Football fans across the country are gearing up for “The Big Game” on February 2, and regardless if you like the 49’ers or the Chiefs, there is one gridiron tradition we can all agree to love: game food.
And, being a pack of meat-obsessed hunters, we figure there’s nothing that goes quite as well with “The Big Game” than wild game.
So, we took an informal survey of the staff to see what the favorite big game recipes are for football Sunday. It was a calm, polite, measured discussion where we shared our philosophies on grand cuisine.
OK, OK… It was more like a game of CIA interrogation getting these guys to give up the details on their top-secret wild game recipes. But, because we love you, we went ahead and waterboarded the heck out of the hesitant until they gave up the goods.
Here are our top three “Big Game” wild game recipes:
Delicious, bite-sized and they open the door to a lot of locker room humor with their name alone. Mix up a bunch of these and the crowd will go wild. Go nuts and use a cocktail sword instead of a toothpick to serve, fancy pants!
- 1 lb. ground elk
- ¼ cup chopped white onion
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 tbsp. ketchup (get the good stuff)
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 1 ½ cups of really, really good barbecue sauce
- Preheat oven to 400˚ F.
- Slather a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Mix all ingredients (EXCEPT THE BARBECUE SAUCE) together.
- Don’t overmix, just work it until it’s fairly well-blended.
- Form into 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheet.
- Bake until brown and delicious (about 15-20 minutes).
- Stick ‘em with the sword.
- Serve with the barbecue sauce for dipping.
Antelope Chile Verde
We shot our antelope in Colorado, so we figured a good chile verde recipe was only fitting (and filling!) Prep this one first thing in the morning, and by game time the house will smell so good your guests won’t even notice the overblown version of the National Anthem.
- 3 lb. antelope stew meat, cubed
- 4 green Anaheim chile peppers
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 large sweet onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 oz. can diced green chiles (we like Hatch)
- 1 ½ oz. tequila (good, not great label)
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 25 oz. can white hominy
- Cotija cheese
- Flour tortillas
- Heat outdoor grill and roast Anaheim chile peppers and jalapeño peppers until skin becomes charred.
- Remove from heat and place in a plastic or paper bag for 15 minutes. When cooled, remove skin and seeds, then chop. NOTE: wear gloves when removing skin and seeds. DOUBLE NOTE: wash hands thoroughly before using the bathroom… ask us how we know.
- Mix garlic powder and flour in a plastic bag.
- Add antelope meat to bag and seal. Shake until all pieces are covered.
- Heat dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp. of oil.
- Brown antelope on all sides, remove and place on paper towel to drain.
- Make sure to cook in batches so not to crowd the meat while cooking. Add more oil if needed during cooking.
- After browning meat, add remaining oil to the pot. Add onions, garlic and diced green chiles. Cook until onions are soft and translucent.
- Add tequila and scrape the chunky bits off the bottom of the pot. Feel free to add some tequila to yourself as well. No judgement here.
- Add meat, onion mixture, chopped chiles, seasonings, chicken broth and water to a crock-pot and cook on low for 6 hours.
- During the last hour of cooking, stir in the white hominy and continue to cook on low until meat is tender.
- Serve with crumbled cotija cheese and warm flour tortillas.
Rack of Wild Boar Ribs
You may notice a distinct lack of vital wild game from all these recipes. Bacon. That’s right, we have a bacon-free menu for “The Big Game”. But fear not, pork-loving pigskin fans. We have just the closer for your porcine cravings. Wild boar ribs are easy to make, mouthwatering, and the perfect finger food for a game day gathering. Added bonus: all the rack-related grief you can give to Biff, your husky friend who’s getting a bit jiggly since he stopped going to the gym.
- 2 whole racks of wild boar ribs
- 5 parts iodized salt
- 2 parts granulated garlic
- 2 parts fine black pepper
- 2/3 part cayenne
- 3/4 part dried thyme
- 3/4 part dried oregano
- 2 parts paprika
- 1 part onion powder
- 1/2 part dried basil
- 1/2 part cumin
- 2/3 part coriander
- 2 parts chili powder
- 1/2 part dry mustard powder
- Combine all dry seasonings in a bowl.
- Trim the sinew and excess fat from the racks.
- Liberally apply the dry rub and set racks aside for at least 45 minutes.
- Grill over mesquite coals (none of those briquette things either).
- Cook until internal temp of 150 is reached on a real thermometer.
- Cut into two-bone servings.
- Slather with your favorite barbecue sauce or serve them dry.