It’s 5 a.m. on a Saturday. You’re warm and comfortable in bed, and the world outside your window is a dark and teeth-chattering 30 degrees. Those of us without livestock to feed wouldn’t budge unless the house were on fire. If you, however, roll out of bed, chug some hot coffee, bundle up from head to toe and bolt out the door to sit in a tree stand or blind for a few hours, you must be a hunter.
Hunters are passionate about the sport for many reasons. For some, it’s the connection to the outdoors it offers. Others like that it’s a great way to spend quality time with friends and family. Something all hunters appreciate, though, is that it’s an economical, self-sufficient way to stock the freezer with meat.
Wild game has also earned a stamp of approval from nutrition experts, who praise it as a great source of:
- Lean protein
- B vitamins
If your freezer is packed from hunting expeditions, we have inspiration to take your quarry from trail to table.
Great Recipes for Game
On the hunt for good game recipes? A few tips and tricks will help you cook wild game properly, so we’ve gathered a few recipes that account for its unique traits.
Before you get started, however, we suggest you review these general game guidelines:
- Use a meat thermometer to achieve an internal temperature of 165 degrees. This tip is useful in two ways: It tells you when the meat is safe to eat and, because it’s so easy to overcook game, it’s also your cue to stop cooking. Cooking temperatures hotter than 375 degrees should be avoided for the same reason.
- Brining or marinating these meats adds great flavor and helps them retain moisture and tenderness.
- Yes, wild game can sometimes taste, well, gamey. The secret to fixing this is to trim any extra fat and soak the meat in milk, buttermilk or apple cider the night before preparing. Brining or marinating is also helpful. Choose recipes with lots of flavor to mask any lingering gaminess, and even the most finicky of family members will become fans.
Make the most of your meat with one of these popular options.
- Pheasant Schnitzel
- Smoked Pheasant and Wild Rice Soup
- Don’t have smoked pheasant? How about Pheasant Soup with Egg Noodles?
- Pheasant in Mustard Sauce
Chronic Wasting Disease? Oh, Deer!
If you’re a deer hunter, you’ve probably heard about the concerning rise in cases of chronic wasting disease. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website contains a comprehensive list of field dressing and processing practices to reduce human-assisted spread of the disease among wild deer.
Although there are no known cases of CWD spreading from deer to humans through venison consumption, KDWP warns that all deer should be tested for CWD before eating because research suggests the possibility exists. Some meat lockers will only process deboned carcasses for this reason.