15 Wild Game Recipes for the Home Cook
If you have a hunter in the family and you're hunkered down at home during the COVID-19 quarantine, then you've likely got wild game meat in your freezer and, now, a reason to put it to good use. From venison, pheasant, and quail, to elk, squirrel, and rabbit, finding good wild game recipes — ones that don't leave you with a dried-up hunk of meat — can be tricky. But you just need to know where to look, and these fabulous wild game recipes have employed all the best tips and tricks to achieve a sumptuously tender and flavorful bite.
Bacon-Wrapped Venison Tenderloin with Garlic Cream Sauce
Thick slices of bacon envelop these venison tenderloins, keeping them tender and juicy, while a lovely cream sauce with cremini mushrooms and chopped scallions ensures a rich, comforting element. It's so luxurious, Huntmom says, "I made this recipe on my own to celebrate my hunter-husband on Valentine's!"
Slow Cooker Venison Roast
No tough, gamey meat here! The slow cooker is a "game-changer," allowing the meat to braise in the savory liquids to tender perfection. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery for a more veggie-forward dish. It's so tasty, reviewers say, they use this recipe again and again for their venison roasts.
Grilled Wild Duck Breast
A simple marinade tenderizes and preps duck breasts for beautiful grilling in this recipe. "A simple way to treat SMALL duck — and it's a HUGE hit! It's like having steak," say Serena & Spencer. "Use the breasts; save the rest of the bird for a stew or stock."
Seared Rabbit with Rosemary Potatoes
Aromatic onions, green olives, fresh sage, marjoram, tomato paste, artichokes, and fresh parsley brown and simmer in the pan with rabbit for a truly flavorful dish, best served with rosemary potatoes. "I'm Palestinian and my mother would cook this for special guests," says IMANKAY.
Grilled Pheasant Poppers
After a quick marinade in pickled jalapeño juice, pheasant cubes are paired with a spicy jalapeño slice then wrapped in bacon and skewered on the grill — and it's a hit every time. "Here's a great way to use and even enjoy the pheasant the outdoorsmen in your life brings home," says Lizzy. "This has quickly become my number-one requested appetizer by friends and family. So simple and so darn good!"
This traditional dish is a classic in Persian cuisine. "A savory stew featuring duck, pomegranate, and walnuts," says Chef John. "This is my interpretation of the ancient classic." Serve it with couscous, pita bread, rice, or even quinoa to soak up all that incredibly scrumptious sauce.
Savory Quail Tagine
Take a Moroccan approach to cooking your quail with the fabulous Arabic ras el hanout spice mixture lending flavor to the meat, carrots, leeks, garlic, apricots, potatoes, and tomatoes — all cooked in a tagine, which is similar to the gentle simmer of a slow-cooker. "If you do not own a tagine, a Dutch oven will work perfectly well," says Buckwheat Queen.
Ground elk meat anchors this belly-warming chili. Onion, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, and green chilies are browned in the skillet and seasoned with chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, and a touch of sweetness from brown sugar. Simmer to meld the flavors, and serve with a Mexican-style cornbread.
Roast Quail with Cured Lemon
Cured lemons are a phenomenon you must seriously consider implementing in your kitchen. Preserved in salt with a touch of sugar, these lemons deliver a mind-blowing level of citrus-forward umami flavor. "You want to make sure each bite of quail has at least a tiny piece of the preserved lemon mashed on to it … it totally makes the bite," says Chef John. "The way just a little bit of lemon draws out the flavors of the meat is a lot of fun."
Rabbit Stew with Coconut Cream
This is a classic Columbian stew of rabbit and vegetables; both hearty and creamy, it pairs nicely with rice. "My family loves when I cook this," says YAELIE24. "Rabbit meat is very low in fat and can be dry-tasting, so it marries well with coconut cream. It is best to cook the rabbit gently till it is falling off the bone."
Elk Shepherd's Pie
This traditional dish from the British countryside is a great vessel for ground elk meat. Delicious veggies and spices are cooked with the meat, then topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes. If you are a cheese lover, sprinkle with cheese towards the end of baking for a melty, cheesy topper.
Flattened venison tenderloin is breaded and fried, and who doesn't love fried meat? Serve it with spätzle dumplings in the German manner, or enjoy it with your favorite down-home sides. "I don't have a clue where my Dad got this particular recipe, but he used to make it during hunting season," says Clint Wigen. "I still make it when the opportunity presents itself."
Quaglie Alla Melagrana (Quail with Pomegranate)
Quaglie Alla Melagrana is an old Sicilian recipe. Pomegranate, oranges, and Marsala wine lend the dish a sweet, citrus note, while garden-plucked mint adds a fresh nose. Slices of pancetta lend a delightful fatty, salty element. The result: a gorgeously balanced taste of traditional Italian cuisine.
Venison Bacon Burgers
Crispy bacon, reserved bacon grease, sautéed shallots, and sautéed garlic are mixed with venison, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg for a next-level burger you won't soon forget. Grill the patties and serve on toasted buns with your favorite fixings — it's hamburger heaven.
Slow Cooker Squirrel and Liver
"Winter in Mississippi means wild game and slow cooking," writes recipe creator FREDPJONES. This version, they say, uses beef liver to bring out the squirrel's flavor, but helps keep down any "gamey" taste. We second the suggestion to "serve with malt liquor." Reviewer onion926 writes, "This was freaking delicious! My finacee and I never would have thought to put liver and squirrel together but it came out awesome."