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What is Game Meat?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 16, 2024
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Game meat refers to the meat from any land animal that is hunted for food, and is not typically raised on farms. There are thousands of animals that can be killed and used for meat. In North America, some of the most common types of game meat include deer, rabbit, and duck. Because this type of meat comes from wild animals who hunt and forage for their food, it is typically richer in flavor and leaner in fat than meat from domesticated animals like cows and chickens.

Game meat is commonly eaten by hunters and their families. When a hunter kills a deer, the meat from the animal can make a large quantity of steaks, roasts, sausages, and other cuts. Typically, the carcass is taken to a local butcher for processing into edible cuts of meat, which can then be stored in a deep freeze for up to a year without loss in quality.

Recently, this type of meat has risen in popularity among consumers as well, due to its delicious flavor and low fat content. Venison, which refers to meat from deer, can be bought through mail order shops and in numerous stores around the United States. Bison, or buffalo, meat is also rising in popularity; today, it is possible to purchase bison steaks or burgers at most grocery stores, and to order bison dishes at many restaurants around the country.

There is no real difference in cooking methods between game meat and domesticated meat. However, because of the lower fat content, game meat may occasionally be tougher, and so it can be helpful to slow cook the meat over a low temperature to tenderize it in certain cases. Because of their bold flavor, both venison and bison steaks are delicious served with a strong red wine, or even with a red wine sauce.

Other types of game meat available in the United States include wild boar, moose, elk, and ostrich. In Australia, kangaroo meat is common. In Africa, this type of food is known as "bushmeat," and refers to animals including the antelope, wildebeest, and zebra.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Babalaas — On Oct 09, 2010

@ PelesTears- I live on the big island and I cook a wild pig at least once every other month. Kalua pig cooked in the traditional Imu can't be beat, and you can only find it in places where you can kill a wild boar, find lava rocks, and find banana leaves.

We hunt boar all the time. Once we have the pig dressed, we rub it down with sea salt. We put the hot lava rocks in the Imu, put banana leaves on top, wrap the boar in chicken wire and put it on the banana leaves. The next step is to cover it with banana leaves, a burlap sack, and bury it. We let that pig roast all day, and then we dig it up and dig in. You won't find anything like it on the mainland.

By PelesTears — On Oct 09, 2010

I am a total foodie, and I love to try different organic meats and game meats. When I see game meat on a restaurant menu, I have to try it.

I have tried many different types of meat, and I am always willing to try something at least once. I have eaten rattlesnake, alligator, pheasant, rabbit, ostrich, boar, bear, bison, moose, and probably a few others I can't think of off the top of my head. Some I did not like very much, but others were out of this world. I think my favorite is wild boar that I tried in Hawaii.

By FrameMaker — On Oct 09, 2010

With the growing popularity of game meat, it is becoming more common to find game meat that was farm raised. Farm raised boar, ostrich, deer, and bison is quite common.

The difference between these meats is they are not raised in such a controlled environment as common farm raised animals like cattle, pigs, chickens, goats and sheep. They are often free range, and round up when it is time to harvest their meat. They are just as tasty, just as healthy, but not as authentic as wild game meat killed on the range or in the forest. One benefit farm raised game meats have though is farmers can control disease within the population by culling sick animals from the herd, and fencing in the herd to prevent sick animals from mingling with their herds.

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