A common complaint is that wild game meat tastes “gamey” or that fish tastes “fishy.” A good marinade can change that.
by Leon Pantenburg
Great tasting game meat or fish starts as soon as the animal is killed or the fish is caught.
The carcass needs to be field dressed ASAP, and the meat cooled. Same thing with fish – the sooner the fish is killed, dressed and put on ice, the better it will taste.
So why use a marinade?
With the addition of an acidic liquid, such as vinegar, fruit juice, wine or soured milk products, the marinade tenderizes and causes the seasonings to penetrate the cut of meat.
This can be important to great taste, depending on the animal that the meat came from, and the circumstances related to the harvest.
A buck that was stressed before being killed during the rut, on a hot summer day, is going to taste stronger than a doe shot dead in late November. Likewise, a fish that was caught, and dragged behind the boat on a stringer for several hours is bound to taste more fishy than one caught, killed and placed on ice.
My standard marinade recipe for fish, fowl or venison is really simple: milk, an egg, your favorite seasonings and some garlic. Combine all these ingredients in a big plastic bag or in a bowl, and place the meat or fish in it. Let it soak for awhile in the refrigerator, then drain and cook. This recipe works particularly well on fish, and all you need to do is roll the fish in flour and fry.
Here are some marinade recipes from “Linda Stephenson’s Wild Game Dutch Oven Cooking” cook book that will work well on a variety of meats.
1 c pineapple juice
1/2 c honey
1/2 tsp allspice
Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl; mix well. Brush on meat to fried or roasted. The longer the meat is left to marinate, the better it will taste. Marinate in refrigerator for one or two days.
3/4 c apple juice
1/3 c canola oil
1/4 c sage cider vinegar
2 TBS fresh sage, minced
1 tsp salt
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
This marinade is excellent for bear, elk, moose and deer venison.
1 c strong coffee
1/2 c garlic red wine vinegar
1/4 c unsulfured molasses
1/4 c Dijon mustard
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
Combine all ingredients in a heavy, nonreactive sauce pan, bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Cool. This is an excellent marinade for bear.