Large game is often Deer or Moose

Game can be categorized in different ways. It’s often divided into large game, small game and wild fowl. But the vast majority of animals in the “large game” category are various kinds of deer or moose.

GAME IS A LEAN MEAT

Many people who hunt themselves have an excessive respect for game meat, but it’s still meat like any other. Just maybe a bit leaner, and a lot more eco- friendly.

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Moose entrecote

This cut from the king of the forest can be sliced for the frying pan or the grill. But grilling lean game meat is always a risk. For a juicier result it’s best to roast it whole.

HOW TO COOK MOOSE ENTRECÔTE

Roast a moose entrecôte whole: Prepare the joint but don’t throw away the thinner parallel piece that is also part of the entrecôte. This cut consists of several groups of muscles next to each other, with fat in between. Use it!

Use string to tie up a rectangular joint where the fat, see above, forms a juicy, densely flavored center. It’s this juiciness and the flavor you want.

When tying your joint: Aim for as even a shape as possible so that the whole piece of meat reaches the same temperature after the same amount of time in the oven. (if one end is thin and the other is fatter, they will be done at different times.)

Season the whole entrecôte with salt and pepper. Brown it on all sides in a frying pan and then put in the oven at approximately 125°C.

Use a thermometer and aim for 48°C to 52°C depending on how rare you like your meat. Remember that the internal temperature will continue to rise by about 5°C even after you’ve taken the meat out of the oven. (Read more about the 4% rule.)

Leave the entrecôte to rest for 15 minutes. Carve across the fibers and serve.

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Moose fillet

Fillets – cut from the saddle – are thought to be the best cut of a moose. Fillets are cut from the inside of the back and are equivalent to a fillet of beef. Get your cast iron frying pan out and turn up the heat

HOW TO COOK MOOSE FILLET

The basics when cooking a game fillet or small steak:

  • Bring to room temperature and season in good time before cooking.
  • Fry the meat whole to retain the juices.
  • Brown in oil and butter on a medium heat.
  • Turn the meat constantly so the heat spreads evenly throughout.
  • Use a quick and sensitive thermometer. Aim for 55-60°C.
  • Important: Give the meat enough time to rest and even out the heat, at least 10 minutes.

The tenderest cuts of moose – loin and sirloin – taste great char-grilled. This keeps the center raw and juicy. Here’s how:

  • Prepare the fillet. Cut it lengthwise if you need to. It should be the same thickness all the way, about 3 cm.
  • Heat up a cast iron frying pan with no fat.
  • Give the fillet a quick but hard fried surface on all sides. It should be dry and full of flavor.
  • Leave to rest before cutting into thin, attractive slices. Season and salt.
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Joint of moose

A joint of moose can be a round or silverside or other cuts. With a bit of good will, a shoulder can even be roasted whole in the oven and carved into beautiful pink slices. If you’ve bought a frozen joint and have plenty of time on your hands, you can slow cook it from frozen, Norwegian style.

HOW TO COOK A MOOSE JOINT

The basics when cooking a game joint:

  • Leave it out to reach room temperature.
  • Salt the meat at least an hour in advance.
  • Brown the surface in a mixture of oil and butter.
  • Finish cooking in the oven at 125°C.
  • Use a thermometer and aim for 55-60°C.
  • Leave to rest for approximately 15 minutes – but eat immediate
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Moose mince

Mince is probably the best way of first encountering game. It’s lean, nutritious, easy to cook and you get a lot of flavor for your money. Moose mince is usually easy to find in the supermarket.

HOW TO COOK MOOSE MINCE

In principle you can do everything with moose mince that you can do with beef mince. The difference is the great gamey flavor and the lower fat content (not to mention the good feeling that comes from knowing that you’re eating natural, sustainable meat).

The basics for beef burgers, faggots and meatballs made from game mince:

  • Salt the mince in advance, to retain flavor and bind in water.
  • Add to the juiciness and sweetness with fried/roasted/baked onion.
  • Leave the mince to rest for an hour before shaping it into burgers, faggots or meatballs.
  • Fry in a mixture of oil and butter.
  • Test with a thermometer if you have one and aim for 55-60°C.
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Prime rib of moose

Prime rib is a large cut from a fully-grown moose, consisting of coarse muscle fibers. The meat is leaner and has a slightly coarser consistency than the same cut of beef, but still makes a great casserole.

HOW TO COOK PRIME RIB OF MOOSE

The meat needs time to tenderize and coarse fibers can cope with a longer cooking time and a lower temperature so slow cooking works well. But game needs less time than other meat, especially if you have salted it in advance. Your stew should never boil, just simmer, and maintain a temperature of 85°C.

The basics when slow cooking game:

  • Slice the meat into fairly large pieces (they will shrink as they cook).
  • Salt the meat at least an hour in advance – for flavor and more tender meat.
  • Brown the pieces of meat in oil and butter.
  • Follow your recipe. Remember that your vegetables need less time to cook.
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Moose rump

This cut has a bit of a poor reputation, but in the hands of a skilled chef it’s delicious. This cut consists of one single muscle, like a fillet, where all the fibers run in parallel in the same direction.

 

HOW TO COOK MOOSE RUMP

Roast whole: Salt, pepper and brown all round. Put in the oven at 125°C until the internal temperature reaches 48°C – not more. Let the meat rest before cutting it into thin slices with the right amount of chewiness.

If you’re thinking of it as a roast, it’s extra important to allow the meat to rest after cooking. The fibers of the meat are coarse and contain a lot of liquid. If the meat doesn’t get to rest, the juices will run out over the plate and the joint will be dry and boring.

Or do something different:

Thinly slice and sauté: Slice the meat into as thin slices as you can before cooking. It’s easiest if the meat is semi-frozen when sliced. Fry quickly on a high heat on every side and cook in a casserole or wok.

Shred for moose stroganoff: If you cut the meat as if you were cutting chips, first in slices across the fibers and then into shreds, they’ll be easier to chew. The strips only need a bit of color on each side when you fry them. After that you just need to heat them up briefly when you add them to the sauce before serving.

 

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Moose sautéed

Slicing game into thin pieces is an ancient way of using the whole animal. The result is very fine pieces of meat with the perfect amount of chewiness.

HOW TO COOK SAUTÉED MOOSE

A larger piece of meat can be prepared for sautéing by slicing it finely when it’s half frozen. Shoulder of moose works well, or prime rib of moose, which is tasty but not as tender, unless thinly sliced and sautéed.

The point of this dish is that even if the meat comes from one of the less prime cuts, it’s sliced so finely that it only has to spend a few minutes in the pan. Or go for slow cooking – but your end result will be a smoother or mushier stew.

Ideal for a stir fry. The game flavor – it tends to be quite mild with moose – goes well with oriental spices. Or take the oriental cooking technique and apply it to non-oriental ingredients and flavors that go with game, e.g. celery, carrots, other root vegetables, juniper, mushrooms, etc.

Marinate the thinly sliced meat before adding it to a really hot wok.

A more traditional method is to simply fry thinly sliced moose in butter and thicken into a sauce/stew with cream, thyme, chanterelles and other autumnal forest flavors.

You can also use thinly sliced moose to replace the mince in a bolognese sauce or use it in tacos for a more interesting texture and chewier flavor. It’s more nutritious and better for the environment too.

 

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Shoulder of moose

The shoulder consists of hard-working muscles and is a large cut from a fully-grown animal. Compared with a shoulder of lamb or beef a shoulder of moose, like all game, is considerably leaner, but is great in a stew. Handled the right way, it can also make a good Sunday joint.

HOW TO COOK SHOULDER OF MOOSE

Some kind of slow cooking is the easiest route to success. Don’t cut the meat into too small pieces as it will shrink as it cooks. 3 x 3 x 3 centimeters is usually about the right size of cubes.

The basics when slow cooking game:

  • Slice the meat into fairly large pieces (they will shrink as they cook).
  • Salt the meat at least an hour in advance – for flavor and more tender meat.
  • Brown the pieces of meat in oil and butter.
  • Follow your recipe. Remember that your vegetables need less time to cook.

You an also cook the shoulder as a joint. The basics when cooking a game joint:

  • Leave it out to reach room temperature.
  • Salt the meat at least an hour in advance.
  • Brown the surface in a mixture of oil and butter.
  • Finish cooking in the oven at 125°C.
  • Use a thermometer and aim for 55-60°C.
  • Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes – but eat immediately.
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Moose sirloin

This is a fine, tender cut of meat from the back of a moose that’s similar to beef sirloin. But the meat of a moose, which lives in the wild, has coarser fibers. Game meat has a bit more attitude.

HOW TO COOK MOOSE SIRLOIN

The basics when cooking a game fillet or small steak:

  • Bring to room temperature and season in good time before cooking.
  • Fry the meat whole to retain the juices.
  • Brown in oil and butter on a medium heat.
  • Turn the meat constantly so the heat spreads evenly throughout.
  • Use a quick and sensitive thermometer. Aim for 55-60°C.
  • Important: Give the meat enough time to rest and even out the heat, at least 10 minutes.

The tenderest cuts of moose – loin and sirloin – taste great char-grilled. This keeps the centre raw and juicy. Here’s how:

  • Prepare the fillet. Cut it lengthwise if you need to. It should be the same thickness all the way, about 3 cm.
  • Heat up a cast iron frying pan with no fat.
  • Give the fillet a quick but hard fried surface on all sides. It should be dry and full of flavor.
  • Leave to rest before cutting into thin, attractive slices. Season and salt.
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Reindeer fillet

This is the tenderest cut of reindeer. With a bit of thought and a certain amount of care at the hob, your fillet will melt in the mouth. But keep an eye on it as it can quickly go dry and over-cooked. Aim for a maximum – absolute maximum – 57°C.

HOW TO COOK REINDEER FILLET

Fry the evenly cut fillet whole in a cast iron frying pan. Don’t let it lie in one place in the pan for too long. Turn it frequently so the heat works its way into the meat. Once it has browned slightly, turn off the heat and let the meat reach 55-60°C in the residual heat. Serve in slices cut across the fibers. Don’t over-complicate things. The meat has an amazing flavor all by itself. Salt, pepper and a sprig of thyme work wonders.

The basics when cooking reindeer fillet:

  • Bring to room temperature and season in good time before cooking.
  • Fry the meat whole to retain the juices.
  • Brown in oil and butter at a high heat.
  • Turn the meat constantly so the heat spreads evenly throughout.
  • Don’t use the oven, fry the meat until you have the result you want.
  • Use a quick and sensitive thermometer. Aim for 55-60°C.
  • Important: Give the meat enough time to rest and even out the heat, at least 10 minutes.

Let the fillet rest, otherwise the meat juices will run out all over the carving dish or your plates. Because the meat is lean, this will result in it being dry in the mouth.

Tender reindeer fillet is perfect for char-grilling:

  • Use a cast iron frying pan with no fat and make sure it is properly hot.
  • Cook the fillet quickly at a high temperature, giving it a highly flavored, dry seared surface.
  • Cut into thin slices and serve with a little flaked salt.
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Reindeer joint

A joint of reindeer will consist of one or more of the big muscles from the hindquarters of the animal. A joint of reindeer is quite tender on its own, unlike a joint of beef. Don’t leave it in the oven longer than necessary.

HOW TO COOK A JOINT OF REINDEER

The basics when cooking a game joint:

  • Leave it out to reach room temperature.
  • Salt the meat at least an hour in advance.
  • Brown the surface in a mixture of oil and butter.
  • Finish cooking in the oven at 125°C.
  • Use a thermometer and aim for 55-60°C.
  • Leave to rest for approximately 15 minutes – but eat immediately.

If you like your joint rarer: Take it out of the oven when the temperature reaches 48°C.

If you like it more on the pink side: Take it out of the oven when the temperature reaches 52°C.

Slow-cooking from frozen:

  • Preheat the oven to 80°C.
  • Place a deep-frozen joint in a roasting dish at the bottom of the oven.
  • Roast – it usually takes about at least 12 hours – to an internal temperature of about 65°C.
  • Place in a cold, spiced salt solution for about 5 hours.
  • Wipe dry and serve cut into thin slices.
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