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At 2.5 grams of fat per 100 gram serving, venison is a leaner alternative to beef. The key to maximizing its flavor is rich spices, says Scott Conant, owner of Scarpetta restaurant in NYC. Try rubbing the meat with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, then searing over high heat.
“Treat it just like chicken,” says Chris Kersch of Healthy Buffalo, a specialty meats store in Chinchester, NH. “Just make sure it’s well-done. It’s almost translucent when you first get it.” Try rubbing a Cajun spice mix on your alligator before grilling for some real New Orleans flavor.
Drizzle the meat with olive oil before grilling to maintain moisture, and go easy on the spices—it’s got a great natural flavor. “It’s very similar to a venison flavor, although a little more mild,” explains Kersch. “It’s not quite as gamy and a little bit sweeter than the venison as well.”
This one is going to be the easiest transition for guys hesitant to abandon the burger. “You won’t really be able to tell the difference, depending on what you put on it,” says Conant. “The best way I can describe the flavor is that it’s similar to beef, but it’s just a cleaner taste,” says Kersch.
(31:5 is the average protein-to-fat ratio, in grams, of these four meats)
Invest in a meat thermometer and measure internal temperature by sticking the tip of the thermometer in the center of the meat.
Don’t get too aggressive with the spices. Too much and you will drown out the meat’s natural flavor. “Take fresh rosemary and put it in the microwave for about three to five minutes,” says Conant. “When you take it out, it will literally crumble into a powder. Rub that on the meat and it will have a huge flavor.”
Game meats are very lean, so if you cook them too fast the meat may dry out. Keep your grill between low and medium to ensure the best flavor.