Who Wants Some Man Meat?
When I started dating my boyfriend back in July, he mentioned he and his friends have this New Year’s Eve tradition of getting together and cooking “exotic” meats. I ignored this story at first because I assumed he 1) wouldn’t be around in December and 2) wouldn’t invite me. Somehow, it turns out he is still around and invited me. This can’t be my life?
At about 2pm on New Year’s Eve, the man gchatted me and told me he was in charge of cooking the meats, so we’d have to come up with recipes in a few hours’ time with limited ingredients since ALL STORES WERE CLOSED BY THE TIME THEY DECIDED TO THINK ABOUT RECIPES. Well, not really, but I was in my robe and had just painted my nails and wasn’t planning on leaving the house until the stores were closed. I sent out an SOS on Twitter and madly googled for some reliable sources.
Ground ostrich, 1lb
Caribou steaks, 2lbs
Alligator filets, 2lbs
8 Tips for Cooking Game Meat
1) Cook game like a similarly textured meat.
This is a little obvious, isn’t it? Try to cook the meat like another similar meat you already know how to cook. The results might not be perfect the first time, but it will probably be damn good.
2) Drink more.
This cuts back on the nervousness and lets the creative meat juices flow.
3) Taste often.
If you’re drinking before dinner, you should probably eat something. Why not taste the meat you’re cooking? This lets you know if it tastes like shit and whether or not you have to proceed with step #4.
4) Make a sauce.
Many things can be fixed or enhanced with a sauce. It will distract from dry meat if you accidentally cook the shit out of it. We opted for pan sauces using the juices of our meats.
5) Use expensive cookware.
This doesn’t actually matter. But it makes your meat look great and you look like you know what you’re doing (see above: Le Creuset)
6) Throw around some fancy terms.
Loudly announce what you’re doing. If the people think you’re a master chef, they’re less likely to think the food will taste like shit.
7) Pay some fucking attention.
Overcooking meat is bad. Pay attention to what you’re doing, even if you’re drinking heavily. Check on your meat often and don’t forget about it.
8 ) Accompany everything with bacon jalapeno macaroni and cheese.
Bacon and cheese fix everything. No matter what you fuck up, this will make everything okay again.
The ostrich was being thrown into a many-meats chili (which was delicious), so we were left with the caribou and alligator. After some light research (thanks Serious Eats) we decided that we had to marinate our caribou in some sort of acid to take away the gamey taste (we chose lemon juice) and braise it (in wine, duh) because it looked kind of tough.
I messed up the sear part of the braising because I turned the burner off thinking we didn’t have any more meat to cook when in fact, we did. We assumed the meat would take a few hours in the oven. Turns out it was cooked in about…45 minutes? I don’t know if we had the heat too high or we messed something up because we were drunk, but it was a quick braise and the meat was still somehow fork tender while being well done. I’ll take that as a win.
The alligator filets looked almost exactly like gigantic chicken breasts, but with a better, meatier texture. They were marinated in a mystery marinade (I only remember that it contained olive oil and worcestershire sauce) that we later reduced into a sauce and drizzled over the meat. We sauteed them (although they took longer than chicken would) and the result was amazing. A chickeny texture, but extremely juicy and flavorful. Win number two.
Disclaimer: Photo was taken while rather intoxicated.