Smoking Wild Game With Z-Grills

Smoking meat has been around since the dawn of time. Cavemen used smoking to preserve meat while also imparting flavor. The remnants of neanderthal in the average man’s genetics could be why smoking meat is still so popular today 😂.

In addition to the cavemen, America has a deep history of smoking meat. Native Americans smoked wild game meat and fish to preserve meat for the harder winter months. Europeans brought different smoking techniques over to the New World, along with pigs and cattle, and combined ideas to start creating a more American style of smoking.

Early American colonies in the Carolinas did not have the wide-open lands of places like Texas needed to raise cows, so they kept hogs. When times were hard, and feed ran low, people would set pigs off in the woods to fend for themselves. Those pigs they would find later were much leaner, like the wild hogs we struggle with today. To deal with these leaner cuts of pork the Southerners would cook using the low and slow styles of smoking. These techniques are still used in the Carolina version of BBQ today and are why Carolina BBQ centers around pork.

Furthermore, as America progressed so did smoking. Poorer immigrant communities, like the Jewish and German people, used techniques to make cheaper cuts of meat palatable. A predominant cut for both of those people was brisket. German immigrants used the cheaper brisket cut to make a lot of what you see in the Texas style of BBQ today.

I touch on all these things to bring up the fact that smoking meat has been used to prepare wild and domesticated game for centuries. Unfortunately, I think this preparation of wild game has fallen out of favor. 

I love smoking wild game. The smoky flavor goes great with some of the stronger flavors not found in domesticated animals. So far, I’ve made a couple of fun venison recipes on my Z-Grills smoker. The smoked chorizo queso and smoked armadillo eggs were both AMAZING.

My Z-Grills pellet grill has been a game changer in the kitchen. As with most things in history, innovations and technology have made life easier. With the invention of pellet grills, you don’t have to tend to a live fire or burning coals all day. You simply throw pellets into a hopper, set your temperature, and get to cooking! This temperature control is especially important in wild game.

Wild game has a much lower fat content than domestic game. This means there is less wiggle room for error and temperature fluctuation while cooking. Obviously, you can cook any meat over a fire (caveman style) and the temperature won’t matter, but if you want it to taste good you need to be more careful.

For example, venison backstrap or duck breasts taste best when kept at or below medium. This medium temperature holds at a much shorter time period, because the heavy intermuscular fat you see in most domesticated animals, doesn’t exist in wild game animals. The intermuscular fat creates a self-basting affect, that can hold a cut of meat at a certain temperature longer. 

However, other cuts of meat, like shanks and shoulders, have a high amount of tendon and fascia, that breakdown from very low and slow cooking. Temperature control is still very important during these cooks. The fire running cold or getting too hot can affect the breakdown of collagen in the fascia. So a stable temperature, like one a Z-Grills pellet grill provides, is key.

Lastly, I love my smoker and I love Z-Grills for providing me with it! If you’re in the market for a pellet grill it’s hard to beat as a starter smoker. They have deals going on all the time on their website and if you use Sophie5 at checkout you can get an extra 5% off on top of any sale going on. Keep following my website as I make more delicious smoked wild game recipes and I hope you ENJOY this blog because I enjoyed writing it!!




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