt, but don’t make the effort to think critically about 1 thing we learned and will do different next time.

Think about it, how often do magazines write about a hunt, but fail to single out an action item to change in the future? Just 1 thing, maybe something you learned about elk behavior, your rifle setup, clothing, camping system. We can consume all the information we want, but if we don’t change anything, did it really do us any good?

I’d like to start the series of discussions to get us in the habit of reviewing our hunt, and share highlights about the 1 thing we learned on a particular topic. To start, 1 thing I learned is about cooking wild game. While I was in college, we ate wild game nearly every meal to save money. My freshman year the four of us ate one bull elk, one cow elk, and three deer. The only tragedy about this was that we suffered through hundreds of meals that were just OK, but not outstanding.

Like way too many hunters, we overcooked the heck out of how our meat. Maybe it was just a bunch of guys learning to cook for the first time, or leftover traumatic memories of well-done steaks from our childhood, but we didn’t even realize what we were missing out on. I firmly believe we need to cook wild game at least 1/4 less than you would do for the equivalent piece of beef. We don’t need to start an argument about how done is the best way to prepare meat, just that we need to stop cooking it the same as you would domestic meat. Between the lower fat content and tougher nature, you will get much better flavor and moisture by taking it off the grill sooner and letting it rest before cutting.

The one thing I’ve learned about cooking any wild game with hooves is that we need to adjust our perception of the time it takes to cook it when compared to store bought meat. So what is the 1 thing you have learned about cooking wild game? Maybe it is preparation techniques, interesting recipes, or even cooking equipment suggestions so that we can make the most out of our success in the field!


34154
 

D_Dubya

Active Member
Aug 8, 2012
398
791
South Texas
Make sure you have all the sinew/silver skin trimmed off if you’re cooking steaks. Took me several years to realize that it’s ok to loose a small amount of meat to trimming if it makes the meat that much better.
 
Lets start out way before you light the fire!

Take care of your meat. Learn how to butcher it yourself, that's the only way YOU have control!
I've seen lots of game with flies, dirt and hair all over it. If a piece of prime beef was treated this way, it would taste like crap.
What's the consensus on washing your game off with water when you get it back to the shop or camp? I've heard some people say it promotes bacteria growth, but it's also nice to get all the junk off it
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,475
7,269
69
Gypsum, Co
If I am near a garden hose I will hose it off to get any loose hairs or any dirt that may be on the meat. I'll then let it dry before wrapping it up.

When I am antelope hunting I pack a extra 5 gallons of water in my truck just to wash off the animal once I am done skinning it.

If I am not near a lot of water wet rags will also work, it just takes a little bit longer.

I have never lost any meat by doing it this way. I wonder at times when I see a animal being hauled out of the hills in the back of a dusty truck where all the dust and dirt can get all over the body cavity and then they wonder why the meat taste like crap.
 

buckbull

Veteran member
Jun 20, 2011
1,878
1,000
Most of the big game animals I kill are whitetails. I have a wagon that I can normally pull up to a deer really close with my ATV. I take it back to the cabin where I will gut it and then I will immediately wash out with a hose and then hang on the deer pole.

Dad was an steel mill iron worker. He built the wagon in the picture at work during a "slow" time lol.

34209

Not a great pic of the meat pole. Dad took a 4 inch piece of channel and welded a bunch of u-bolts to it. At one time the pole could hold about 15 deer. We ended up having to tear down the old meat pole for the cabin build. We ended up cutting the channel in half when we rebuilt it. We don't have near the hunters using it anymore (most have passed away). Mom added a swing a couple years later(chain on left).
34210
 

MightyMouse

New Member
Mar 23, 2021
9
21
If I am near a garden hose I will hose it off to get any loose hairs or any dirt that may be on the meat. I'll then let it dry before wrapping it up.

When I am antelope hunting I pack a extra 5 gallons of water in my truck just to wash off the animal once I am done skinning it.

If I am not near a lot of water wet rags will also work, it just takes a little bit longer.

I have never lost any meat by doing it this way. I wonder at times when I see a animal being hauled out of the hills in the back of a dusty truck where all the dust and dirt can get all over the body cavity and then they wonder why the meat taste like crap.
I started carrying water for cleaning antelope quarters back at the truck this fall and I'm never going back! Much cleaner meat in the long run, and helps with the cooling process too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Spartan Jake

MightyMouse

New Member
Mar 23, 2021
9
21
Like many have stated here, the more rare the better, especially when it comes to steaks and backstraps. Plus then any leftovers re-heat nicely too. When the meat is over cooked the first time you serve it, I find it has the tendency to taste a little funky, and is extra chewy, when go to reheat your steak leftovers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Spartan Jake