There are many theories and true-and-tried tricks to prepare wild meat. I have heard many people say “I’ve heard that if you do this …” or “My friends always said they do it like that…”, but never really anything specific. I will give you 2 ways of preparing wild meat, both of which I have tried (with wild turkey) and it definitely works in taking out the gaminess and ensuring that the meat is delicious.The first one I researched, the second one is from my Hungarian Cook book which was first published in 1929. This recipe may be applied to any wild meat (wild turkey or wild rabbit, deer, boar or any other wild small game / bird)
Method 1: butter milk and brine.
Step 1. Place the in a large Ziploc bag and fill with butter milk. Press out all the air so you create almost a vacuum seal. This allow you to use less buttermilk (as opposed to fill up a large pot with it). Place in refrigerator and leave in overnight.
Step 2. Fill a large pot with water, add salt, and a few slices of purple onion, bay leaves and you may add some other vegetables such as celery leaves, etc. Boil the water then cool completely.
Step 3. Rinse the turkey under cold water and place into the brine, making sure that all the pieces are completely immersed in the liquid. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, maybe up to over night.
Step 4: cook, bake or fry according to your preferred method. I made 2 turkey thighs, and not knowing what to expect I also made some cranberry sauce, thinking the meat might be dry and the sauce would conceal it. There was no need for the sauce! This turkey was the most delicious I have ever eaten, it had flavor and it was soft. I don’t think I ever want to eat store bought turkey again, they are completely tasteless compared to a wild bird prepared this way.
Method 2. – vinegar solution
Step 1. Take a large pot and fill it with vinegar : water (1:10 ratio).
For 2 liters of liquid add
– 1 lb of carrots (sliced)
– 1-2 bay leaves
– 10-12 pieces of peppercorn
– a half lemon sliced
– half purple onion slides
– 1 tbs salt.
Step 2. Bring to a boil and pour it on the meat in a container. It is ok if the liquid doesn’t cover the meat. Leave the meat in the solution for 2 days, and turn the meat over several times. If the liquid covers the meat, you can leave it in it for 1 day only.
Step 3. Wash the meat and cook or bake it according to your preference.
I decided to simply bake it on 425 f for 45 minutes (one whole turkey cut into pieces) and simply added salt and pepper. The meat was very soft, tender and delicious.
What to do with the left over vegetables in the solution? Check out my next post, another old Hungarian recipe. This is a sauce that can be poured over any wild meat, guaranteed it’s not anything you had before.