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8 Wild Game Recipes Perfect for Your Thanksgiving Table

istockphoto/Shaiith

While it’s convenient to pick up a frozen turkey from the grocery store freezer, instead you might consider including wild game for Thanksgiving.

Since the first Thanksgiving in 1621, hunting and fishing have played a significant role in the celebration.

This year, take pride in planning your Thanksgiving menu around what fall’s great harvest has provided for your family.

If you weren’t able to harvest a wild turkey, don’t worry.  Here are 8 wild game recipes that are perfect for Thanksgiving.

1. Bear Meatloaf

Montana Outdoor
Montana Outdoor

What you need:

  • 3 pounds ground bear meat
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 cans french onion soup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain broth from two cans of the french onion soup and set the broth aside.
  3. Minus the third can of soup, mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Add the onions from the first two cans of soup and mix well.
  5. Place mixture in a roasting pan, then pour the broth and last can of onion soup over top.
  6. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

Recipe courtesy of Montana Outdoor.

2. Squirrel Pot Pie

Miss Homemade
Miss Homemade

What you need:

  • 2-3 cups cooked squirrel, chopped
  • 1 cup potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2- 9″ pie crusts

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter then sauté the diced vegetables along with garlic and onion powder.
  3. Sprinkle flour over the cooked vegetables and mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the chicken broth, half-and-half and white wine. Pour it over the vegetables. Stir until thick and bubbly.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the frozen peas and squirrel meat and let simmer until heated thoroughly, stirring occasionally.
  7. Pour entire skillet contents into prepared pie plate. Cover with second pie crust, the put a slit in the top crust.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Outdoor Channel.

3. Willie Robertson’s Garlic Frog Legs

Louisiana Kitchen and Culture
Louisiana Kitchen and Culture

What you need:

  • 1 bulb garlic, cloved and peeled
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Bunch of frog legs
  • Butter
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Flour
  • Beer
  • White wine
  • Seasoning
  • More seasoning

What to do: 

  1. Soak the frog legs in beer for at least 1 hour. *light beer not recommended
  2. Remove the frog legs from beer and season them with Duck Commander’s Zesty Cajun seasoning, pepper and blackening seasoning.
  3. Coat the frog legs generously in flour, then set aside.
  4. In a large oven-safe skillet, melt the butter and grapeseed oil on high until bubbling. Be careful not to burn the butter.
  5. Working in batches if necessary, brown frog legs on both sides then remove them from the skillet to rest. *watch out for splatter.
  6. Preheat over to 300 degrees.
  7. In the same pan, leaving any remnants still inside, add the white wine, garlic and mushrooms. Saute.
  8. Return the frog legs back to the skillet and cover with a lid.
  9. Place the entire skillet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of: Louisiana Kitchen & Culture.

4. Salt-Crusted Striped Bass

Thomas Keller
Thomas Keller

What you need: 

  • 1- 4 pound striped bass, gutted and scaled with fins removed
  • 4 cups kosher salt
  • 8 large eggs whites
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 fennel bulb, fronds only
  • 2 thin lemon slices
  • 2 thin orange slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, stir salt and egg whites together. Set aside.
  3. On a baking sheet, make a layer of the salt crust mixture roughly 1/2-inch thick and slightly larger than the fish. Pat down to form even layer.
  4. Stuff the back end of the fish cavity with parsley and fennel using a 2:1 ratio of parsley to fennel.
  5. Next to that, lay the citrus slices inside the cavity following the shape of the belly.
  6. Center the fish on the salt crust, then thinly coat the entire fish with the remaining salt crust until completely covered.
  7. Roast for 40 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through.
  8. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Before serving, remove the fennel and parsley and discard. Then, remove the citrus slices and re-use as a garnish.
  10. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Chef Thomas Keller.

5. Stuffed Venison Backstrap

Cabela's
Cabbala’s

What you need: 

  • Venison backstrap
  • Cabela’s Open Season all-purpose seasoning
  • Butcher’s twine

Marinade:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pepper, to taste

Stuffing:

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1 cup mozzarella

What to do:

  1. Roll out cut loin to 1/2-inch thickness
  2. In a large Ziploc bag, mix marinade ingredients and insert loin. Let it marinate for 6-8 hours.
  3. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  4. Remove loin from marinade and lay flat. Spread stuffing evenly on top.
  5. Roll loin and secure with twine.
  6. Rub outside of loin with olive oil and season with Cabela’s Open Season all-purpose seasoning.
  7. In an oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat, sauté two tablespoons of olive oil then brown loin on all sides.
  8. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes.
  9. Garnish with chopped basil and lemon.

Recipe courtesy of Cabela’s

6. Turkpheasquail

Tiffany Haugen
Tiffany Haugen

What you need:

  • 1 wild turkey, deboned
  • 1 pheasant, deboned
  • 1 quail, deboned
  • 1 1/2 pounds country pork sausage
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Seasoning rub of choice

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Lay each bird out butterfly-style, skin-side down.
  3. Sprinkle turkey with seasoning, then add a thin layer of half of the sausage on top.
  4. Lay the pheasant, skin-side down, on top of the turkey, then add the remaining sausage.
  5. Place the quail, skin-side down, over the sausage layer.
  6. Starting at the turkey legs, roll up toward the breast while carefully pulling in the sides of the turkey.
  7. Seam side down, place the entire thing in a roasting pan.
  8. Surround it with onions, carrots, celery and rosemary.
  9. Coat with a light layer of olive oil, then sprinkle with more seasoning.
  10. Roast in oven for 2 1/2 – 3 hours until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Be sure to baste with drippings every half hour.
  11. Allow the turkpheasquail to rest for 30 minutes for carving.

Recipe courtesy of Tiffany Haugen.

7. BBQ Brined Pigeon

Tiffany Haugen
Tiffany Haugen

What you need:

  • 4-5 pigeons, dressed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

What to do: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together except for the pigeons and butter.
  3. Cover birds completely in brine. Or place pigeons and brine in a large Ziploc bag.
  4. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours; Turn the birds halfway.
  5. Remove pigeons and empty all cavities of liquid. Discard the brine, but do not rinse the birds.
  6. Generously coat the birds in butter and place breast-down in a casserole dish.
  7. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes
  8. Turn the birds breast-side up and brush with more butter.
  9. Roast for an additional 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 150-160 degrees.

Recipe courtesy of Tiffany Haugen.

8. Thanksgiving Leftover Bites

Georgia Pellegrini
Georgia Pellegrini

What you need:

  • Leftover wild game meat
  • 12 strips of bacon
  • 12 tablespoons stuffing
  • 12 tablespoons mashed potatoes
  • 12 teaspoons cranberry sauce

What to do: 

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Lay bacon strips out on a cookie sheet.
  3. Place one tablespoon of stuffing on one end of the bacon followed by a tablespoon of mashed potatoes, then topped with a teaspoon of cranberry sauce.
  4. Roll the bacon up around the filling.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Georgia Pellegrini

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, it’s time to take an inventory of your freezer to see which of these wild game recipes you can add to your Thanksgiving menu.

NEXT: Wild Game Recipe: Crockpot Venison Enchilada Soup

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8 Wild Game Recipes Perfect for Your Thanksgiving Table