Story by Suzanne Gibson | Feb 24, 2016

Chef Ryan Davis creates wild game magic sure to allure the most discerning palates.

According to Davis, “The way I prepare it, you won’t even know you are eating anything different. It’s all about presentation and the way it is prepared.” Below are a few good reasons to consider adding wild game to your diet:

WILD GAME TIPS

Hunting helps keep the environment balanced. When animal populations become disproportionate, disease can take hold. Over the long haul, hunting helps keep wild animal populations healthier.

• It’s often a much leaner meat option. For instance, deer and raccoon have nearly half the fat content of beef.

• It’s clean. Many do not realize that wild game doesn’t have the same temperature regulations as farm-raised animals. For instance, deer and duck are safe to eat raw. Unlike store-bought meats, bacteria are on the outside layer and not in the meat itself. A simple searing can eliminate any concerns of bacteria.

• No hormones. Unlike much of the meat bought at the grocer, wild game is hormone free and completely organic.

• It will save you money. Purchasing a hunting license and killing your own is much cheaper than buying meat at the store.

TIPS FROM DAVIS TO CREATE DELECTABLE WILD GAME DISHES:

• Don’t overcook it. Many of the wild game meats are tender, and novices tend to cook them too long.

• Use fresh herbs. Rosemary and thyme are especially good at pulling out the natural flavors.

• Keep it moist. Since wild game often has less fat, it is necessary to add fat in order to prevent dryness. Pork fat is frequently used, especially with deer meat.

• Take larger game to a butcher or processing center so that the meat can be processed for you. This step will save you a lot of time and mess. You get all the health benefits of eating your hunt without the mess and hassle.

• If you don’t want to hunt yourself, check with your local butchers see if they sell small game. They can also be a great resource for teaching you how to cook and prepare it.

• Google it. There are lots of great recipes and ideas on the Internet. Not surprising, Pinterest has an abundance of wild game recipes.

• Tenderize raccoon and enjoy. As a tougher meat, raccoon needs to first be boiled or pressure cooked before smoking or frying. The featured barbecue sliders show just one scrumptious possibility. Prepared properly, this under-appreciated meat can taste amazing.

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Items Pictured:

From left top: Smoked duck with a spring salad; raccoon sliders with coleslaw; bacon-wrapped oven roasted quail with port wine sauce and beer braised brussel sprouts; duck egg crème brulee with vanilla bean whipped cream; pheasant ravioli with whiskey crème sauce; braised rabbit with mustard sauce; wild mushroom risotto; rosemary-roasted French rack of venison with rustic roasted baby carrots and medley herb-roasted potatoes; snapping turtle soup

Ryan Davis has been owner and chef at Argyle Catering for more than 10 years. He has been professionally cooking since age 15. He received his degree from the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. In addition to his catering business, Ryan has been an executive chef at several high-end restaurants in LA, St. Louis and Las Vegas.