For most people, there are few things more mouth watering than the delicious scent of meat being grilled. It's almost a primeval response, harkening back to the days when humans were still cavemen awaiting a fresh kill to be prepared for a meal after what was probably a hard-fought hunt. So if you're planning an outdoor gathering, why not treat your guests to a delicious barbecue? The scent wafting from your grill is almost entertainment itself. But do yourself a favor and avoid boring beef burgers and hot dogs. Your guests deserve better than that. Instead, consider something a little wild and crazy—game meat, such as venison or wild boar.
First Things First—Be Prepared
When grilling for a crowd, especially with meats that require a bit of finesse, it's very important that you:
- Check your grill carefully. Are all of the parts clean and in proper working order? Squirrels, for example, can chew through wires that control your starter, so make sure that it's working properly. If you do discover that your current grill is not functional or just won't be up to the task of serving a large group, consider buying a new one.
- Do a test cooking. This is especially important if you have purchased a new grill. You can't assume that all grills cook alike or that you'll know instinctively how to start your grill. Cook the game meats on your grill at least once before you entertain a large group so you can calculate how much time each type will require.
- Change your propane tank, if you are using this type of grill. If you can't remember the last time you changed your tank, it's wise to change to a fresh one. Having a tank run out during the middle of your BBQ is disastrous. You'll be left with uncooked or improperly cooked meats and hungry and disappointed guests.
- Appoint a friend or family member to be your helper. This will be the person who will take items that are ready for consumption to the serving area and bring you more raw items to cook.
- Provide plenty of appetizers. Unfortunately, the smell of cooking meat is going to whet your guests' appetites, so they're sure to be hungry long before you're ready to serve them.
- Add a vegetarian option. More than likely, you'll have at least one guest at your outing who doesn't eat meat, so make sure to add some vegetable-based dishes, as well.
Types of Game Meat to Serve
So now that you're sure you and your grill are ready to handle a horde of guests, it's time to decide what type of game meats to serve. Here are a few that you can purchase at many grocery stores or online. And, of course, if you have a friend who hunts, ask them if they have any extra cuts. Most are very happy to share their bounty.
- Wild boar
- Buffalo or bison
- Wild turkey
In general, game meat is very lean, so make sure to grill the meat quickly. Otherwise, you could end up serving your guests a dried-out dish that resembles shoe leather or jerky.
You can also add "fat" by wrapping a cut in bacon or by constantly basting your meats with a marinade to keep them moist. Some experienced game-meat grillers also opt for sausages or burgers made from the wild meats, especially for species that that tend to be tough, such as bear.
Serving game meats at a barbecue is a fun way to impress guests and can also be an interesting conversation starter as everyone compares notes on the different meats you'll be serving.