Hunting Versus Buying Meat: It’s Not ‘Gamey’!

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The Hunters' Grocery StoreArticle Contributed by Field Staff Writer A. Zada.

If I asked ten of my friends, “Who wants a ribeye steak for dinner?” All of them would jump on the opportunity. If I told the same friends, “Only the people that can tell me where the ribeye comes from on the cow can come and eat,” I’m pretty sure one out of ten would be at the table. It’s not their fault. In today’s modern times when someone wants meat they just go to the store and buy it. All they need to know is that it comes in a perfect little tray sealed with plastic. They don’t need to know or most likely don’t want to know how it was killed, butchered or where the meat comes from. We have made it so easy for people that our human instinct to hunt and gather has been completely erased, for most people. Not to mention the fact that regular grocery store purchased meat really doesn’t taste like much. Farm raised cows, lamb, chickens, ducks and even eggs don’t taste the same as they would if they were harvested in the wild. Mostly because of their unnatural diet and living conditions.

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Wild BoarWild animals live quite differently than farm-raised animals. For one, they have diets that consist of their natural habitat. This diet comes through in their meat when it is harvested. For example, there is nothing like eating a wild boar and getting all those earthy notes of acorn coming through or eating mule deer that has been feasting on wild sage all of its life. What these wild animals eat pumps through their blood steam and develops amazing flavors throughout their entire body. This is also because these animals are much more active. Their entire lives are spent running up and down hills, across prairies and through mountain ranges. All that high activity produces a stronger muscle, producing more myoglobin in the blood, which creates darker meat and a more flavorful experience when eating.

Bacon wrapped Dove PoppersA regular question when I serve fresh meat is, “Is it gamey?” I am constantly in a battle with people arguing what “gamey” flavor is. Most people describe “gamey” as… Well, they pretty much can’t describe it. Let me explain. To most people anything that doesn’t taste like a farm-raised animal, which is typically bland and doesn’t have developed flavors, is “gamey”. Which means any free roaming animal, raised on a natural diet and harvested from the wild, is “gamey”. So, wild duck is “gamey” and so is Roosevelt elk, but I can assure you they don’t taste the same. They do however taste the way they were intended to. Why would we use one word to describe all the animals in the world? We should learn to ask a new question for the few animals that are farm raised, “is it “FARMY”, or does it taste like it’s supposed to! I’m not sure how that’s going to work out but we should give it a go.

Upland Bird HuntingLastly, there is something very romantic, exciting and honorable when you serve a dinner with game you harvested. Every time I reach into the freezer I recall the hunt I went on to harvest that animal. Every hunt has a long story to be told from miles walked and morning sunrises to building ever-lasting friendships and family. When eating these meals you relive these moments each and every time. So, not only do you enjoy fresh, all natural, truly organic, great tasting meat. You get to relive great memories while creating new ones with your entire family. Hunting meat beats buying meat in just about every aspect besides convenience, but who after all wants to be known as the one to take the easy way out?

Read more articles by A. Zada.

Be sure to read the complete Hunting Versus Buying Meat Series
Hunting vs Buying Meat: The Traditional Hunter in the Modern World
Hunting Versus Buying Meat: Memories with Every Meal

Hunting Versus Buying Meat: Tasting the Clean Stuff
Hunting Versus Buying Meat: Why I Choose to Hunt
Hunting Versus Buying Meat: A Riverbank Feast

The Hunters' Grocery Store

Ara Zada

Born and raised in Los Angeles Ara Zada is a chef, author, TV personality, food stylist and avid bow hunter. He has worked with Outdoor News, PBS, Food Network, ABC, CBS, NBC, TNT, Jaime Oliver Food Foundation and a range of others. His first cookbook ‘Lavash’ was released Oct. 2019. When he’s not cooking he’s shooting his bow, teaching his kids about the outdoors, training for triathlons and filling any available time with parkour.

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