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Wild Game Buffet

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
We are in the planning stages for a wild game dinner for around 100 people. I anticipate this will be a buffet, and those attending will sample the varieties of game contibuted by the hunters that took the game this hunting season. This will not be a bunch of freezer burned road kill, but will be game that has been well taken care of in the field.

We will have the following game varieties:

Pheasant
Chukar
Quail
Doves
Ducks and geese, best wild varieties (no gumbo only species
Venison, all cuts from backstrap to whole shoulders and hams
Sandhill crane
Feral hog (sows only, please)
Javelina (also sows only)

I have hosted these wild game dinners several times in past years. The best was catered by an oriental restaurant that did an outstanding job. What I am looking for are some recipes for each of the species. I am aware that true wild game, for the most part, is very lean and does not do well when overcooked. I would like your help with some recipes that can be served buffet style so the diners can sample a number of dishes. Thank you in advance for your input.
post #2 of 19
For a start, OldPro, check out some of the game recipes at my site: Camping Food. Outdoor Cooking I can provide you with others if necessary, as I have several thousand game recipes in my files.

I've hosted many a game party, and there are several concerns.

The biggest problem with a buffet for that number of people is holding the dishes. Many times game just isn't happy sitting on a steam table or other warming device. So choose recipes you think won't overly suffer from that. Venison meatballs, for instance, makes more sense than a roast.

The geese and sandhills, particularly, will not be happy sitting around. They are tough to begin with, more like red meat than gamebirds. Thus, one of the commonest ways of handling Canada geese, is to breast them out, broil the breasts to the rare stage, then slice thin and serve with a sauce. You might, too, consider smoking a whole goose or crane and serving it at room temp.

For game parties, I like using waterfowl as pate's, because there's no problem holding them. I'm not sure what you mean by "gumbo only" species. This implies that they have a flavor you're trying to hide. With the possible exception of sea ducks, I don't know of any waterfowl I would treat that way. When I make waterfowl gumbo it's because I like the taste, not because I'm trying to use up otherwise ill-tasting game.

Feral hog and javelina can be treated the same way. Basically, think of them as lean pork. The javelina will have a slightly stronger flavor that some find objectionable.

Chukar are bad for you. Best bet is to freeze them, wrap them in an insulated container, and ship them down to me for proper disposal. :D
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 19
is it advertised or invitation only?? in this state one cannot serve wild game that has not been though a professional meat processing facility?? seems if it is a private party it can be done?
When I cooked in a logging camp, was not allowed to serve game as room and board was included, the crew was in that way purchasing food.
But boy, that does sound good!!
Nan
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
It will be a private party. In Texas, you cannot sell wild game that has been harvested by hunting. You can pay a restaurant a preparation charge.

When I was managing golf courses I took some venison from my hunting lease to the chef at one of our facilities to prepare for the employees. I was a bit shocked when I showed up at lunch for the employees' meal and discovered that the venison was the featured item on the day's special. Several people had already ordered it, so we returned their money and treated them to a free meal
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
You already have a couple of recipes that will be featured if we are able to put this together. Your Fried Duck in Ginger Sauce has become a staple in our family and should work on a buffet line. My daughter-in-law gave me pickled ginger for Christmas. We also plan on smoked duck or goose served at room temperature with a jezebel sauce

I like the idea of the venison meatballs and found a recipe on your website.

When I mentioned gumbo ducks, there are some ducks I roast or grill rare, and some I use in gumbos, such as spoonies and scaup. I love all waterfowl, but in my opinion some are better suited to different menu items. We don't get greater Canada geese in this area, so most of our geese are specklebellies and snows, with some lesser Canadas. While snow geese are much maligned as to their table qualities, I can say with some authority they are excellent when properly prepared.

I had never sampled chukar until last week. You will not be getting a delivery.

Thanks for your input. You do know how to prepare game.
post #6 of 19
That Fried Duck in Ginger Sauce becomes a favorite of everyone who tries it. And for good reason. As you found, it's really good.

Spoonbill (spoonies) are much maligned. Yet, I always thought of them as being flat-billed mallards. They pretty much eat the same things, and taste similar, IMO.

With scaup it depends where they've been. On the east coast nobody much eats them, because they're fish eaters and taste poorly. But when I hunted them in Illinois they were colloquially called "butterballs." That's because they'd been eating nothing but grain all the way down from Canada. As a result, Bluebills in Sour Cream was one of my faves.

Goldeneye fall into a similar mold. People think because they're divers that they automatically taste bad. But it ain't necessarily so.

I have never understood the negative feelings about snow geese. I think it's one of those things like carp: people who have never eaten them keep repeating the idea that they don't taste good. But I bet you most of those folks, in a blind taste test, couldn't differentiate a snow/blue from a speck if made the same way.

A waterfowl dish that might work for your buffet is

Corian Bracey's Duck Salad

2 cups cooked duck meat, cubed
1 cup apples, cubed and peeled
1 cup tangerines, peeled and segmented (or supremed)
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup French dressing

Mix ingredients well and serve on beds of lettuce.

For the upland birds, you might try:

Gamebird Stew

2 large (i.e,, pheasant) or four small (i.e., quail) gamebirds
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 broccoli head, chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed and cubed
1 handful egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or equivilent white mushroom sauce)
1/2 cup milk

Put the stock, butter and birds in a large pot. Simmer until meat is tender (about 3/4 hour), adding more stock if necessary. Remove birds and set aside.

Add the broccoli, carrots, onion, potatoes and egg noodles and simmer until all are tender. While the vegetables are cooking, remove the meat from the bones, tear it into small pieces, and return it to the broth. Add the mushroom soup and milk. Reheat gently, making sure it does not boil.

Coming up with a recipe for dove that will hold was a little difficult. But I think this might work:

Dove in Carrot Sauce

8 doves
Butter
3 tsp brandy
12 oz carrot juice
1/4 lb button mushrooms, sauteed in butter
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Truss dove legs. Melt butter in a skillet. Brown birds on all sides. At the same time, warm the brandy.

Pour the brandy over birds in the skillet and ignite. When flame dies add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower flame and simmer about 20 minutes.

If thicker sauce is desired, add a flour & water slurry. But I think, in this case, the thinner sauce makes more sense as it will hold on a warming tray better.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 19
Holy Cow, those sound great, especially the Duck Salad. We should go down and sous for old pro, sounds like good food-good time!!!!
Nan
post #8 of 19
Damm right!! old pro, do you need a waiter? :lol: (or dishwasher?) :peace:
post #9 of 19
We should go down and sous for old pro

I'm up for it Nan. You know me---have knives, will travel.

And on the way down you can toss a cooler full of you-know-whats on the plane. :look:
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
It would be fun to have you and Nan participate. What do you want her to put in the coolers? If it's seafood, that's a topic for another event.

It looks like the game dinner is on hold for now. My time just got occupied by a bit of a tragedy at my second home. The tank on a toilet in an upstairs bathroom broke for no apparent reason when we were not there. It went undiscovered for almost a week, so I'm up to my XXX with insurance issues and contractors. Oh well! I'll just have more time to plan the dinner and hopefully collect more menu items.
post #11 of 19
Sorry to hear about your water problems, OldPro. I sometimes think that when Pandoro opened that infamous box the first of the evil things to escape was plumbing.

As to Nan and the cooler, yes, it involves seafood. But it's kind of an in-joke between her and me. If she want's to share, I have no objections.

Meanwhile, I'll try and come up with additional recipes suitable for your buffet, when it happens.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
I met with the contractor and will be ironing out insurance issues next week. Not a huge deal, but it is an unbelievable mess. We had been discussing a kitchen renovation, so this might be a good time to get at that as well.

My next door neighbor is an outstanding cook, and he invited me and some of our other residents over for one of his authentic German meals yesterday evening. When I brought up the wild game dinner, everyone wanted to be involved, and wanted to have it at the island. We are in the process of seeing what we have in inventory, and are going to try to pull it off in mid or late March.

Several of these folks have been involved in gourmet clubs, one has written a family cookbook, and all of us really appreciate fine food. We think we will be looking at around 30 people. With this group involved, it could be something special.

I think I'll test the Fried Duck in Ginger Sauce again this evening to be sure it measures up.
post #13 of 19
Wild boar makes excellent terrine, which is great alone or en croute.

If you need a recipe just send a PM my way.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
It looks like we have plenty of waterfowl. Since we are short on chukar and quail, I got on the internet to try to find some. I did. Wow! I ended up at an oriental poulry farm. There was a considerable communication problem, but I finally conveyed that I wanted to buy some quail. They brought out some on the hoof that were flopping around to be sure this was what I wanted. They cleaned and bagged them and I took them home. When I brought them out of the bags, I discovered they still had the heads and feet, but were well cleaned.

While I was waiting on my order to be processed, a fair number of orientals came in to get chickens, duck eggs, ducks, and one goat. The chickens were on the chalk board -in English and I gather Chinese - as "old brown hen", "old rooster", "young white hen", and so forth. It was an interesting view into a totally different culture.

I wonder if I should put goat on the menu?
post #15 of 19
lucky guy to have a fresh butcher available.....goat is wonderful!

Sugarland on a golf course. My mom lived in Sugarland on a golf course, for several years in the 1980's. Small world.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've eaten my fair share of cabrito. This could be better classified as caberon. There used to be a great restaurant in Monterrey, Mexico that had cabrito roasting on iron rods over an open fire pit. It was fantastic.

What golf course did your mother live on?
post #17 of 19
You mentioned "the island"...do you mind my asking which one?
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
It is Exotic Isle in Matagorda, Texas. It is no longer a true island, but was for years. It is on the Colorado River.
post #19 of 19
Spent a lot of time down there. Great Parties with even better food. I take it they finally finished the bridge. No more long waits on Saturdays, eh? Good thing tho.. ER personnel can get to the idiots on the beach faster.
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