26 January 2021
Every January in my childhood, the meat on my family’s table inevitably shifted from chicken and beef to game like venison, moose and bear with the arrival of snowfall.
Fresh from the butcher, our freezer would be stocked with steaks, sausages, ground meats and pepperettes from the fall hunt, neatly packed in brown paper or vacuum sealed and stowed away to be consumed over the winter months.
We’d have game sausages for breakfast on the weekends; fajita night featured ground venison seasoned with typical Mexican spices; and once a week my father would grill moose steaks instead of his usual beef strip loins from Costco.
Now, decades later and seemingly without conscious thought, something about this time of year always turns my sights towards game meats, as if it was instinctual — despite having lived in a tropical paradise for many years.
Today there are many reasons — besides nostalgia — I choose to incorporate game meats into my diet. Typically, game like venison, elk, moose and bison are dense in protein and nutrients, providing high levels of iron, zinc, vitamin E and beta carotene, while also being notoriously low in fat and cholesterol. As an added bonus, the little fat that you do find in most game meats has an optimum ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids, making game one of the healthiest sources available for “good fats." Of course, there's also the deep rich flavour that can come only from these unique meats.
For those interested in exploring the wild world of game meats, here are five available at Carnivore Premium Meats:
Bison/Buffalo — Very similar to beef, these large grazing animals feed mostly on wild grasses in the vast plains of Canada and the United States. They are an excellent introduction to game meats as the flavour is mild and similar to grass-fed beef.
Venison — A broad term for a variety of deer species, venison is incredibly lean, healthy and has a mild game flavour that won’t overpower the palate. Be careful not to overcook it; lean meats such as venison and elk can be unforgiving.
Wapiti/Elk — Very similar to venison in taste, texture and appearance, elk is another good option for people looking to branch out and incorporate game meats into their diet without shocking their taste buds.
Ostrich — This large, flightless bird has surprisingly dark meat that more closely resembles beef than it does chicken. Treat it just like a steak by seasoning aggressively, cooking on a grill or in a pan, and ensure you let it rest before you slice it.
Wild boar — A distant relative of the common pig, wild boar is leaner, less tender and has a stronger flavour than traditional pork. However, if cooked correctly, wild boar can render incredible results in the flavour department.
This article originally appeared in the January 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.