Dining on the Fruits of our Harvest

“In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.” -Theodore Roosevelt

After all the planning, preparation for going on a big game hunt, and proudly bringing home our prize to the wife, neighbors, and other people, feasting is what it is all about.  Field dressing the animal, and aging and marinating are important factors in great dining of the game.

Wild game, the perfect food. 

I am firmly convinced cooking of big game well done is one of the most violated errors that is responsible for ruined meat and that of dissatisfied diners. Big game meats, especially steaks, roasts and loins are best when cooked rare to medium rare.  Cleanliness and sanitary handling are key elements to successful cooking and dining.  There is the fear of bacteria but deer and elk are not known as trichinosis carriers.  Cooking meats to a surface temperature of 160 degrees will prevent bacteria penetration as the meat is seared.  Careful washing of hands and utensils is an excellent precaution.

“A hunt based only on the trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be.” -Fred Bear

We have several friends that we dine with when we have roasts or steaks.  Low and slow are the two ways we like to cook the meat.  One of the major preparations we use is marinades.   We marinate all of the steaks and the roasts.  I have read that if the animal is properly aged, a marinade is not necessary to make it tender.  The moose we just brought back from Alberta was hung for 24 hours.  Then it was butchered, packaged, and sharp frozen to -40 degrees centigrade.  We picked it up the next day. The last two elk harvested were hung for 24 hours and then packaged and sharp frozen.  In the case of the moose, it would be highly unlikely for us to stay in Alberta for 10 to 14 days just to age the moose.

 I have yet to age an animal that I have harvested.  In the neighborhood I live, the neighbors would find it somewhat unseemly to hang a deer or an elk from a tree in my front yard. 

“My dinner is still in the woods.” -Unknown

Marinades not only flavor, but help tenderize the meat.  Anywhere from a few hours to several days for big cuts will do the job.  We also use a device that pokes holes into the meat. That helps to get the fluid to penetrate the meat better.  We also soak the meat with the marinade in the refrigerator.  On some steaks we use a meat hammer to pound the daylights out of it.  This should be a thick piece of meat and should be flattened out somewhat.  Since game is a very dense meat, this helps break down the fibrous tissue. 

Acetic acid liquids make the best way to help tenderize the meat.  Vinegar, citrus juices, your favorite red alcoholic fruit of the vine, and yellow liquids that come out of pop top cans make great bases.  For spices, we use lots of garlic, pepper, soy sauce, onions, bay leaf, dry onion soup mix and commercial steak seasonings.  The cook at the lodge used Montreal Steak Spice, a commercial product, and it really added a nice flavor to the meats.  If you don’t have the time, use a really spicy Italian salad dressing mix and doctor it up if you feel the need.

“A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact.” -Aldo Leopold

We use olive oil in many instances with our marinades.  Oil will carry the flavors of seasonings and protect the meat from burning when grilling.  Sautéed onions, garlic and other herbs will enhance their flavors.

We will cook roasts all day in a crock pot in a seasoned broth.  We also use cooking bags and roast for a long period of time at low temperatures to achieve tenderness.  With steaks we broil, grill, or bake them at 350 for about 25 to 20 min.  This is after we have soaked it in a favorite marinade over night.

If some animals are good at hunting and others are suitable for hunting, then the Gods must clearly smile on hunting.
-Aristotle

Coke-a-Cola Marinade

1 cup of coke, pepsi, or similar soft drink
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoonful garlic powder
1 tablespoonful onion powder
1 tablespoonful chili powder
½ teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients together and soak meat at least up to 8 hours or overnight. We use this on steaks or roasts

Roast Marinade

½ cup oil
2 tablespoonfuls wine Vinegar
4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
Garlic (we use a lot)
2 tablespoonfuls lemon juice

Marinate meat 12 – 24 hours turning whenever.  We also use this on steak.

Moose Marinade

½ cup olive oil
juice from one orange
1 tablespoonful garlic powder
1 tablespoonful onion powder
4 tablespoonful Worcestershire sauce

Put in freezer bag, seal, and soak overnight in a refrigerator.  Marinate meat for 24 hours.  We use this on roasts or steaks and for all four legged game animals with hooves.

Montreal Peppered Steak Recipe

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 lbs boneless game steaks

After mixing the ingredients, place steak in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish.  Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

Jill’s Marinade

½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoonfuls wine vinegar
4 teaspoonfuls Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoonfuls dry mustard powder
garlic (we like a lot, use whatever you can stand)
2 Tablespoonfuls lemon juice

We use this as a soak for roasts and a marinade for steaks.  With roasts we use a meat thermometer.  With steaks we like to bake them depending on the thickness 15 to 20 min at 350 F.

Roasts

We use these recipes for a lot of roasts as they are easy.  Put it in the crock pot and leave it all day. We have used this on Caribou, Elk, Deer, Buffalo, and Moose.

Crock pot Roast

Ingredients:
1 (4-5 lb.) wild game roast 
1 (1-oz.) pkg. dry onion soup mix
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed beef broth
1 (12 oz) can of your favorite yellow  alcoholic liquid that comes in pop top cans. 
2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:
Place beef roast in 3.5 to 4 quart Crock-Pot Slow Cooker
In medium bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and pour over roast
Cover and cook on low setting for 8 – 10 hours.
Slice and serve

Crock Pot BBQ Game

Ingredients:
2-3 pound game roast
1 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Place game in a slow cooker
Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over meat
Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Slice and serve
(Optional) Shred the cooked game by pulling it apart with forks and use French rolls or sandwich buns for great sandwiches.

Crock Pot Game Stroganoff

Ingredients:
3-4 pound game roast
2 cans Mushroom soup
1 can water
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 can (14 oz) beef broth
1 package (8 oz) fresh sliced mushrooms
Egg noodles
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoonful garlic salt (I always add a little extra garlic to the mixture)
Pepper to taste

Directions:
Place roast in Crock Pot
add the soups and water mixed together
Add remaining ingredients except sour cream
Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours
Cook the egg noodles and set aside
Shred the meat, then add the sour cream
Cook until heated through
Serve over the egg noodles.

Roast Game

Ingredients:
3-5 pound roast
Celery salt
Ground pepper
Garlic powder
Strips of Bacon
(Optional cooking bag)

Directions:
Brown the roast all over in hot oil
Season well with seasonings
Place the roast on a rack in a baking pan
Lay several thin strips of bacon over the top
Roast at 425 F for about 15 minutes per pound of meat
Place in cooking bag (Optional)
Use meat thermometer Rare = 130-135 F, Medium Rare = 135-140 F, Medium = 140-145 F.
Baking the roast beyond 145 will cause the roast to be a little dry or tough. 

Eat well my friends.  Wild game is nature’s perfect food and a gift from God for those of us who venture into the wilderness, spend great sums of money on gear, trips, licenses, and tips.  When we sit down and enjoy a great meal of wild game, thanks is given for the opportunity in this country to hunt great and small beasts and enjoy the bounty that we have been given. 

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank

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