At one time or another, members of the human race have consumed every animal on the face of the Earth. This diet has included crustaceans, insects, fish and fowl as well as the usual suspects of cows, chickens and pigs. These days, our quotidian diet has become a little more pedestrian. Intrepid folks, however, are always on the lookout for something a little different. Here are a few “gamy” and quite delicious suggestions for these gourmands when it comes to meat:
Venison – Most hunters swear by this strongly flavored deer meat although many first-timers may find the flavor a little off putting. Still, smoked venison – as steaks or chops – is an excellent alternative to beef once in a while. As the Native Americans knew, deer meat dries very well and can be made into plain jerky or the nut and raisin infused pemmican.
Bison – Almost mainstream these days, this animal provides everything from simple ground meat suitable for burgers to first-rate ribs and filet steaks. It is an excellent substitute for beef as it is a rich tasting red meat with a fairly coarse texture but is generally a bit more expensive. Bison burgers are available in most major supermarkets and are an excellent way to introduce yourself to this delectable meat.
Wild boar – Collecting the meat of this critter is not for the faint of heart and should only be undertaken if one understands how dangerous a live boar can be. The average person – who is not a hunter – can find this meat at almost any specialty butcher. It has a more pronounced pork flavor than a regular pig and will be uniquely flavored depending on what the boar had eaten for most of its life.
Rabbit – Much to the disgust of immigrants from Europe where rabbits were considered vermin, this meat was much used as a substitute for chicken during World War II. These days, the meat enjoys a somewhat more glamorous reputations with many chefs using it in broths and soups because of its rich flavor. In addition, rabbit is a healthful alternative to other meats as it is higher in protein and lower in fat than the others.
Pheasant – Indisputably, this bird has the gamiest flavor of any fowl but it can also be easily combined with a multitude of other flavors both savory and sweet. Pheasant is often served with a sauce made from its own thickened juices as well as those whose base flavors include cherries, blueberries or lingonberries.
Alligator – While this relatively tame tasting meat definitely does not “taste like chicken,” it could definitely be favorably compared to tilapia. Try it coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried or as filets broiled in butter and lemon. Alligator is also great grilled – seasoned with just salt, pepper and a little sage – for char marks and then finished in the oven. The taste is not exactly fish-like but the texture certainly is.
Elk – Probably the darkest meat on this list and also the gamiest, elk is an acquired taste for most folks who are not avid hunters. In fact, most elk recipes call for a cream-based sauce to help mitigate the strong taste. Regardless, it does make a hearty stew and will fortify the body – and soul! – better than most other meats.