Here are a few things you must know before the next time you cook.
My kitchen is like a laboratory where I cook and create unique meals from the potpourri of wild bird meat that I harvest. I like to start cooking by using a good marinade with most all game birds that I cook, and whether you plan to bake, pan sear, smoke, fry, roast or crock pot the meat, you need to make sure you have a good base flavor that accentuates the featured protein.
Marinades Made Easy
Some of the best marinades are simple mixtures that you likely already have in your refrigerator. I personally love Italian Dressing, lemon and/or lime juices, wine and hot sauces. These combinations, along with some spices like garlic or onion, can make any fowl delicious. My recommendation for any marinade or brine is at least a 24-48 hour soak, depending on the density of your meat choice.
Other great combinations are found with balsamic vinegar in various flavors. I prefer chili-infused balsamic on darker meats along with a hint of chipotle vinaigrette. Red and white wines work well to add unique flavor, and I like to use soy sauce, Worcestershire, and brown sugar combinations. Don’t forget to add you favorite spices, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and others.
Bacon & Sausage
These two proteins add flavor and essential fats to the lean meat found in most game birds. For example, one of my favorite waterfowl recipes calls for marinated breast meat rolled in brown sugar, encrusted with jalapeño cream cheese and wrapped in bacon or encrusted in sausage, then baked in the oven. One of the main reasons I like to use bacon is to help trap moisture in the meat and, of course, to add a smoky flavor.
Keys to a Successfully Cooked Game Bird
- Moisture: It is important to not dry any wild game out or over cook. You will lose flavors and likely feel like you are chewing on shoe leather.
- Combinations: Sweet & Hot, Sweet & Sour, Tangy & Savory, Spicy & Sweet or Smooth & Rich. All of these things are determined by you, the chef, and can be altered by manipulating your ingredients.
- Extras: Always remember that honey, sugar, cranberries, mushrooms, cheeses, nuts and the like help to bring out the flavor of your game bird meat.