Game – Challenging Assumptions

Game Birds and Old Cocks.

Game – Challenging assumptions

“All meat benefits from bring cooked in different ways to enhance the properties of it, this depends on several variants – the species, the age, the cut, the preparation, the length of aging, type of aging, the beast itself etc..”

Izzy, master butcher

This is why I get a little annoyed when all Game meat is placed in the category of “Slow roasted/casserole” Of course a wild animal that has spent its days on some remote mountain side eating the meagre offerings that it has to search hard for may well need the long slow approach. But for the vast amount of Game, this is very often not the case. For example, the majority of Venison in this country is harvested from the lush farmland and grazing of our lowlands. In many areas, one of the main reasons why their numbers are heavily controlled is because they are so destructive to our arable crops, or our livestock’s fodder crops. Therefore, this rich diet as well as their naturally free ranging lifestyle produces an incredible tasting, healthy sustainable meat.

The same can be said of Game birds, for example an old cock grouse shot from the moorland tops after several long cold winters, would definitely benefit from the casserole pot. But it would be an absolute travesty to treat it’s younger offspring in the same way.

It isnt just about hanging the meat regardless;

To get the best out of Game meat, it helps to have prior knowledge of the Game in question, this can be provided through the knowledgeable hunter who provides the meat. The understanding butcher than can assess how best to deal with the game – To  hang or not, To cut prime roasting joints, to dice for casseroles? There are many different options that game presents, and there is definitely more to be gained than just treating all game under the same banner of “Slow Roasting”

One of my favourites for summer is a butterflied Roe Haunch from a youngish animal, cooked quickly on the BBQ. We have a great Red Wine and Shallot marinade we use in the shop. I brush this on the said haunch, vac pack it for a few days and then cook it over searing hot coals. It produces a lovely tender sweet meat that is sure to be crowd pleaser.

Some other game recipes that have been a popular choice at BBQ’s include: Peri – Peri Pheasant skewers, Pigeon breasts glazed in orange and honey, even a whole Muntjac, cooked low and slow pumped with cajun butter, served pulled in its own juices.

So next time you fancy something a little different, think a little bit more adventurous and go Game.

This Article was written By Izzy from Izzys Butchers in LLanRhaeader

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