Having a successful wild game dinner party not only depends on the right selection of food, but also the execution of the event.
Having the right items on the menu is paramount. Keeping the guests attention and motivating them to come back next year are equally important.
The At-Home Party
There is a greater opportunity to be creative in your own kitchen than in a commercial atmosphere. There is also more leeway to express creativity with the food dishes. A private wild game dinner party allows you to know your guest more intimately than an open-invitation event.
Consideration to local traditions, individual tastes, regional staples and variety should be given so you can please everyone. The menu should include some straight-forward items that will not be too intimidating to uninitiated guests. A pork dish made of wild hog is a safe standard. Offering a variety of sauces makes wild hog appealing to individual tastes. Barbeque sauces, apple sauce and something bold like a jalapeño glaze or a horseradish-based sauce can be the variety you need to please individual tastes.
When you know the guest more than casually you can plan for someone’s dietary needs by preparing a certain dish more than one way, or adding a small-portion extra dish specifically for the person that has a restricted diet. You should ask all the guest to let you know if they would prefer a specific dish.
A personal party is where you can venture out of the standard fare. Frog legs, rabbit, duck, goose and other less common game you may have access to can be offered in smaller portions. These dishes can also be prepared very specifically.
Desserts can vary widely in variety and quantity since you have some idea of what your guests will want. A flavor that tends to compliment most wild game dishes is banana; I suggest a banana nut cake with caramel icing. Other complimentary desserts include cranberry-based dishes such as a cranberry salad, and any variety of ice cream.
To round out your private wild game dinner party, you need theme-based entertainment and information. If you have non-hunting guests you should offer a pre-made informational flyer about how they too can provide themselves and enjoy a wild game dinner. Don’t forget to suggest they participate in a hunter safety course before they try hunting for the first time.
You can encourage your guests to bring photos of their past hunting season successes so you can each take turns sharing a story and showing the photos.
Large Scale Events
If your wild game dinner party is an open event for social or fundraising purposes, you have some special challenges.
First and foremost, you need to prepare a lot of food quickly and economically and it must appeal to a broad variety of people. A large grill is one of the easier ways to get the cooking done. Early preparation, marination and portioning is necessary to meet the time restraints you will encounter.
More from Wide Open Spaces
The menu should include a salad, two to three staples with one alternate for special dietary needs, a kid-focused dish and a dessert. Any game that can be served as steak is straightforward for this purpose and if you avoid breading or seasoning with sugar-based products, you should be in the clear. Sauces and dressings will allow guests to add their personal touch.
To keep the salad game-oriented, consider something guests can add to the salad such as shredded game bird pieces or wild boar bacon bits.
A second main item also needs to be something easy to prepare in bulk, so anything in a sausage format is suggested for this role. An alternate to attract the picky eater or those with dietary restrictions could be a fish or shrimp offering that is baked or broiled. Game that is prepared in burger or sausage form can serve as a kid friendly dish.
A dessert that is easy to prepare in bulk, fairly inexpensive and complimentary to most game is a red and green salad. Make your version of red and green apple pieces with celery, chopped walnuts, cranberries or raisins and add whipped cream or mayonnaise.
Formula for success
A unique consideration for an open-invitation wild game dinner is the execution of the event itself. The formula for success is to get them in and get them out.
Allow the guests to arrive and linger only a short time before food is served, present the meal, and kick it off in style. Depending on the nature of the event, the fundraising portion can take place while folks are eating, and should be closely tied to the message of wild game.
There are plenty of ways to do this, whether it’s through a raffle, prizes, auction or something else. Get creative and think of something that will get attendees to remember the event.
This advice on planning a perfect wild game dinner party will ensure you have a successful get together this year and next.