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Wild Game Cookery


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Wild duck , and goose,(in my opinion) is best not eaten..Bad stuff..Terrible taste,,,

Its so bad I stopped hunting it , because if I am not going to eat it , I am not going to kill it...Domestic is very acceptable....

Bud...

Not at all. You just need to learn how to cook it. I've cooked it for people expressing exactly the same opinion you have. They used to hunt them but didn't like to eat them. They are now coming out for hunts and taking back full limits of birds to their kitchens. If you cook it past med-rare it will taste like liver. Except for the legs. They need low and slow till falling off the bone.

Now goose breast I turn into ham, corned goose or sausage. It tastes like very tough, dry beef otherwise.

If you have been eating sea ducks or sewage lagoon ducks then I understand the sentiment.

Canvasback Sashimi with braised legs:

canvasbackmeal2.jpg

Edited by sjemac (log)
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My fish wholesaler had two brace (four birds) hanging outside his premises and told me they were going to sell game in the run up to Xmas.

As I had spent quite a bit on fish he only charged me £4 for the lot.

Now I don't normally gut any birds but my wife was busy so she implored me to have a go. Well I looked at a Youtube video and it looked reasonably easy, except for me it was not. It took an age, and it was obvious from the smell that they had been hanging for more than a few days.

Two of the birds had been shot in the hind quarters (legs) and that part of the flesh had turned blue. Am I to presume blood has penetrated the flesh and spoiled it? I am prepared to discard the "blue" parts, any ideas? Is it still edible or has it been spoiled?

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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sjemac, do you hang all the geese you shoot or do you first inspect and sort based on level of damage? For example, I would be fairly hesitant to hang a gut-shot bird for a week.

Absolutely inspect them. I had 48 birds we shot last week and about 8 of them were breasted out on the day they were shot due to being heavily hit or hit well back. Birds with shot in the legs or breast were cleaned after about 3-4 days and only the perfect ones (hit in the head/neck - no broken wings or legs) were left for the full 7-10. Certain birds like wigeon and gadwall are pond weed eaters around here so they get cleaned up in a day or two. The barley fattened mallards and geese are best hung as are the diving Canvasbacks and Redheads.

David, discard the blue parts. They may be edible but probably not palatable.

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  • 1 month later...

Woodcock, you don't see one for ages then two come along! The first one I saw was at Moseley Farmers market last weekend. I knew fellow egulleter Nickloman was looking for this rare little game bird. So I messaged him and within 15 minutes he'd come and snaffled it, dedication indeed. I'm glad he got it because he's far more enthusiastic than me about them. I bought my favourite pigeon and wild duck instead.

But by pure accident in the week I was offered the second one by a friend who's off on a long holiday and was clearing out his freezer. He couldn't remember where or when he bought it, but assured me it was this year. Anyway, it looked in fairly good condition so I took it. I knew that Woodcock are not normally drawn but I only learnt from Nick that it's because the birds defecate when they take flight. That's why you can roast them whole and scoop the innards out to spread on toast. I had it with beetroot, quail eggs and a marsala pan reduction. Delicious tasting meat, rich and gamey especially with the innards. You can see it's little heart just on the corner of the bread:

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gallery_52657_6885_82681.jpg

That plate is outrageous! You've made my day.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Thanks Peter, can you believe this was breakfast today?! That's why the eggs, it's not breakfast without eggs. I forgot to mention that there was a smear of butter under the pancetta and I roasted the bird for 25mins in a hot 200c oven, basting twice.

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Did you eat the brain? Last (and only) time I had woodcock, the head was served split in two, all the way down the beak. The brain had an excellent flavour.

I had a chew on it but brain is brain and these are such small birds, couldn't really say if it had an excellent flavour or not. If I had to guess it would be just like roasted duck brains, of which I've had plenty, quack! Isn't it strange that there's such ritual about eating this particular bird:

- Don't draw them

- Tuck the head under or spear the beak through the body to roast them

- Scoop out the innards and spread them on toast

- Split the head open and pick out the brain

It seems that a Woodcock is like an English Ortolan.

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It seems that a Woodcock is like an English Ortolan.

Good things in small packages, eh?

There's no shame in concealing a delicious dinner that features a head on the plate. It's all circle of life good karma.

<Edited for grammar>

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tonight, Wild Scottish Hen Pheasant "Vallee d'Auge," (with Calvados and Cream).

Pheasant 012.JPG

I sourced the Scottish Pheasant from D'Artagnan. They offer all kinds of wild game birds, including pheasant, grouse, partridge, wood pigeon and even have a supply of Wild Scottish Hare.

I sauteed the pheasant in a little butter and then put it in a roasting pan with a couple of strips of bacon across the breast to keep it moist. The pheasant roasted in a 450 oven for about 30 minutes, basting occasionally with some of the bacon drippings. I also added unpeeled pearl onions to the roasting pan before it went into the oven. (I also added some fried potato balls back to the roasting pan once the sauce was finished).

While the pheasant was resting, I skimmed most of the bacon fat off the pan and added about 1/2 cup Calvados. Lit the Calvados to flame off the alchohol,(and almost singed the eyebrows), then added a cup of heavy cream and some fresh thyme.

The pheasant was slightly gamey but very delicate in texture, almost what I would imagine a young chicken to taste like. Delicious.

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  • 1 year later...

I usually make meat pies every winter for the holidays, and I always look forward to making them because they are different every year, depending on what meats I have on hand.

This version has 7 species in it: chicken (an old rooster and hen from a friend's yard), pork (a bit of belly for moisture), canada goose, squirrel, snowshoe hare, starlings, and pronghorn (courtesy of a friend's success in Wyoming). Every time I have to clean a squirrel I swear I'll never harvest one again, only to recant after cooking it: they're just so succulent! I cooked all the meat in the pressure cooker in 3 batches, re-using the same cooking liquid for every batch. The cooking liquid is lightly seasoned with salt, onions, dried savoury, thyme and pepper. After cooking the meat is separated from the bone by hand and shredded by paddling the mixture in the KitchenAid for a few minutes. During the mixing stage I often add a cup or two of the cooking liquid, this helps to keep the meat moist. The crust is a standard all-butter pie crust (I use a recipe from the Pie and Pastry Bible), with a bit more salt owing to the savoury nature of the pie. Just to gild the lilly, I grease the pie pans with duck fat.

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Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

I made the rabbit pâté from Bouchon, substituting snowshow hare for the rabbit, and substituting 3/4 of the chicken liver for canada goose liver. I don't have a terrine dish, so I tried tightly rolling it in plastic wrap, then vacuum-sealing that and cooking it sous-vide at 150F for about 2 hours. I had to make 4 rolls (about 2 inches in diameter), since getting a nice tight package with the saran wrap method is pretty tough. Texturally, the terrine was pretty good, although it didn't really hold together very well (I attribute this to not weighing it down after cooking, again because I have no terrine dish, and also because I didn't line the terrine with anything). Flavour-wise, it was a big hit with my family: full, rich flavour, but not gamy/musky at all.

This was the first time I bothered to save my goose livers: I pledge to save all waterfowl livers from this point on...

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Mallet -- re: the succulence of squirrels, have you ever had squirrel and dumplings? Marvelous stuff. I have not hunted squirrels in years, though, since I shot one out of a tree and went to pick him up, only to discover I had only stunned him. Said discovery made when he bit through the web of my hand between my thumb and forefinger. Put me off hunting squirrels for good, but I'll happily cook any that someone else kills.

ETA: And the meat pies look marvelous!

Edited by kayb (log)

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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One of my favourite squirrel preparations to date was indeed squirrel stew with drop dumplings (from the Coco cookbook). The recipe called for rabbit, but honestly I think it was better with squirrel. My least favourite part about hunting squirrel (haven't been bitten by one yet) is that you get the occasional one with fleas and/or ticks (I've only ever seen ones with red-legged ticks, so no Lyme disease). I now freeze them whole for about 2 weeks and this effectively gets rid of the ectoparasites and the ick factor.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Mallet -- re: the succulence of squirrels, have you ever had squirrel and dumplings? Marvelous stuff. I have not hunted squirrels in years, though, since I shot one out of a tree and went to pick him up, only to discover I had only stunned him. Said discovery made when he bit through the web of my hand between my thumb and forefinger. Put me off hunting squirrels for good, but I'll happily cook any that someone else kills.

ETA: And the meat pies look marvelous!

Long ago I decided to only pick up the squirrels I shot with leather gloves on after I saw the size of their teeth! I also only pick them up by the neck from behind so even if they revive after the initial shot, they can be firmly held and throttled by the neck. So far haven't been bitten.

Mallet, your pate needs some fat to hold together. Chicken livers just do not supply enough fat. I do not use wild goose livers in a pate as they and most wild game is very lean. A ceramic terrine is very useful and then the pate can be cooked in a water bath.-Dick

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Revive after the initial shot? Tell me where these zombie squirrels live so that I may never find myself in those woods :biggrin:

As for the terrine, I'm not sure fat content played a big role. I had some pork fat in there, and the terrine also had binders in the form of bread + milk. I'm not convinced a difference in the fat content of the livers alone (chicken vs. wild goose) could cause the texture issues I observed. I say yes to wild livers!

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Squirrels like many other game animals and birds go into an initial shock when first shot and if the first shot is not lethal, they will 'come to' and be active for awhile but they will probably will eventually succumb to bleeding out and death but some may survive.

Bears can take hours to bleed out if not an initial fatal shot with distressing consequences to the hunter if not prepared.-Dick

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My SO and I shot a couple of deer on New Year's Day. I got a button buck, and he got a doe. Firsts for both of us. Luckily, we had an excellent teacher to show us how to clean, skin, remove tenderloins and loins, and remove quarters. We've eaten the tenderloins from both deer, already. I cooked them in a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat until the surfaces were a nice caramel brown, and then sliced. They ended up about medium rare to rare. A little salt, and mmmmmmmmmmmmm. No pictures, unfortunately.

The rest of the meat is in two coolers, on ice, until I can finish processing and vac packing the steaks and roasts, and gathering up all the trim to grind. Our teacher told us to get as much of the fat off as possible, as it doesn't taste good, and can go rancid quickly in the freezer. I hadn't heard that.

I'm looking forward to cutting up the rest of the venison and, of course, eating it!

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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I have always gutted, then hung, skinned and deboned while hanging from a gambrel rack. This allows one to get the meat away from the bones but does not allow for traditional US cuts where saws are used to cut through bones. Trim all fat, silver skin and sinews before packaging and make no sausage or ground meat. The fat and bones can concentrate the flavor of the browse your deer was eating and may not be pleasant. Not only does this make for easier prep later but takes up less freezer space.

With the advent of CWD in Wisconsin, this has now become the recommended way to process a deer.-Dick

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"Sausage hides the character of the venison and I prefer to work with that character. Ground meat if prepared yourself can very very good but it is my understanding that for both commercial venison sausage and ground meat, fat is added from some source which I don't want. The other reason is habit, I have never had anyone process my venison. During the processing we trim and then package the trim as stew, if needed we can then grind later.

In terms of CWD, the State will examine your deer for Prions but you have to get the head to a Registration place that takes heads. Your are assigned a tag with number and then about 1-2 months later you can check on the DNR website for the results. So far, no CWD but its coming I bet.-Dick

Edited by budrichard (log)
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