Wild about Game Article - Allrecipes.com
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Wild about Game

It's going to be a wild time in the kitchen tonight!

We have recipes for all the familiar game meats like venison, pheasant, and elk, and also for those slightly wilder wild animals like bear, snails, turtle, moose, squirrel, and snake.

In the era of factory-farmed animals, it's all too easy to whittle the meats we're willing to eat down to a thin triumvirate: chicken, beef, and pork. It's worth remembering there's a whole world of edible animals out there, a veritable smorgasbord all around us. And sometimes, as with the common brown garden snail (of escargot fame), a tasty protein source is as close as our own backyards.

The recipes below are for the adventurous eater. They're for anyone interested in taking "eating local" to a whole new level, or for anyone who's determined to cheat difficult economic times by eating off the fat of the land. Gathering snails for dinner? Now that's eating on a budget!

It's also worth noting "eating off the fat of the land" is actually a very lean way to eat. Wild animals are always on the move, not confined in cramped spaces that severely restrict mobility, so their meat will have comparatively little fat.

Many of the tips featured below were culled from the comprehensive guide to living off the land, The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.


Alligators are protected animals. They cannot be hunted or trapped without acquiring a special permit. The recipes below are intended for the tender white meat of farmed alligators. 


There are only a handful of states where hunting bears is actually legal. If you live in one of these states, here's a recipe for you. The Encyclopedia of Country Living recommends you prepare bear meat as you would pork. The meat should be well cooked, as this stew recipe calls for.


Elk are big creatures. Not easy to take down, and even harder to carry out. You'll need to section your elk even if you pack it out on a horse.

Escargot (Snails)

The common brown garden snail (Helis aspersa), the plague of many American gardens, is actually the same animal that, when served on a plate in a fancy restaurant, we call escargot. Before eating the snails from your backyard, determine the snails in your area are in fact Helis aspersa. There are other snails that aren't so good for eating.

Frog's Legs

The legs, both front and back, are the edible parts of bullfrogs, leopard frogs, and green marsh frogs. 


In 2008, moose hunting enjoyed a sudden surge in, if not popularity, then curiosity certainly, thanks to a presidential campaign that featured a moose-hunting candidate from Alaska. Which begs the question: If you bag a big fella in the wilds of Canada, Maine, or Alaska, would it make sense to come to Allrecipes for a moose meat recipe? You betcha! We've got plenty.

Small Game Birds

"Pick" the bird soon after killing it when the bird still retains as much body heat as possible. Later, the feathers will set tight making the picking process more difficult.



In good conscience we cannot recommend rattlesnake wrangling. But if you somehow manage to find yourself grasping a rattler in your mitts, The Encyclopedia of Country Living recommends chopping off its head while being mindful not to touch the fangs--poison can enter the bloodstream through small cuts and scratches. The fangs might be unfriendly, but the white meat of the rattler is tender and mild. 


The Encyclopedia of Country Living includes a few rules for folks who eat small wild animals. Among them, never eat animals that appear lethargic, look to be in bad health, or are already dead. Wear rubber gloves while cleaning them, and don’t eat the meat if you find white spots on the animals' liver. 


The very name "snapping turtle" is a cautionary tale testifying to the perils of messing with these creatures. They'll get you! Emery's book includes two fail-safe methods for catching the tasty but testy snapping turtle: grip the shell behind its head or coax it into biting the business end of a stick...and then chop off its head with an axe! The encyclopedia includes additional info on cleaning and preparing the turtle for cooking.

Wild Pig (Boar)

The Spanish introduced pigs into California back in the 16th century. The Spanish permitted them to go wild, to feast in the forests, in order to hunt them later. Today, the wild pigs of California are often thought of as pests. Compared to farm-raised pork, the meat of a wild pig is very lean. 

More Game Recipes

Want more? Check out these recipe collections for the most popular game meats.

Aug. 3, 2009 3:30 pm
I am looking for a moose stew recipe or soup. There must be one out there somewhere. Can you help me? Thanks
Jo Jo 
Dec. 28, 2009 2:21 pm
Hi Sharmon. You could actually use any kind of wild game stew just replace it with moose! Hope this helps!
Jo Jo 
Dec. 28, 2009 2:24 pm
Does anyone have a recipie to make really good deer chops but just simple with very few ingredients? Thanks!!
Diane I 
Jan. 1, 2010 10:47 am
First I soak mine in water, a 1/4 cup cider vineager, 1/3c Teriaki marinade ,minced garlic and a chopped up onion. Just barely cover the meat and let it soak either a few hours or over night. Then when your ready just fry it up ..I also use garlic powder on it when I fry. I've also just let it soak over night in Italian salad dressing! You do want to turn it so you get a good soaking all the way thru.
Jan. 17, 2010 6:59 am
Does anyone have some venison steak marinades to take the wild taste out? Thanks!
Jan. 23, 2010 7:40 am
I love this Site! I hunt and was running out of ideas, 1 thing I learned from this site is...Slow cookers rock! and cream of mushroom soup goes with anything you hunt :)
Feb. 8, 2010 8:52 pm
My archery club is holding their annual fund raiser,a venison dinner. We'd like to roast a whole leg for a carving station. I'd like to wrap it in cull fat,but can't find anybody that will sell about 5-7 #'s. All my local wholesalers only handle cases of 6 @ 40-50 #'s. any ideas on how long,and hard it would be to lard 3 hind quarters using salt pork? Or just pork fat?
Feb. 11, 2010 8:49 pm
Terry try dry rubs,using garlic powder,oinion powder,dry basil,dry thyme,salt,pepper-blk or white pepper or crushed red or caynne pep.It you like spicey blend all,add a dash of cinnimon, hope this inspires you
Feb. 11, 2010 8:57 pm
An Idea for game cooking,uise what is in the area,oinions,carrots,mushrooms,try roasting them in the oven,tossing them with oil,salt,and pepper.Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 12 to 18 min,depwending on your oven,then add them to your stew or crock pot. Garlic and any root veg is a good additive,lol think forrest goodies,mushroom.....etc hope this helps good eating
Feb. 13, 2010 1:08 pm
How come this author left out a section for venison recipes? Just wondering. I got a lot of good ideas from the comments section however.
Mar. 23, 2010 11:38 am
This section should definetly have a section for venison...
Apr. 12, 2010 12:53 pm
As an avid Alaskan hunter and cook I like to soak my wild game in milk or buttermilk overnight before cooking this will talk out some of that game taste. Because game is so lean always make sure to wrap with bacon or something else to keep it from drying out and DO NOT OVERCOOK! No matter what you do, if the animal wasn't cared for properly in the field or was in rut, nothing you can do will get rid of the game taste, donate to your local dog team.
Aug. 16, 2010 10:37 am
I really love the venison recipes,the helpful reviews and tips. One thing I always do is add 1-2 T. butter to ground venison for great flavor and moisture.
Mama Flescher 
Sep. 27, 2010 5:59 pm
You can also soak your meat in Coke-a-Cola to get rid of the "game" taste, and it works for any game, including duck meat. I agree with BigBrian as well; use what is native to the area and of the earth. Root vegetables and mushrooms, also great when cooked or paired with a rich red wine. My favorite is a good Oregon/Washington Pinot Noir. Yum!
Oct. 16, 2010 6:09 am
Looking how to roast a wild turkey?Do you do it the same way as a store bought turkey?
Oct. 31, 2010 10:24 am
I was given 2 pkgs of turtle. I am looking for some ways to cook it besides soup. Please help me.
Nov. 22, 2010 5:06 pm
If you are into game meats, check out Hills Foods Ltd. In Coquitlam B.C. we also have recipes
Dec. 10, 2010 12:34 am
I am still trying to figure out what game flavor is. I've heard it mentioned in so many different game recipes from rabbit, squirrel, venison, bear, elk, antelope, etc... and none of these animals taste the same. So what does a game taste like?
Dec. 20, 2010 2:34 pm
How do you soak the wild out of deer. I have heard that milk is good but I have not tried it yet. Can someone please give me some tips?
Dec. 27, 2010 10:41 am
If you are roasting it add some fat(bacon ect) if stewing it do it slow over low heat. I dont understand what game taste is, beef tasts like beef and deer moose or wild boar taste like what they are and I would not bother to hunt if they tasted like beef. Just stear clear of cedar fed swamp deer that does taste strong. You can stew in wine, beer, or bulion you can add just about anything from apricots to beans to coca nut. Dont over cook, its easy.
Jan. 12, 2011 7:07 pm
If you like to hunt and love to eat wild game meat, then why take the wild taste out of it? It has never made any sense to me as to why people take the wild taste out of wild game. If you don't like the wild taste, then you might as well buy beef, chicken, or pork from the grocery store. I eat wild game, not because I shot it, even though it is a thrill. I eat wild game to taste the wild.
May 14, 2011 3:43 pm
I agree....I love the wild taste!!!!
Aug. 17, 2011 7:38 am
from Shirley: when we lived in the Yukon we had deer and moose meat given to us. We soaked it in baking soda water for 1 hour then rinsed the meat( or fish) and soaked it in milk ,for a half hour then rinsed and cooked it, it worked great. good luck.
Dec. 12, 2011 2:05 pm
My kids loved domestic rabbit in stew but not wild so I always cut up a good sized apple and added it like a potato in a stew even if I was using noodles and not potatoes. They ate every bit and asked for seconds.
mr. food 
Apr. 14, 2012 8:51 pm
about the wild game taste, the guys at work talk about cleaning fish, cutting this and that out so it dosnt taste like fish, I ask them what does it taste like then? chicken...
Jul. 9, 2012 3:33 am
Regarding "wild taste" in deer. Having been stationed USMC in coastal NC where dogs are used to "run" deer (no, I don't agree, nor did I hunt that way) the deer were stressed when taken. You know how your muscles burn when you work out? That's lactic acid and the same applies to running game. It IS NOT GOOD for the taste of the animal. All things being equal, game harvested at rest will "eat" better. The condition of the animal when harvested(age/stress level)and care immediately thereafter has a lot to do with the taste. Clean quickly, cut your own if you REALLY want to make sure it's handled correctly. Like veal, younger deer are more tender/better eating (just an example, not advocating veal). The old bull looks good in your trophy room, but doesn't make the best steaks/roasts(think stew/chili, except for backstrap and tenderloin). I agree with most previous comments though, I don't expect my wild game to taste like store bought meat. It's a nice change and heathier. I will admit th
Jul. 31, 2012 9:27 am
what game flavor is.it dosnt taste like fish!or chicken,IT TASTE like the meat you have at hand. beef tasts like beef and deer moose or wild boar taste like what they are and I would not bother to go hunting if they tasted like fish or chicken. It is about the meat. gunny1104 is right on about it!
Jan. 21, 2015 7:50 pm
Help how do I cook a wild boar backstrap
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