Deer meat is great for grilling, but it’s not the only option when dishing up tasty treats. By adding nontraditional meats to your menu, you’ll wow your friends the next time you throw a dinner party or game-day gathering. Introduce your guests to new meats with kabobs or wild-wrap burgers. But don’t stop there. Let’s look at some more exotic possibilities.
Most hunters eat venison jerky, but a surprise hit at this year’s SHOT Show was bobcat jerky made by From Field to Plate. Bobcats are more known for their pelts than their meat, but don’t sell them short. If you have the permits and get the chance to arrow one, consider adding bobcat as a snack or main course. During the 2018 SHOT Show, Will Primos, Toxey Haas and Bill Sugg from Mossy Oak sampled the bobcat jerky and responded with a unanimous “Mrow!”
Even more adventurous hunting chefs have eaten coyotes. MeatEater’s Steve Rinella and his friend Remi Warren explored how to cook coyote in a 2013 video. They acknowledged that eating a canine seems strange, given the coyote’s resemblance to dogs. They also conceded that coyote isn’t necessarily the tastiest meat. They agreed, however, on this: “If you cook it good, it’s going to be good. If you cook it bad, it’s going to be bad.” They suggest using coyote in a sloppy joe or as pulled meat to give it more flavor. They described it as a dry, dark meat, like a turkey leg.
The Hunt Chef, Jeremy Critchfield, is a big advocate for eating game meat, and uses the hashtag #EatWhatYouKill on his social-media accounts. Critchfield said cooking coyote is just another option for eating what you kill. To prove it, he recently spotlighted coyote meat, and found it pleasantly surprising. He described the backstrap as tender and close to beef, which differs from the MeatEater’s findings. Maybe it depends on the cut. In this case, backstraps might be tastier and more tender than the legs.
What about fish? The options go far beyond game fish and panfish. An invasive species that’s fun to catch and good to eat is Asian carp, which is aggressive and multiplying rapidly. They’re relatively easy to arrow because they jump high into the air when motorboats pass nearby.
An OutdoorHub post lists seven savory ways to cook Asian carp. One dish is carp dumplings, which can be made with few ingredients. They’re great for game-day tailgating.
If you’re not inclined toward culinary arts, try visiting restaurants that serve specialty meats. For instance, the Alewife restaurant in Baltimore serves unconventional meats on a seasonal basis. A few years ago, the ATA’s outreach team gathered there to sample blue catfish tacos, wild boar sliders, and snakehead fishcakes. Farther south, Virginia’s Chesapeake region capitalize on its overly abundant blue catfish by offering them at many fine restaurants inside and outside the area. The Comfort restaurant in Richmond, for example, dishes out blue catfish fillets nightly.
And with Easter approaching, consider slightly less exotic fare by putting boar on the table instead of an Easter ham. Impress your family and guests with this tasty meat you hunted yourself.
With all these many meats, your options seem endless. Whether you enjoy cooking your own meals or leaving that craft to chefs and unique restaurants, it’s easy to explore your curiosity for meats far beyond venison.
However you choose to expand your wild-game menu, you can get started on that quest for new meats by learning to bowhunt. Simply visit a nearby archery shop to get started.