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7 min read

Our Best Wild Game Recipes & Wine Pairings for Hunting Season in MN

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It's that time of year again–the leaves are beginning to turn, there’s a crispness in the air, and pumpkin spice is overtaking shelves across America. It also means that hunting season is upon us in the North Star State! Whether you’re among the 450,000+ people hunting whitetail deer across Minnesota, or maybe you prefer hunting game birds, we’re coming to you with some of our favorite recipes (and our wine pairing recommendations, of course!).

Perhaps the most important tip we can give you when preparing any wild game meat is: do not overcook it! Wild game has far less fat than domestic animals and its lean nature makes it very unforgiving to overcooking, so don’t treat them like you would beef or chicken. We’d go as far as to say to err on the side of underdone, about 20 degrees less than you would cook domestic meat across the board.

Venison Roast with Red Wine Au Jus

This is an excellent, hearty dish that you can use several cuts of your venison meat for. It cooks low and slow for a tender, juicy finish pretty much no matter what. 

Ingredients:

  • 3-pound venison roast chuck, rump, or round
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp oil of choice
  • 1 large white onion thinly sliced
  • 1 head of garlic top sliced off
  • 6-10 thyme sprigs
  • 4-6 rosemary sprigs
  • 12oz low tannin red wine like a Red Burgundy pinot noir.
  • 24 ounces beef stock

Instructions: 

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. While it’s heating, season all sides of the roast with salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Add the oil to the hot pot. Sear the meat on all sides until a good crust forms, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • When the roast is seared, add the onion, garlic, and fresh herbs (tied into a bundle, if desired). Pour in the wine and enough beef stock to come ¾ of the way up the roast.
  • Cover the Dutch oven and place in the center rack of the oven. Cook, covered, for 3-3.5 hours, until liquid is reduced by half and the roast is fork tender (or at least 140 degrees internal for a rare roast).
  • Remove roast from pan and tent with aluminum foil. While the roast rests, make the pan sauce.
  • Remove the herb bundle from the braising liquid and discard. Gently skim the fat off the liquid in the pan and discard. Squeeze the cloves out of the garlic head in the liquid and discard the skin. Place the Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring the liquid to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by your desired amount.
  • The longer you simmer, the stronger the sauce.
  • Once the roast has rested for 15 minutes, cover it with the sauce and serve with roasted potatoes or veggies.

Pairing recommendation: go ahead and finish off the rest of that pinot noir or shop the rest of our Burgundy selection.

Read more: Burgundy Wine 101

Shredded Goose

You may know that goose can easily become dry if not prepared properly. Here’s how to avoid that! Plus, who doesn’t love a crockpot recipe?

Ingredients:

  • Breast meat of 2 Canadian geese (or whatever will fit in your crockpot)
  • 1 packet any Italian dressing mix (we like Good Seasons)
  • 10-12 oz jarred jalapenos with 4 tbsp juice (more or less depending on how much spice you can handle. 10-12 oz will not make this dish spicy)
  • 1 bottle or can any light beer (Fulton’s Lonely Blonde works well here)

Instructions:

  • Place all ingredients in your crockpot
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours, as long as the internal is 145 degrees
  • Serve on a hoagie bun and enjoy!

Pairing recommendation: now that you have an open case of beer, you could go ahead and crack one of those open, or you could go for a bottle of Malbec to pair with this. We’d recommend Gran Corte-de-Flechas Malbec–it is dark, fruit-forward, and bold. The notes of tobacco and oak compliment the slight gaminess of goose.

Sauteed Duck

Whether you have mallard, blue-winged teal, or wood ducks on hand, this recipe will be great. There are numerous ways to eat duck, but pan-searing the breast meat is by far one of the easiest ways to prepare it and control the temperature. In order to let the flavor of the meat shine, don’t go overboard on the seasoning. 

Ingredients:

  • Duck breast with skin, cubed or fileted (as long as the size is relatively uniform)
  • 8 oz portabella mushrooms (optional)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce  
  • 1 tsp pepper 

Instructions:

  • Melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the soy sauce and stir so it combines.
  • Once bubbling, add your duck to the pan skin-side down and allow it to cook on medium-low heat for 8 minutes so the skin gets crispy.
  • If using, add mushrooms to the pan shortly after the duck and leave them to cook
  • Once the duck is ready to flip, you can also stir the mushrooms around a bit. Sprinkle on half of the pepper right before flipping. Flip, season with pepper, and let cook on the other side for 4 more minutes or until the internal temperature of one of the larger pieces is 130 degrees. Do not let the internal temperature exceed 145 degrees as it will become tough and dry at this point.

Pairing recommendation: the rich, dark meat of duck stands up well to the bold, spiced flavors of a Syrah, and we think this Crozes Hermitage Basatus absolutely perfect.  It is 100% Syrah and is a match made in heaven for this recipe. The Appellation of Crozes-Hermitage is a wonderful area in the Rhone Valley that specializes in Syrah. If you ever get the chance to visit it is amazing. 

Bacon Wrapped Pheasant

Who are we kidding? This recipe would be excellent for any upland game bird–pheasant, ruffed grouse, wild turkey–you could wrap just about anything in bacon and it would be delicious, but it works especially well here. Like most other wild game, these birds are very lean and can dry out if you’re not careful, so wrapping them in bacon adds a bit of fat so they stay juicy more easily!

Ingredients:

  • 4 pheasant breasts
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper

Instructions:

  • Combine the dry seasonings, sprinkle onto pheasant breasts, and rub them into all sides.
  • Wrap each breast with 2 pieces of bacon and secure them in place with toothpicks.
  • Cook at 350 degrees for about 25-35 minutes, until the bacon is crispy and the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 145 degrees.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Pairing recommendation: we think that upland birds, especially the white breast meat can call for a white wine pairing.

  • Pheasant: the lean and slightly gamey meat can be complemented by a chardonnay with good acidity and a hint of oak, like Angel’s Landing Chardonnay
  • Ruffed grouse: this is a delicate, milder meat, so a sauvignon blanc with a bright acidity and citrusy, herbaceous flavors like this one from Silver Beach can provide a refreshing contrast to the mild taste.
  • Wild turkey: especially when your turkey breast is prepared with aromatic herbs and spices like this, a floral viognier like La Forge Viognier can complement these flavors nicely while standing up to the intensity of the bacon. Another great option would be a Vouvray, like Vouvray Les Lys.

Smoked Goose Jerky

You’ve heard of beef jerky and venison jerky, but what about goose jerky? This is an excellent way to use up all of the viable meat on your goose for a healthy snack at any time.  It makes a great snack or a nice addition to a charcuterie board/wine-tasting platter.

Ingredients:

  • Any part of the goose you’d like to use cut into ½-¾ inch strips
  • Orange juice
  • Garlic & herb seasoning

Instructions:

  • Soak the stripped goose in orange juice for 24-48 hours.
  • Once ready, set your smoker to 200 degrees.
  • Remove the goose from the orange juice and generously season with any garlic & herb seasoning.
  • Smoke the meat for 4 hours, +/- 30 minutes depending on if you like your jerky more tender or more leathery. The internal temperature should be 150 degrees.

Pairing recommendation: You can pair this with just about anything! We love Cote du Rhone Villages Bernard

All-in-all, wild game offers us a nice reprieve in a world dominated by mass-produced meats, no matter your preference. From the rich, earthy flavors of venison to the succulent, gamey goodness of wild waterfowl and upland birds, there’s just nothing quite like hunting for your food, cleaning it, and preparing a mouthwatering dish from start to finish. 

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