Game Meat Cooking Recommendations

Since Cooking with game meats can seem intimidating to some at first, we have put together some recommendations on how to cook some of our most popular game meats. These recommendations are only meant to get you started cooking with Better Meat and we encourage you to be creative since there are numerous ways to enjoy our farm fresh game meats.

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Venison & Elk

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American Buffalo

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Small Game

 

Venison and Elk

Farmed Venison and Elk is one of the healthiest meats that you can enjoy. It is different in taste and tenderness to hunted venison. This makes Farm raised Venison and Elk less overwhelming to prepare and cook. Below, we have outlined a few tips for cooking farm raised Venison and Elk. 

It’s lean, don’t over cook it

  • Venison is very low in fat and is best served medium-rare. This equates to an internal temperature of 135°F if you’re using a meat thermometer.

 

Don’t cook cold

  • Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking it.

Dry rub and marinating

  • First off, marinades are not as important for farm raised Venison and Elk as it is for its hunted counterpart. Marinades will not penetrate thicker cuts of meat because the meat is very dense. 

  • Venison and elk are very versatile when it comes to dry rubs.  Any pork or beef rub will work well. Herbs pair particularly well also. 

  • Highland Farm Venison has an exceptional flavor already, so use any dry rub and marinade sparingly. Marinating for 30 min only and using a bit less dry rub will result in more flavor overall on any cut.

  • Adding salt, coffee or ginger to any dry rub will break down enzymes in the meat and will tenderize it without making it mushy.

  • Seasonings (except salt) hate high heat and can turn bitter. Try cooking your venison with just salt and then rolling it in your rub as soon as you pull it off and let it rest. You will thank me for that little piece of info.

 

Oil the meat, not the pan

  • When grilling, barbecuing or pan-frying steaks, first brush each side of the meat with a little oil, before searing

 

Grilling- 

  • We always say that when grilling Venison you want to go Hot and Fast. Bring that temperature up to at least 500°F. Let the meat sit undisturbed on the grate for at least 4 min. Then flip and cook till your desired internal temperature. Again we recommend cooking to an internal temperature of 135-140°F

 

Roasting

  • When roasting larger cuts, first sear all sides of the meat to seal in the juices. To achieve a medium-rare roast, cook at 350°F for 15 minutes per pound.

Smoking

  • Low and slow smoking method is our preferred method of cooking Venison and elk. Dry rub with 4 parts rub of your choice and 1 part ground coffee. Smoke 180-225 till internal temperature reached 130-135. Let sit and then slice thin. 

Rest it

  • After cooking, let your venison rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to evenly disperse.

Temperature recommendations and cooking methods

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American Buffalo

American Buffalo is lean, tender and a naturally flavorful meat that has a richer flavor profile and darker in coloring than beef. Bison meat is interchange in just about any red meat recipe.

 

Here are some things to consider when cooking American Buffalo.

Remove meat from fridge 30 – 45min before cooking to bring meat up to room temperature

Remove meat off heat about 5 to 10 degrees under desired temp, as is will continue to rise while resting

On average, bison meat will cook about a third faster than beef

Bison meat is naturally more lean and more dense than beef

Use a reliable meat thermometer to avoid overcooking

Try substituting bison in for beef in any recipe

Always rest meat before serving and slicing, 10min for steaks, 20 for roasts

The less seasoning the better as bison has naturally more flavor

We recommend cooking American Buffalo to 130-140°F or medium rare to medium

 

Small Game

Rabbit

Rabbit is usually roasted, or braised in a stew or casserole to keep the meat nice and moist. . For something a bit different, add rabbit meat to a curry or mince it to make burgers. Bring chilled rabbit up to room temperature before cooking and keep in mind that this lean meat is prone to drying out, and always rest before serving to retain the juices.

 

Slow cooking

Notoriously tricky to cook, the lean flesh of rabbit can result in dry, tough meat. Slow cooking rabbit is one of your safest bets for a good result – cooking at a low heat over long period of time, submerged in a liquid, is great for bringing out the best in this delicate meat. Its a good idea to brown the meat prior to slow cooking – this helps to caramelize the rabbit, which adds richness and color.

Rabbit is a very lean meat, but any part of the rabbit is suitable for slow cooking, as their energetic lifestyles means that practically every part of their bodies is well-used. This makes rabbit meat high in connective tissue, which can be tough if cooked quickly, but will break down when cooked slowly.

Rabbit can also be cooked quickly, but ideally needs to be jointed first, as each cut requires a different cooking time. Cooking rabbit is similar to chicken, fry on a moderate heat for 20 minutes or so until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Ideally, only quick-cook the lean, tender cuts of rabbit, such as the saddle or the loin - the other cuts are much more suited to pot roasting or braising.

Guinea Fowl

Guinea fowl are best roasted. Because Guinea fowl are quite lean, they should be basted during cooking to prevent them from drying out. They can also be wrapped in highland Farm bacon before roasting as well.

To cook:

 Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the guinea fowl in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes per pound plus 15 minutes. Cook thoroughly until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork and there is no pink meat. 

Semi boneless Quail

Highland Farm Quail comes semi boneless and can be cooked a couple different ways. Since quail is a very lean meat you will have to be carefull not to overcook it. Here are some cooking methods to consider. 

 

Grill: 

Pre-heat grill to a medium-high heat (about 400°F). Apply a light coat of olive oil to the surface of the quail and season. Place quail on grill breast side down. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Flip the quail and cook for another 5-7 minutes. The quail is done when meat is slightly firm (it will feel like a cooked chicken breast) and juices run clear.

 

Oven:

 Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat with enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Season the quail then sear them in the pan until browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Place quail in the oven and roast until cooked through and juices run clear, about 10 - 15 minutes. Basting the quail every few minutes with olive oil and/or pan juices will help them stay moist.