Caribou Gear

Wife not into "game" meat

kevine001

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Joined
Aug 14, 2023
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First off, I'm no expert at game meat preparation but I consider myself a very good cook. I've made venison stew once, let it slow cook all day. Daughter had three helpings. Wife had one, was not a fan. I've had elk burgers, did not turn out well because of low fat content. Recently, friend got a bison and I ground it all with added pork belly fat. Daughter and I loved them. Wife did not dislike but claimed she could tell difference. On archery opener (9/2/23), got my first buck. Except backstraps, the rest I had ground with beef fat added by local butcher. Questions:

1. suggested seasonings for the back straps as I intend to do them in cast iron, pull and cover with foil to rest for 10 mins, then slice and eat. Other than garlic salt, pepper and maybe onion powder, anything else?

2. for the ground, I plan on doing the usual: meat sauce for spaghetti, chili, tacos and maybe even some shepherd's pie. Anyone have wife/family with sensitive palette and use anything special to help with flavor? Thanks in advance. I love eating game meat, but trying to get creative so wife can enjoy it with me.
 
First off, I'm no expert at game meat preparation but I consider myself a very good cook. I've made venison stew once, let it slow cook all day. Daughter had three helpings. Wife had one, was not a fan. I've had elk burgers, did not turn out well because of low fat content. Recently, friend got a bison and I ground it all with added pork belly fat. Daughter and I loved them. Wife did not dislike but claimed she could tell difference. On archery opener (9/2/23), got my first buck. Except backstraps, the rest I had ground with beef fat added by local butcher. Questions:

1. suggested seasonings for the back straps as I intend to do them in cast iron, pull and cover with foil to rest for 10 mins, then slice and eat. Other than garlic salt, pepper and maybe onion powder, anything else?

2. for the ground, I plan on doing the usual: meat sauce for spaghetti, chili, tacos and maybe even some shepherd's pie. Anyone have wife/family with sensitive palette and use anything special to help with flavor? Thanks in advance. I love eating game meat, but trying to get creative so wife can enjoy it with me.
Just watch temps on steaks and don’t let them get above 135 before you pull them off and let rest.

For ground the key is to cook it just until the pink goes away. Then pull it off right away. I usually cook my game meat last for things like tacos and spaghetti. The longer it cooks the more gamey it will get.

I don’t cook beef in my house. We have company over all the time and have never had anyone say anything about the meat but complements.

Game can be an acquired taste for some.

Keep it simple though is my key. Salt, pepper, fresh garlic, and butter.
 
Not sure how/why/what the difference is but my wife did not really care for wild game until we started cooking it with the sous vide and now she actually likes it.

Some people just have a mental block and you might try some of the burger in a casserole or spaghetti without telling her and see if she can really tell the difference.
 
For the back straps i like to mix a little mayonnaise with A1, coat the loin and then season with salt,pepper, garlic powder. The mayonnaise is really just a binder for the steak sauce and spices. The mayo/A1 makes a great dipping sauce as well.
 
It's a different meat than beef. I haven't bought beef in years. She just might need a little time to get used to it, but I'll echo the sous vide. They're pretty great at getting the perfect steak every time. Play around with some different seasonings if she's sensitive to the taste!
 
for dry seasoning, season 24 hours in advance and leave in fridge. try smoking steaks and reverse sear. i season my burgers 24 hours in advance too. most often smoke them prior to searing as well.

but, those are just slightly more special preparation methods, they're not necessary for it to be good. i hate to say it, but you need to feed her ground game and not tell her, i bet she'll have no idea.

at the same time though, some animals are stronger than others, some are more like grass fed beef and unfortunately if she doesn't like it, she doesn't like it 🤷‍♂️

try lasagna. try ground meat on a pizza. stuff where meat is really not the star of the show.

i made an impromptu butter cream sauce for some deer steaks recently. not to cover up any odd flavor, just that a creamy buttery sauce on steak is freaking delicious.

melt two sticks of butter, saute fresh minced garlic and diced shallot, add 2 cups of heavy cream or half and half. add salt, pepper, ancho chile powder, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, and lastly a tablespoon of all purpose flour and cook till it starts to thicken a little. generously top your steak with it. can't go wrong. add gorgonzola or blue cheese to the mix if you're into that... and you should be into that. i just didn't have any.

IMG-3604.jpg

while delicious in it's own right and a great way to complement a steak, it's also a good way to get someone to eat a slab of meat they're iffy on.
 
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The reverse sear is your friend for the back straps. Look it up.

I prefer beef tallow over pork fat for ground unless it’s going to be a sausage of some sort. Longer freezer life is my understanding. And, less concern about doneness in burger if you want to try those again. Don’t be shy about the tallow ratio since game meat is so lean. I also think it imparts more of a beef flavor which might be something the brain better associates with eating red meat (for someone skittish about eating game). Like others said, use it just like you’d use ground beef in pasta sauces, taco mix, and the like. My unrefined palette can't really tell a difference when its just protein in a sauce.

Field care after the shot plays a big role in so-called gaminess. I don’t think I’ve ever had a critter taste particularly gamey.

Back to the bigger question: some people’s brains are just going to be wired to think a wild animal tastes funny even though it doesn’t because of association and not being something they’re accustomed to eating. Anecdotally, we recently fed some venison to guests who have zero experience with hunting or hunting culture and their faces changed once I mentioned they were eating bambi. They probably wouldn’t have batted an eye if I said it was beef from some South American factory farm.
 
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Deer meat is love or hate. I rarely make steaks or roasts, mostly grind it or make stew out of it, something I can season it enough to taste okay. Deer meat does make excellent jerky, can't really taste a difference between it and beef jerky
 
for dry seasoning, season 24 hours in advance and leave in fridge. try smoking steaks and reverse sear. i season my burgers 24 hours in advance too. most often smoke them prior to searing as well.

but, those are just slightly more special preparation methods, they're not necessary for it to be good. i hate to say it, but you need to feed her ground game and not tell her, i bet she'll have no idea.

at the same time though, some animals are stronger than others, some are more like grass fed beef and unfortunately if she doesn't like it, she doesn't like it 🤷‍♂️

try lasagna. try ground meat on a pizza. stuff where meat is really not the star of the show.

i made an impromptu butter cream sauce for some deer steaks recently. not to cover up any odd flavor, just that a creamy buttery sauce on steak is freaking delicious.

melt two sticks of butter, saute fresh minced garlic and diced shallot, add 2 cups of heavy cream or half and half. add salt, pepper, ancho chile powder, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, and lastly a tablespoon of all purpose flour and cook till it starts to thicken a little. generously top your steak with it. can't go wrong. add gorgonzola or blue cheese to the mix if you're into that... and you should be into that. i just didn't have any.

View attachment 291258

while delicious in it's own right and a great way to complement a steak, it's also a good way to get someone to eat a slab of meat they're iffy on.
I’m going to have to try that butter cream sauce!! That sounds like it could go on about anything
 
Try her eating free range, grass fed beef first as an intermediate step to elk or deer.
 
I’m going to have to try that butter cream sauce!! That sounds like it could go on about anything

excellent on grilled asparagus.

basically doubles as a pasta cream sauce too.

do some extra thickening with longer heat and some gorgonzola/blue and you have fantastic sauce for black and bleu burgers or a prime rib.

damn it was good. everybody at the table kept putting more roasted veggies on their plate just so they could keep sopping up butter sauce with em.

old stinky mule deer steak... there was none left on the table for that dinner.
 
No beef here for 17 years and counting. I process all my own meat and what I found works well is to get the meat cooled as quickly as possible, age for 2 weeks if possible, trim and discard all fat and silverskin. I think a lot of the gamey flavor is in the fat and silverskin.. Trimming in this manner takes a bit of time and you lose a little meat. I add 5-7% pork fat to my ground meat. Also do NOT overcook wild game as it turns tough as a piece of leather. Father inlaw says he can't eat wild game, but for some reason he always goes for seconds. Nobody has told him he's been eating deer and elk for 17 years at my house. Nobody will tell him cause he'd refuse to eat here. Lucky me, it took a couple years but wife now prefers deer and elk meat instead of beef.
 
Great info everyone. The only non-ground meat is the backstraps, which I'm deciding between skillet and resting, or smoking to maybe 115-120, then quick sear. I saw the post about 135. IMO, that's a little too done for me. I prefer 120 and resting. Gives me a good rare to medium rare. At least what I think rare to medium rare is!

The rest is all ground with beef fat. Good idea on seasoning the day before cooking to allow meat to take in as much of that flavor as possible. I'll be trying that, as well as the meat sauce/lasagna, chili, taco meat, etc.

That butter cream sauce...omg. Thanks Togie!
 
I got my wife trained to eat it and cook with it a long time ago. ;) Some IS better than others. I've found that it takes a little different treatment when cooking compared to beef. Someone else may differ, it's just my opinion. Some cuts take a quick sear and some do a low and slow. You still need to watch carefully or it will mess up on you regardless. Trial and error is your learning curve.

IF YOU HAVE A SMOKER we have a house favorite for a venison roast. Doesn't matter what kind of roast as long as it's whole muscle and not a neck roast. I season liberally with the same stuff I would put on a steak when grilling. Smoke the roast until it hits 130-135 and refrigerate overnight or at least until it's cold, depending on when you want to eat. This really helps to slice it thin. I run mine through a slicer because it's easy and fast. Nuke the thin slices for 15-20 seconds to warm back up, put on a bun and top with Provolone cheese. Nuke another 15 seconds or so to start melting the cheese and you now have a nice hot roast beast sandwich!
 
Great info everyone. The only non-ground meat is the backstraps, which I'm deciding between skillet and resting, or smoking to maybe 115-120, then quick sear. I saw the post about 135. IMO, that's a little too done for me. I prefer 120 and resting. Gives me a good rare to medium rare. At least what I think rare to medium rare is!

The rest is all ground with beef fat. Good idea on seasoning the day before cooking to allow meat to take in as much of that flavor as possible. I'll be trying that, as well as the meat sauce/lasagna, chili, taco meat, etc.

That butter cream sauce...omg. Thanks Togie!
There goes my roast idea! 🤷‍♂️
 
Salt really is an ambassador for flavor enhancement of other ingredients that you add to it, plus the item you are salting. Maybe salt in moderation.

Another thing I’d do is let the meat sit in a salt brine for a few hours before you cook it. May not work with ground beef but that’s how I got my wife into deer tenderloin. Salt brine, oil marinade and sear to medium rare and rest.
 
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