Letter Re: Preparing Game Meat For The Table

Greetings, I read this article with interest and found it full of good information. However, there are a couple of points that I was concerned with and feel compelled to share my opinion as well.

I am concerned by the statement that game meat fat should be removed and is “nasty”. I feed my family strictly subsistence caught meat and fish. Yes, a bear eating salmon will smell of salmon; however, a bear eating berries will have delicious meat. The vast majority of the time, the fat on moose, caribou, bear, muskox, deer, goat, and other animals is not “nasty”. When we are lucky enough to shoot a fat animal, we are happy to add this to our ground burger (instead of purchasing ground pork, as he suggests). I often render the fat as well, for use in various cooking projects or saving for the future to add to lean ground meat. This is important for people to note. Many people want a low-fat diet today, but in a survival situation fat is an important nutritional component and should not be discarded.

Smaller game varies in its fat content. Rabbits and many birds do not have much fat. However, beaver and porcupine can have a lot of fat. With waterfowl, I would say, it depends on the season. Geese prepared to fly south for the winter are very fat; however when they return in the spring, they are very lean. (I live in Alaska, and there is a spring subsistence hunt for rural residents, allowing the legal harvest of waterfowl.)

Along the same line, he recommends discarding the bones. Whoa! Bones are a tremendous source of nutrients. I can not imagine throwing them out. They can be cooked and made into a broth for use in other cooking, and this broth is especially important for nutritional benefit should you have someone unable to eat solid food. The bones can be left in cuts of meat and used to season the meat while cooking and adding fat, which is full of rich flavors and keeps the cut moist as it cooks.

The simple rule I use for meat that I harvest is to keep it clean, cool, and dry. I can’t emphasis this enough! Do not use blow torches to get off hair and no dumping ice into the chest cavity. The ice introduces water, which quickly accelerates the rotting of the meat. If it’s hot, wet, or there is insect activity, process that meat as fast as possible. There is no need to leave it hanging.

Thanks for the article. It has lots of useful information and details for those who need to know how to process meat.

– Countrygirl