If it’s worth going hunting for a big game treat, then it’s worth cooking that meat in the proper way. There is a big difference between cooking domestic meat and wild game. Let’s not spoil the gift of the hunt for a misfortune in the kitchen. This is one stew recipe that I picked up more than 30 years ago. It has yet to be outshone by any other wild game stew I’ve made. Start by trimming away as much of the tissue as possible and then get into the kitchen… 

Ingredients
2 lb deer or caribou stewing meat cut in 2-inch cubes
½ cup all purpose flour
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups red wine
3 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
1 cup beef broth
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup sliced white onion
1 large yellow turnip, peeled and cubed
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb canned tomato 
2 tsp salt
8 black peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole 
1 tsp dried rosemary

Instructions

  1. Using a large, shallow mixing bowl, combine the wild meat with next 8 ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 to 8 hours. Drain the meat, reserving marinade. Cover meat with flour in shallow baking pan. In Dutch oven over medium heat, use hot oil to cook meat until browned on all sides. Remove. 
  2. Return chunks to Dutch oven. Add the reserved marinade and heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the meat is tender. One half hour before the end of cooking time, add the potatoes, carrots, turnip and tomatoes. This should satisfy about 5 hungry people.

Big game jerky

Ingredients
2 lb deer or moose meat
1½ cups boiling water
4 onion bouillon cubes

Instructions

  1. Make sure the meat is free of all cartilage, sinew or membranes. Cut strips lengthwise (with grain of meat), just less than 1 inch by 1 inch by 5 inches. In a non-metal container, dissolve bouillon in water. Add the meat when mixture has cooled. Mix to coat. Allow to stand in a cool place for no less than 12 hours. 
  2. Remove meat and place on oven rack in the middle of the stove. Put tinfoil or a pan under meat to catch any drippings. Set temperature at least 125 F. Leave oven door open a couple inches. Leave meat until it is very dry, about 15 hours, turning once during process. Remove, cool and store in paper bags in fridge

Bison sirloin steak 

Ingredients
1 ½ lb bison sirloin steak, 1 inch thick
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup flour
Garlic powder to taste
1 cup sliced white onion
Pinch rosemary
3 Tbsp beef drippings
Pinch thyme
1 tsp salt
½ cup water
½ tsp dry mustard
½ cup strained, canned tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Cut the steak into serving pieces and rub flour well into meat. 
  2. Sauté onions in 1 tbsp beef drippings in a heavy iron skillet. Remove. In the same pan, smear the steak lightly on both sides in the remaining beef drippings. Blend together salt, mustard, pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme, water and tomatoes. 
  3. Pour over the steak and top with onions.
    Cover tightly. Cook over low heat for at least one hour or until done to taste. 
    Don’t invite neighbours in and enjoy it yourself.

Bear in the roasting pan

Once again, do not cook wild meat, especially bear meat, the same as you would meat from a domestic animal. Temperature, cooking time and meat preparation are important to cooking wild meat and paying tribute to the animal that provided to the table.

Ingredients
1 bear roast
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
Garlic cloves (to taste)

Instructions

  1. It is important to trim all the fat and tissue from the roast. Make deep slits and insert the garlic.  
  2. Cover with water and add vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and cook gently for about an hour. 
  3. Remove the roast to the roasting pan or Dutch oven. Place in a preheated oven. Baste with a cup of skimmed hot stock. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low-moderate and roast slowly, uncovered, until well done. Baste frequently with sugar and water.

Fried big game heart 

More often than not, some meat from big game animals is shunned and thrown away. The heart is one such part , though it is tasty and healthy. 

Ingredients
1 big game heart
3 tbsp wine vinegar
1 medium white sliced onion
2 cups red wine
1 tsp prepared mustard
Flour
1 tsp salt.
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp pickling spice

Instructions  

  1. Split the heart in half. Remove all the vents and ducts. 
  2. Mix onions, mustard, pickling spices, salt and 1 cup of wine in a large glass bowl. Soak heart in marinade overnight. Dredge pieces in flour and fry in butter over high heat.
  3. When both sides are browned, reduce heat and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Take a second glass, add remaining cup of wine and sip until the presentation is ready for the dinner table.

The rights and the wrongs of cooking wild meats

To get rid of the wild taste in big game meat, make sure you remove as much fat as possible, as well as any tissue. If you have wild meat frozen, thaw the meat slowly and completely.

Moose meat can be very dry, so add about 1 lb of ground domestic beef to 2 lbs of moose meat. You might also secure a strip of beef fat to the roast. When travelling for Winchester Repeating Arms Company, I came upon many top wild meat cooks. Most suggested that when you plan to cook a steak or roast, you marinate the meat prior to cooking. There are many types of marinades, but for a quick and acceptable marinade, simply mix a cup of vegetable oil in a cup of red wine. Add some of your favourite spices to the marinade.

We will close this week’s column by thinking about your journey through life: Success is relative and individual and personal. It is your answer to the problems of making your minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years all add up to a great life. And I personally will say “Amen To That Brother.”