Hunters often consider moose to be one of the best wild game meats. It's similar to venison, but is generally leaner and has little or no meat flavor. You can prepare moose meat just like you would with beef. Any mountain sheep collected during the warm months, when the rich Alpine pastures are still green, stand out.
Even a 12-year-old ram is as tender as a fish fillet, and the taste is magnificent and cozy. My theory over the years is that the harder it is to harvest an animal, the better it tastes. They are won and every ounce will taste better for it. Many factors influence the taste and tenderness of any game meat.
The season is one of them. A sheep photographed at the end of summer is at the top of my favorites list. However, a ram harvested during routine in November changes quickly and would be comparable to lamb. The difference is day and night, but mountain sheep are still at the top of my list of best foods when it comes to meat.
Part of the reason sheep meat is so phenomenal is because it takes me back to that particular place and time when sheep were hunted and harvested. The memories, the adventure and the satisfaction of winning a ram have a lot to do with the pleasure at the table. After having harvested four species of caribou, I hope to hunt the forest variety to complete the Caribou Slam. It's the meat I crave when there's nothing left in the freezer.
Caribou have fine-grained meat with little or no fat mixed in protein. Fat is stored in the back and under the skin, causing the muscle to become thin. Fresh caribou cooked over an open fire is exceptional. Some fat can be extracted from the back in a skillet to create an incredibly tasty brown crust on meat.
A half-cooked center keeps the steak perfectly moist and tender. Caribou is a meat that should not be overcooked, since it changes its flavor and texture. Hunting time is crucial, as some consider a bull in heat to be inedible. The meat acquires a musky flavor comparable to the smell of wild boar in a pig.
Even cooking a stewed bull steak in the house will force you to open the windows and question your sanity. In most cases, your hunting dog won't find it appealing. I plan to hunt caribou in late summer and early fall. The musk ox was hunted almost to extinction when explorers searched for the Northwest Passage.
Shipments of musk oxen sailed back to England, where the meat was sold as polar beef. The grain is like beef and has an incredible flavor. I hunted bulls at the end of August during routine and during spring hunts, where it's -40°F or colder. The climate and the season do not alter the flavor, which is always exceptional.
The theory that “the harder they are to get, the better they taste” certainly applies to musk ox country. Anyone who has eaten Axis deer meat can testify that it is delicious. It's tender and earthy without a strong matching flavor. It is pale in color compared to other wild game meats.
Axis deer are introduced to many places, including Texas and Hawaii, where they are now abundant and even problematic. Many exotics don't have olfactory glands as prominent as a white-tailed deer. That is, the sticky, stinky tarsal glands that are easy to find in our native deer. Preorbital glands predominate and there is a theory that domesticated or missing glands contribute to better nutrition.
Blue bulls or the nilgai antelope are other good examples of an exotic without a strong matching flavor. They have been compared to a cross between elk and black angus cattle. Part of the reason for this is that the species belongs to the Bovidae family or wild cattle. Exotic species should be classified separately from species native to North America to establish which wild game is best eaten.
Maybe I'll address that another time. The bird shows off white-breasted meat, and even the legs and thighs are light colored. Grilled, fried, smoked, sautéed or roasted, pheasants offer diversity with the same tasty proteins. Even the pickiest of you will enjoy pheasants when cooked to maintain moisture.
The pheasant must be cooked properly to enjoy it (don't let it dry out), but it's not a very difficult bird to cook. A couple of species with honorable mention should be included in the list. The puma (or mountain lion) is intriguingly good. The flesh is very light in color and sweet in taste.
It is often compared to pork because of its flavor and texture. With a stable deer and elk diet, why wouldn't a big cat taste good? All North American cats fall into the category of good nutrition, in fact. The lynx and the wild cat are also light colored and very tasty. Any predator, such as a puma or a bear, is at risk of contracting parasites and the meat must be fully cooked for safe consumption.
It's hard to compare a half-cooked moose steak to a well-cooked bear steak. However, there are many recipes that allow you to enjoy meat cooked at higher temperatures. Dishes that include these game meats tend to cost more than the average beef or chicken because of their rarity and lack of domestication. It would be a significant oversight not to mention the whitetail, which can be advertised as the most consumed wild game in the United States.
So, while I know that every hunter has their own list of the best wild animals, I hope you'll also consider mine. I'll add that of all the different types of wild game I've ever eaten, the rabbit is by far the leanest and driest (and often the hardest). When handled correctly, the antelope is like a wild game veal, rich and tasty, with saline nuances of the habitat in which it lives. Nowadays there is a very exciting movement across the country, in which the non-hunting community is attracted to the world of hunting through an introduction to wild game at the table.
When it comes to cooking wild game meat, you might be interested to know that the guidelines are quite similar to those for cooking any red meat. In general, the Department of Health suggests that you wear protective nitrile, rubber, or plastic gloves when preparing wild game in any way. As mentioned earlier, wild game is very lean, which means that if you cook it too long, the meat is sure to dry out big time. If you're wondering about the variety of cuts available, hamburgers, roasts and steaks are the most common options, and sausages for most game animals are a surprisingly lean option.
But for anyone who delves into the world of wild game, sooner or later the question will arise: what is the best wild game meat to eat?. Axis deer may not be the wildest wild game you'll find in the entire country, but the meat is second to none. Prewett leads a lifestyle dedicated to hunting wild places and cooking wild foods, as evidenced by his website Wild and Whole. .