It seems the rest of the world is finally catching on to something hunters have known for years. While free-range, antibiotic free, locally sourced organic meat may be a new fad for foodies everywhere, hunters have been serving this high-quality, low-fat protein to their families for years in the form of wild game. And unlike your local organic grocery store that stocks beef, pork, and poultry, the options for eating wild meat are seemingly endless; elk, moose, sheep, deer, quail, ducks, geese, and doves are just a few of the options available to hunters who fill their grocery cart in the great outdoors. And, when properly handled and prepared, wild game meat rivals anything farm-raised in terms of flavor.
Aside from the health benefits and various cuisine options, there’s also another very important reason why more people should look to wild game as a source of protein. When properly managed, wild game populations provide a renewable resource and since they are adapted to the environment in which they live there’s very little damage to the ecosystem. Funds from hunting licenses, tags, and fees help support efforts to protect wildlife and their habitat and provide jobs. Plus, hunting is a family affair that gets kids off the couch and fosters an appreciation for nature and the outdoors.
Related Stories: Check Out these Boat-In Campgrounds for a Quieter Camping Experience
Camp Chef is one of the leading providers of stoves, grills, smokers, ovens and cooking accessories and the versatile, lightweight design of their products makes them ideal for cooking at home or in the field. Or, as Camp Chef’s Brooks Hansen puts it, the company’s products are “perfect for everything from the back porch to the backcountry.” I’ve had the opportunity to hunt with Hansen in camp and his simple, delicious recipes will help you turn harvested game into world-class cuisine. He’s shared six of his all-time favorite recipes with GetZone readers, and regardless of what or where you hunt there’s a dish on this list that will help you elevate your wild game cooking.
Crispy Venison Stir Fry
A delicious, healthful dish that mixes a variety of flavors with lean venison.
- 1 1/2 cups venison, trimmed of silverskin and cut into 1/2 to 1″ cubes
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup peanut, safflower or canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh gingerroot, minced
- 1 1/2 cups bell pepper, any color, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
- 3 green onions, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon apricot or peach preserves
- 1/2 teaspoon hoisin sauce (optional)
- dash Sriracha (or any hot sauce)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Combine flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Add cubed venison and toss to coat evenly. Shake off excess flour mixture.
- Heat oil in a 14″ Camp Chef Skillet over medium-high heat. Add venison, a few pieces at a time, and stir-fry until evenly browned and crispy. Remove browned meat from skillet, place on paper towels and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat, add sesame oil, carrots celery, garlic, ginger and bell pepper. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add broccoli, green onions, soy sauce, vinegar, preserves and hoisin sauce. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Return venison to the skillet and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add Sriracha as desired and stir in sesame seeds. Serve over warm rice or Asian noodles.
Related Stories: Video: Fun Summer Party Trick: How to Skin a Watermelon!
Duck Tacos with Cherry Sauce
This non-traditional take on the classic taco is both simple and delicious.
- 4 large brined duck breasts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 chopped white onion
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup chipotle sauce
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup cherries
- 2 cups beef stock
- Camp Chef Mango Chipotle seasoning
- salt and pepper
- goat cheese
- shredded cabbage
- 1 blood orange
- 4″ corn or flour tortillas
In a Camp Chef 8″ Dutch oven add olive oil, onion, garlic, chipotle sauce, red wine, and cherries simmer on med heat for 10-15 minutes. Add beef stock, let it reduce and thicken. Season duck breasts with Camp Chef Mango Chipotle seasoning, salt and pepper, lightly oil Camp Chef Flat Top Griddle and cook duck breasts to medium rare. Remove breasts from griddle and let them rest for 10 minutes, place tortillas on the flat top and lightly heat them. Slice duck breasts and serve on tortillas with the cherry sauce. Garnish with goat cheese, cabbage and blood orange.
Related Stories: 25 Camping Hacks That Are Truly Genius
Reverse Seared Venison Backstrap
The venison backstrap is one of the choicest cuts of game meat. This recipe should be tacked up in every deer hunter’s kitchen.
- 1 venison back strap lion (12″)
- olive oil
- Camp Chef all – purpose seasoning/rub
Trim loin and remove all silverskin. Rub olive oil on the exterior of the loin. Season loin with Camp Chef all-purpose seasoning and lightly season with salt and pepper. Set Camp Chef SmokePro pellet grill to the Low Smoke setting (175°) and start Camp Chef SmokePro Sear box and set to medium-high. Smoke loin until internal temperature reaches 100° (about 35-40 minutes). Remove backstrap and place on the sear box, sear for 1 minute per side. Slice and serve with a medley of grilled vegetables.
This extremely simple and delicious quail recipe works well with other small game birds.
- Fully cleaned quail
- Hi Mountain Game Bird and Poultry Brine
Brine Quail in High Mountain Game Bird and Poultry brine for 12 Hours. Split quail down the back. Pre-heat Camp Chef Smoke Vault to 200°, add Apple wood chunks and smoke quail for 2 hours. Serve quail as hors-d’oeuvre or over a spring salad mix.
Mango Bacon Pigeon
Pigeon? Yes, pigeon, and you’ll love it. This fast and easy recipe is also great with quail and doves.
- 8-10 boneless pigeon breasts (or 16-20 boneless dove breasts)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 fresh mango
- 12-15 strips bacon cut in half and partially cooked
- Wooden toothpicks that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes
Combine olive oil with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, pepper and hot sauce. Add pigeon or dove breast, cover, and marinate for 2 hours. Peel mango, remove seeds and cut into strips. Lay bacon strips flat and add a piece of mango and a dove breast (or halved pigeon breast). Wrap the bacon around the mango and breast, secure with a toothpick, and grill until the bacon is cooked and the breast is medium-rare.