Preparing Game Meat
Wild game is generally a great option for people following a paleo diet and for use in various paleo recipes. Wild game can also be substituted for a variety of domesticated meats in recipes. For example, bison is a great substitute for beef. Wild game is actually an ideal type of meat for people following a paleo lifestyle. It is lean, and naturally organic and free-range. Venison from deer is probably the most commonly consumed of wild game meats in the United States, but other options include elk, rabbit, kangaroo, wild ducks, wild turkeys and buffalo, to name a few. Game meat can refer to both wild animals and wild birds.
Game animals have active lives, more similar to the animal meat consumed by our Paleolithic ancestors, so they have relatively lean meat that is often drier than the meat of domesticated livestock. This is important to remember during the cooking process. When cooking wild game, aim for cooking techniques that will increase the juiciness and flavor of the meat. Meats that have a particularly gamey flavor, such as deer, can be soaked overnight in ice water, or water with sea salt, to reduce the gaminess and give them a milder flavor.
When cooking with wild game, the following tips are helpful to remember:
- Wild game meat is often high in bacteria, so be careful when thawing the meat at room temperature, because it can easily encourage the growth of bacteria.
- Trim the fat before cooking, because the fat of wild game can become rancid more quickly than the fat of domesticated livestock meat.
- Add fats before cooking game meat to prevent the meat from becoming too dry. Paleo-friendly options include duck fat or coconut oil. Rub the meat with the fat prior to cooking.
- For very lean cuts of wild game meat, you can baste the meat with additional fats throughout the cooking process.
- Game meat should be either served very hot or very cold, because when it is served at room temperature it can taste very greasy.
There are two commonly used methods for preparing game meat; dry heat and moist heat. Dry heat includes roasting, broiling and pan broiling. Moist heat includes braising and stewing.
Broiling is best for loin and rib steaks, or chop cuts. Pan broiling is the most effective cooking method for the same cuts of meat. Pan broiling is done by heating a frying pan, adding fat and cooking the meat quickly over a high heat setting.
Cooking by moist heat is usually reserved for less tender cuts of game meat, and moist heat methods generally involve a long period of cooking. Braising is a great cooking method for chuck or shoulder cuts, along with leg, round and breast cuts. Stewing is best suited to shank and neck cuts.
There are a variety of delicious ways to enjoy game meat, and they make an excellent addition to any paleo diet.