Wild Game as it Moves Between Buds and Palates
I am neither a Chef nor a connoisseur of food, but I do know what tickles my taste buds and sooths the palate. Last night as I pushed back from the table after consuming my share, ok maybe it was a little more then my share, of roast from off Tom’s bear, I got to thinking of all the different kinds of meat we have eaten the last few years and tried to put them in order of best to not so best. I soon figured this is a tough job because so much depends on how its cooked, who cooked it, what its cooked with and the condition of the animal itself at the time it was killed. Then I realized if Sue or some one else made this list out that ate the same meal I did, they would have a different list. So this is just me tasting and thinking.
First off, lets go fishing. My mouth starts to do convulsions just thinking of Walleye or perch. It doesn’t get any better then that. Little crappie fillets aren’t far behind. One of my most memorable fish dinners was when one of my hunting partners surprised us and packed several pounds of fresh Tuna into elk camp. So I realize when the taste buds get something they aren’t expecting, that immediately pushes it up the list too. I also enjoy Pike if someone knows how to get rid of the Y bones. Trout in butter and pepper wrapped in foil and cooked in coals of the campfire has its special appeal too. There again I realize the aesthetics of the time of consuming has a lot to do with it.
Now when it comes to birds, I don’t have a whole lot of experience, but of all the birds I have consumed there is nothing like a Chukar feed. Pheasant and Ruff Grouse are delicious and Hungarian Partridge isn’t far behind. I’m going to have to concede my history with water fowl is very limited. When we moved from Oregon to Idaho fifteen years ago, I went to move the freezer and found it was over half full of ducks. Tom loved jump shooting ducks along the river and evidently our ability to make them palatable was lagging behind his ability in stocking the freezer. They did finally disappear as where we moved didn’t offer him the same access to jump shooting as he had. Turkeys? I’m still waiting for the first one to make it to the cooler!
Game animals are tough for me as they all seem to be special. Probably at the top of the list though would have to be antelope as they are tender, fine textured and sweet. But if I was to have only one kind of meat I believe it would be elk. Its just plain good and has a taste you can’t get tired of. About 30 years ago I brought home a large calf elk and we smile about it even today as it had on it about 70 pounds of the most tender tasty meat you can imagine. You never needed a knife to cut it, just awesome. Mule deer comes right behind elk. Mountain goat has a wonderful taste but much of the meat tests the strength of your jaws. I guess you can call it tough and tasty. Sue’s moose? We had heard so many tell us what great meat it was but it took us a little while to appreciate it. She shot it in the rut and it just plain stunk. It took us a little while to get that smell out of our nostrils. Then we found it a little on the tough side so we took some into a couple that run a Norwegian restaurant in town and she told us how she cooked it and that old moose disappeared real quick. Whitetail deer I really enjoy, but Sue still has some reservations. Their fat is more marbled into the meat so it is harder to get it out, but I do enjoy a good whitetail steak. Bear meat is probably the mildest of them all. At least spring bear. While cutting it up it has no smell to it at all. A little on the tough side but it has a wonderful taste. It makes great roasts and hamburgers.
When it comes right down to it, it all tastes better then anything that we can get at the local store, which is very minimal . I’ll have to admit if I didn’t love the meat, it would take a lot out of the joys of hunting as there’s nothing better and better for you. Eat Wild!!