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Best Wild Game Meats for Summertime Grilling and Cookouts

Wild Game Grilling

Ditch the angus patties and kick your summer BBQ up a notch with these wild game meats.

It's hot outside, which means it's time to start grilling.

And if you're like me, a burger or hot dog is fine once in a while, but what you really want is something kicked up a notch, and preferably something of the wild game variety.

I devised a quick hierarchy of wild game meats that cater well to the backyard cookout, which hopefully gives you the inspiration needed to whip up your own favorite meal for yourself and your family this summer.

Deer Meat

Wild Game Grilling

Probably the most common wild game meat and the easiest to introduce to your non-hunting friends is venison.

Try soaking filets in a marinade then wrapping them with bacon before grilling. Or coat the entire venison backstrap with a flavorful rub before smoking. Some of the best venison recipes are the simplest - just be sure to remove any trace of silver skin or fat and avoid overcooking.

While whitetail is perfectly delicious, many proclaim the best deer meat comes from axis deer. With a low fat content, axis lacks the gaminess of other meat and its tenderloin might be the best cut of meat you'll ever enjoy from a deer.

Game Birds

Wild Game Grilling

For friends who aren't a fan of red meat, grill up some game birds. Quail is a frontrunner, duck grills well, and even dove breasts can excel with a touch of open flame.

My favorite game meat that most closely resembles chicken is pheasant. The meat is pretty versatile, and I've had great success grilling teriyaki and barbecue pheasant.

Wild turkey meat can be tough, but breast meat smoked low and slow will rival your Thanksgiving Butterball.

And duck poppers-cream cheese and duck meat-stuffed jalapeños wrapped in bacon-are always a crowd pleaser.

Other Big Game

While most hunters will have at least one vacuum-sealed pack of venison steaks or a wild turkey breast in their freezers, the lucky ones will have a wider selection of the tastiest big game meat perfect for summertime cookouts.

The best meat-wild or domestic-I've ever tasted is moose, followed closely by elk. While some game animals like antelope tend to be tough and requires a lot of care to remove gamey flavor, moose and elk boast a much milder flavor and more tender cuts of meat.

Grilling Wild Game

While you should always take proper steps to ensure meat is properly cared for, cooking wild game is not as challenging as many make it out to be. Game meat can often be ground or cut into steaks and treated almost exactly as you would treat beef or pork, with a slightly different finished product.

You can cook just about any of these meats on a charcoal or gas grill, in a pellet grill or smoker, and even over a live fire.

Choose your cut and scope out some new wild game recipes for a fun take on summertime cookouts.

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NEXT: 5 BEST VENISON JERKY RECIPES

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Best Wild Game Meats for Summertime Grilling and Cookouts