If you’re a fan of Dr. Travis Stork or Jennifer Ashton, you probably have some venison cooking right now. Lightly fried, covered in tomato sauce, topped with a slice of Mozzarella, you get it. Well, you’ve just thought about one out of hundreds of Italian recipes. I’ve prepared for your pleasure six things to know about using wild game food for Italian-Inspired recipes.
Wild game meats are not only becoming more popular, but they’re way more expensive when compared to conventional meats as well. An easy guess is that they are costlier because of their rarity and unique earthy taste. Still, there are also increasing claims of health benefits.
Deciding on what Italian food to eat can be very hard since every region in Italy has its culinary specialty. If you’re going to make an Italian-inspired recipe with wild meat, here are things to know.
1. Understand the Meat Cuts and What Suits the Most
- Wild Boar Stew: muscles with lots of tissues like Shank and Neck are best for stew
- Grilled Back-strap in Sweet Bacon: Little fat or no fats
Game isn’t tricky to cook if you’re familiar with it. But it can be challenging if you’re not used to it. A cook that is familiar with conventional meats may find it challenging to cook a lump of game meat properly. If you use the wrong part of game meat in a recipe, it won’t taste so well, which isn’t right, as it can’t prevent you from fully appreciating the unique taste that comes with game meats.
The situation is this way for many people, which is why they don’t like wild game food. Slow cooking is best for muscles like shanks and necks. Backstraps have little or no fat in them and become gristly in a stew, and grilling would be best for them.
2. Avoid Overcooking
The internal temperature is essential in cooking wild game. It must be reached or exceeded during baking, roasting, or whatever method of cooking you use to destroy bacteria. Bacteria puts you at risk of contamination or infection. When roasting meat and poultry, use an instant-read meat thermometer to monitor internal temperature accurately and use an oven temperature lower than 325°F (162.778 Celsius).
Cook meat to an internal temperature of at least 160°F. Game bird breast meat requires less cooking, so an internal temperature of at least 165°F(73.8889 Celsius) is suitable.
There’s only one hard-set rule with cooking wild meats: Even when you can cook it with many cooking methods – grilling, slow-cooking, and more, try not to overcook it. As previously mentioned, wild game is very lean, which means that if you cook too long, it will dry out.
3. Organs Aren’t So Bad After All
You may think this is a bad idea already, and that you didn’t go hunting in the wild with your water-resistant vortex optics viper just to have organs. But wait until you try a wild Boar’s, Antelope’s, or Duck’s liver in your Mazzafegati. The liver, the heart, intestines are just too good to miss. Other organ options include Grilled or Pan-fried venison, deer, or Elk’s breast.
4. Wild Game is Healthy
Many people consider wild game meats to be healthier than the conventional ones if you disregard the possible contamination and infections wild animals may get in the wild. Traditional meats contain more fat, usually over 20% more than domestic animals. That’s because domestic animals are less active than those in the wild, relatively lower in Omega-3 fatty acids, and higher cholesterol.
Wild meats are devoid of steroids, antibiotics, and other additives that conventional meats get exposed to during processing. Wild animals have minerals and vitamins that are important for the human body like zinc and iron, because of their natural habitat and green vegetation.
5. Birds Are Best Cooked in Pieces
If you’re not using the appliances required for sous, vide to cook your bird, then cut it into pieces to get the best of it. Sous vide means cooking food wrapped in a water-resistant material under vacuum for a long time at low temperatures. Birds have different temperatures required for cooking each part correctly. If you cook in pieces, the parts that need a short period go off when well cooked, and you can proceed with the rest. It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking mallards, pheasants or wild turkeys, cut them down.
6. Maintaining Color
If you do care about maintaining a solid red color in your meat, apply nitrite. Nitrite is responsible for the development of the red color. Nitrate is sometimes used as a source of nitrite. The further reduction of nitrite to nitric oxide ensures that the myoglobin, which is responsible for storing the oxygen in muscle cells, is prevented from releasing oxygen.
7. Ripening or Aging
Ripening is the practice of leaving carcasses to stand for several days, to enhance its flavor, tenderness, and complete its curing process. Maturation occurs when enzymes break down or degrade complex proteins in the muscle over time. The flesh of wild game and other meat animals undergo progressive changes after slaughter that affect the tenderness of the cooked product.
Finally, here’s a list of wild game food recipes you can try out.
- Stuffed Venison Backstrap
- Venison Stew
- Three Cheese Venison Burger Pasta
- Slow Cooker Venison Roast
- Grilled Apple Cinnamon Marinated Venison Steak
- Venison Chili
- Duck Poppers
- Duck Gumbo
- Wild Turkey and Dumplings
- Turkey Jerky
- Green Chile Dove Enchiladas
- Dove Nuggets