Covered in camouflage, sweat and determination, you’ve exercised patience and calculated movements for just the right moment – but the victory of your catch is only the beginning. Grilling your wild game is the pièce de résistance to your hunting experience. Grilling wild game is an excellent way to bring out the meat’s natural flavors and tenderness. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your hunt!
Farm to table is about to get a whole new meaning. Bison meat has a remarkably similar taste to beef; however, it has a courser texture and slightly sweeter flavor. It is also high in iron, which gives it a unique “earthy” flavor, as some people describe it. This iron content also gives raw bison meat a beautiful bright red color on the inside. When cooked, it sears and browns just like cattle meat would, and looks nearly identical if plated side by side. Here’s some additional bison grilling tips.
Recipe to try: Bison Burgers
Preheat the grill to medium heat, or 350 F. Finely chop up some onion, green peppers and mix 1lb of ground bison in a bowl. Add seasoning salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Make four patties out of the mixture – hearty enough for a burger but flat enough to ensure it cooks all the way through. Spritz both sides of each patty with cooking spray and grill for four minutes on one side, then flip and grill for three minutes on the other, or until the internal temperature reaches about 135F.
Elk is a great alternative to beef for those looking to trim up for the summer because it is leaner and low in fat. Its mild taste blends well with pork fat to bolster its flavor profile (that is, if you’re not on a diet of course.) Elk meat differs to beef in appearance due to its dark red color. Some folks are intimidated to cook elk for fear that it ends up too gamey, but as long as you take the necessary steps in processing your animal, elk easily can be made at home on the grill. It is one of the best steaks for grilling and produces tender, delicious results!
Recipe to try: Bourbon-grilled Elk Steak
In a bowl, mix the following: ½ cup bourbon, ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup yellow mustard, and 1 tbsp. steak seasoning. Whisk until well-blended. Generously slather your elk steaks with the marinade, or let it soak for a few hours in the fridge so that the bourbon gets a chance to really infuse into the meat. With your grill set to medium heat, grill the steaks for 7-10 minutes on each side.
TIP: To lessen the gamey flavor, soak your elk meat in lime juice, buttermilk, saltwater, white milk, vinegar, or lime juice before freezing them. Allow plenty of time for them to thaw prior to grilling. Or, you can use a defrosting tray to expedite things.
Venison has a rich, earthy taste, the result of it feeding on various fruits and foliage in the forest, whereas beef assumes a fattier taste because of its hay/grass-centric diet and sedentary lifestyle. The texture is less juicy than beef, but also smoother and firmer. Your jaw may endure a bit of a workout as you tear into a center cut. Grilling venison can be tricky because it’s so lean and therefore you have very little wiggle room between perfect and overdone.
Recipe to try: Grilled Venison Tenderloin
TIP: The loin, or backstrap, is a better cut for fast grilling. And you’ll want to keep it whole as opposed to cutting it into slices first because it will be less likely to dry out.
Coat the backstrap in olive oil and salt. Set it aside for 20 minutes at room temperature while you fire up the grill. Feel free to layer on barbecue sauce, or any other seasonings you desire. Keep the grill cover open and let it cook from 5 to 8 minutes, depending on how hot your grill gets and how thick the loin is. Once you have a good sear and visible grill marks, flip and repeat on the other side. Once it’s cooked to your liking, remove from heat and let it rest in a tent of foil to preserve the juices.
Grilled Bison Tri-Tip, Santa Maria Style
1 bison tri-tip (about 2 pounds)
for the “California” Rub:
2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
1 1⁄2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1⁄2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 heaping teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle the meat with rub and massage tenderly. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour or longer. Remove from the refrigerator an hour before cooking.
Preheat oven to 300°F and prepare a hot charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high. Place the roast on the grill and cook for 6–8 minutes per side or until an even char develops on all sides. Grill for no more than 20 minutes total.
Remove the tri-tip to a baking sheet or oven-safe dish. Cover with tinfoil. Place in the oven for 10–20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 120°F (rare). Do not overcook.
Rest the roast on a cutting board for 8–10 minutes, during which time the internal temperature should increase to 125°F (medium rare). Slice against the grain. The center should still be distinctly red. This is perfect. Bison is supposed to be cooked less than beef and is ideally always served medium-rare.
Serve with grilled veggies of your choice and enjoy.