I hunt and, when successful, I add to the freezer inventory to enjoy at a later date. When handled and cooked properly, wild game is very palatable. Yet, I hear it all the time, “too gamey” or “musky”. For those who feel that way, my argument is that somewhere after the kill, you’re lacking in your meat handling skills, or at least whoever prepared it is. There are various ways to improve the overall quality and taste of game meat. However, when introducing a wary eater to wild game, I’ll often use ground meat to prepare a dish that has an abundance of additional flavors to help them make the transition.
Enchiladas, spaghetti, Bolognese, and meatloaf are a few examples of good “introductory” game preparations. And, of course, there’s this Sloppy Joe recipe! I’ve made all of the pre-mentioned meals with venison (only) and nobody said a word about the use of wild game; until I asked, that is. Then it’s, “I thought there was something different about it.” It was enjoyed, none the less.
If I’m dealing with an overly certain critic or super skeptic, I mix this 50/50 blend (venison/beef). This is the secret! Just ask my grandma. She refuses to eat wild game and swears she hasn’t touched the stuff. At least that’s what she thinks.
The 50/50 Meat
I process my own harvest. This allows me to vary my lean/fat ratio as I see fit. For standard ground venison, I usually stay around 80/20 or 80/15 and utilize pork fat as the other ingredient. However, for ground game that I intend to add to beef, I do not add pork fat. In adding a lean game grind to an 80/20 ground beef, the leanness is increased by about ten percent.
A 90/10 venison and beef mixture. If this doesn’t get your wary wild game guest to cross over, there may be no hope for them.
50/50 DIY Venison Sloppy Joe - How to Make It
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. ground venison
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1 1/3 cup of ketchup
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic salt
- Blend all dry seasonings together in a bowl. Season the meat with approximately half and save the rest for a later step. Tip: sub the seasonings with 1 tbsp of Flavorgod Everything.
- Brown the ground meat over medium-high heat.
- Finely chop the onion and bell pepper. When meat is approximately halfway browned, add the chopped onion and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, combine Worcestershire, ketchup, and brown sugar.
- When the meat is fully browned, add the sauce and remainder of seasoning. Stir well.
- Reduce heat and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Serve on a sesame bun.