_Game Meat

Serves: 5



Browsing through this section, one might think I’ve written a "Wild Game Cook Book". I confess, most of the meat recipes do feature "game" meat in this book. But, every "game" recipe easily converts to the cellophane wrapped meats found in your local meat market. Far be it from me to try converting those meat eaters who just don’t like eating wild game, but read on to find out why I like it myself.

Any gardener will tell you his or her home grown produce tastes much better than any store bought veggies. By the same token, pull the lid off a Dutch oven full of BBQ elk ribs and I guarantee they’ll put the store bought variety to shame. Whether it’s putting sun dried tomatoes on the shelf or filling the freezer with lots of plain white packages marked "Elk Steak", nothing beats the fruits of one’s own labors.

My love affair with game meat goes back to when I graduated from a high chair to a chair with pillows on it to boost me to appropriate height at the dinner table. Growing up in SE Idaho in the 50’s and 60’s dinner menus at the Welch household regularly featured venison along with beef, pork and lamb. Though not in a subsistence situation, venison and pheasants helped stretch the grocery dollars needed for a family of six.

Sitting here many years and many deer later, writing this book, I remember how proud I felt going home after getting my first deer. I know mom quickly got bored with my story but a thirteen year old helping Dad bring home the "bacon" just naturally gets a swelled chest. Over the intervening years I’ve not got an animal every year, but my freezer has never been empty of game meat thanks to other family members or my hunting pards!

Growing up, game meat was a staple on our table, as well as most of the neighbors. About the only folks I knew who didn’t eat it were those few people who weren’t hunters or fishermen. Like a lot of things from our childhoods, I just took game meat for granted.

My education about folks who didn’t care for game meat began in college. My roommate and I asked a couple of gals over to our apartment for steaks one evening. They thought it would be neat to have a couple of guys cook them a steak dinner with all the trimmings. Both of us being from southern Idaho, just expected these gals to be suitably impressed not only with our culinary prowess, but with the fare as well. Wrong! One of these gals would have put a circus elephant to shame with her nose wrinkling ability when my roommate slapped those elk steaks on the grill. To make a long story short, they ate the trimmins’ and we ate steak. Being somewhat slow learners, both of us had to have this same lesson repeated just a month later with two different gals. In both cases we missed the clue of these gals coming from beyond the borders of “meat and tater” land! Rest assured though, this dislike of game meat is not gender specific.

After graduating from college and becoming a wildlife professional, I learned just how many people in our society don’t hunt and have never had the opportunity to eat game meat. I’ve also met a lot of folks who’ve been served game meat and for various reasons didn’t like it. Without first hand knowledge I wouldn’t venture a guess as to "why" they didn’t like game meat, but I can make some guesses based on my own experience.

Not only have I harvested numerous big game animals, but as a game warden I’ve been able to see how others take care of big game animals. By and large most folks do a pretty good job. Yet every year I see animals which, I’ve no doubt if you cooked a steak from, would gag a maggot! One of the worst instances I’ve encountered happened about ten years ago in the Little Lost Valley. It was mid morning on a Friday when I pulled into a camp to check a good size 6 x 6 bull elk.

These fellows had been luckier than most. They’d been able to load the bull whole into a truck. The cottonwood tree they picked to hang it from lacked a branch at the proper height, so they hung it from the next best branch which left the head, neck and one front shoulder still on the ground. One front quarter lacked any air circulation at all. The elk had been field dressed, but not skinned. The tag showed the bull had been killed on Wednesday. I asked the lucky hunter if he thought the carcass had cooled adequately. He replied "sure." Though the October nights had been down into the twenty degree range, the Indian Summer days were getting up to about sixty degrees.

When asked, the hunter had no objection to my taking a carcass temperature. I made a small slit in the hide and inserted a thermometer behind a shoulder blade. Thirty six hours after being killed the internal temperature was still over 60 degrees. Now, you tell me how many repeat customers a restaurant would get if they served beef given the same care?!? I’m not saying the quality of game meat totally reflects the care given in the field, but in my opinion it’s a big first step.

Yet, still others are adamant a bull elk or a big buck taken in the rut borders on being inedible. My personal experience doesn’t support this. A person who harvests such an animal might be wise to put more of it into burger and stew meat and plan to adjust the cooking of other cuts accordingly. To make my point, I pose this question to you, the reader. When fast food chains purchase cattle to be ground up for burgers, do they buy corn fed eighteen month old steers or old stringy, worn-out range bulls?

On occasion I’ve had the chance to serve some people their first taste of venison. Interestingly enough, most are pleasantly surprised, even those who may have previously had an unpleasant experience. Each different game animal will have a distinctive taste. There is no argument game meat differs in taste when compared to domestic meat. Not to be to "hoity toity" here, but having to acquire a taste for something different is not a new phenomenon. As for me, I’ll take a nice elk steak over raw oysters any day!

I don’t know exactly when the "lite food generation" began, but I’m sure it’s here to stay. When we as a society started this long road to health awareness, it became obvious, though it had just three letters, "fat" was now a dirty word. With that realization society began to look towards game meat from a health perspective.

Published figures indicate game meat, on the average, contains less than 50% of the fat found in domestic animals. Even a well trimmed cut of meat from the grocery store yields more fat than the equivalent cut from a game animal due to the lack of "marbling" found in game meats. I’ve known individuals with heart problems who, on the advice of their doctors, limited their consumption of red meat to game meat.

A Back Country Guide to Outdoor Cooking Spiced with Tall Tales - Meat in Camp

This _Game Meat recipe is from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

More Recipes from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook:
_A Lasting Gift
_About The Cooks!
_About the Author
_As Close To Heaven As One Can Get
_Barbeque Texas Style
_Bread And Horse Wrecks
_Brother-In-Law Duck
_Camp Creations
_Camp Crock Pot
_Camp Kitchens
_Camp Robbers
_Campfire Cash
_Chicken ala S*#T
_Chili, The Controversy And The Recipes
_Common Sense And Cards
_Cookin' With Kraut
_Cooking From Cans - Menu For Day 16
_Culinary Bombs
_Don't Critize The Cook...
_Dry Camps
_Fanny Pack Snacks
_Game Meat
_Game Warden Dog
_Game Warden Scramble
_Garlic & Her Poor Cousin "Onion"
_Getting Bread In Camp
_Good Cooks / Bad Cooks!
_Good Humored Cook
_Hank's Spaghetti Sauce
_Hank, Jack And Me
_How To Cook A Coot
_Hungry Ridge Chicken
_Jerky And Smoked Fish
_Las Piedras
_Making Do
_Middle Fork Spareribs
_Modern Day Pilgrims
_No Name Creek Baked Beans
_Pitch In And Pitch Out
_Potatoes aka Taters, Spuds
_Redhot Rhubarb Upside Down Cake - The Story
_Religious Bedroll
_Roast Coot
_Rubs For Meat, Not Backs
_Shoestring Bull
_Something Soft For Dinner
_Sugar And Spice And Other Things Nice
_The Adventures of 'Two-Story Tom'
_Things I Don't Care To Eat
_Twas The Week Before Elk Season
_Two Reluctant Cooks
_Veggies For Camp
_Warden Stew
_Where Do You Buy Scratch

"I must say this is the best recipe software I have ever owned."

"Your DVO cookbook software saves me time and money!"
-Mary Ann

"Call it nutrition software, meal planning software, cooking software, recipe manager, or whatever you want. It is the software I use to stay healthy!"

"Your software is the best recipe organizer and menu planner out there!"

"Thank you so very much for creating such a wonderful cooking recipe program. I think this is the best recipe program there is!"

"I saw lots of recipe software for PC computers but I was having a hard time finding really good mac recipe software. I'm so glad I discovered Cook'n! It's so nice to have all my recipes in a computer recipe organizer. Cook'n has saved me so much time with meal planning and the recipe nutrition calculator is amazing!!!

My favorite is the Cook'n Recipe App.