With the opening of hunting season, some ladies of the house and newbie hunters are asking how to cook wild game. Let me see if I can shed some light on the subject.
As I was growing up, my daddy owned and operated a hunting preserve in central east Tennessee. I was quite often called upon to prepare some of the meats that were brought home that the hunters didn’t take home with them. So I’m somewhat knowledgeable on this particular subject.
All wild game should be carefully dressed and completely washed. If it’s been in the cooler and not prepared for several days after being killed, it needs to be washed with soda water and allowed to soak in that soda water for one hour or more before cooking. Two teaspoons of soda to two quarts of water is the proper proportion for doing this.
If properly cleaned and soaked, that strong taste that some dislike can be avoided. The game flavor of rabbit, squirrel, venison, mutton, buffalo, wild boar, and some kinds of wild pheasant and duck can be completely tamed by soaking the dressed meat for several hours in salt water, or vinegar and water, or in beef broth that several vegetables and herbs can be added to. One gallon of water, a few slices of onion and carrot or a tablespoon of cloves and one-half cup of vinegar and one tablespoon of whole peppers makes a good marinating brew. Chopped green peppers or orange or lemon peel can also be used if that suits your taste. You’ll also need to cook it slower than you would domesticated meats.
In dressing rabbit or squirrel, be careful that no hair comes in contact with the meat. Most of the fat should be removed from the game before cooking because much of the strong flavor of the meat is in the fat.
Boiling rabbit or squirrel for twenty minutes before frying or broiling makes the meat more delicate in flavor than it would be if fried without boiling. Vegetables that have a stronger flavor such as onions, turnips, peppers and celery, are good to serve with wild meat.