While I’m generally on the no-bear bandwagon, there’s one type of wild game that’s gotten a bad rap in the hunting world that I think is actually pretty good — pronghorn antelope.
A few years back, I shot a pronghorn in Wyoming and reluctantly searched for recipes to make with the meat after hearing other hunters in camp complain about its tough texture and off-putting flavor.
I started with a slow-cooked root vegetable stew, and it was the best I’ve ever made. The chunks of steak were tender and delicious.
So why do so many hunters think it tastes so bad?
The time of year you shoot your pronghorn can play a major part in its texture. Tag it early before the rut, and you have a better chance of cooking up moist meat. Hunt later in the season after they’ve been putting on the miles, and you could end up with an extra chewy animal. That’s where being a bowhunter pays off. Seasons for hunting with archery tackle typically fall several weeks before gun seasons, so you’ll have better odds of taking home good meat.
While it’s important to clean any animal you kill as soon as possible, this is especially true with pronghorns. And getting it out of the arid heat immediately will improve the overall quality of your meat.
Cooking your meat the right way and with the right complementary flavors is also crucial to a palatable dish. Because most pronghorns eat a lot of sagebrush, they usually retain a strong sage flavor in their meat. So if you opt for recipes that work with this flavor profile and stick to a low and slow cooking method, you should be able to achieve tender, tasty meat.
Maybe my expectations were set super low and I was pleasantly surprised, but I think pronghorn is great game meat. Have you tried speed goat?
6 thoughts on “This Wild Game Actually Tastes Good – Contrary to Popular Opinion”
I have always cut up and frozen wild game after only one or at the most, two days of cooling out. Even with 3 1/2 year old and older deer or an old squirrel. Low and slow is the trick. Our family loves the taste of sage, so pronghorn meat would be a treat.
Low and slow seems to make everything better!
I shot an antelope a number of years ago and heard the meat was not that great. I got it home and just started cutting big chunks of meat, vacuum sealing it, and putting it in the freezer. I just grilled it and have to say it was outstanding. I like it much better than whitetail.
Happy to hear you were pleasantly surprised too!
I am one of the nay sayers, I guess. I shot mine in the middle of September and the guys with me had bags of ice they tossed into the cavity for the ride back. I had it processed and shipped home (packed in dry ice) and got it into my freezer immediately. I was anxious to try it as a friend said it was his favorite game meat. I even made sausage by mixing it with pork.
I tried some of the sausage, immediately. I was quite let down,, but I blamed it on my sausage making skills. Next I tried the back straps that I had told them to butterfly (like I do with my deer). Now I was very disappointed.
I gave some of the sausage to my friend who claimed to like it and to my son,, to try. Both loved it,, especially my sausage. Naturally I had to try some more thinking I did something wrong the first two times. Same result.. So, My friend and my son became the happy recipients of about 25 lbs of antelope,, each. I, on the other hand, have the mounted head hanging on a wall. (I won the mounting of the head as a kind of door prize. This was at the annual “HellavaHunt” that they put on in Douglas Wy for many years. I was disappointed to hear that it is no longer held.)
Anyway,, no,, or rather NO,, I do not care for antelope. I have, however, eaten bear that I thoroughly enjoyed. There is no accounting for taste.
Goes to show any animal can have great flavor or be tough to choke down. And we all have very different tastes!