For years, I kept my game off the grill. Trying to cook an elk steak the way I grew up grilling a beef t-bone just never worked for me. Once I started plank cooking, the grill started staying out year-round and everything went on it. Because planks help keep the moisture in fish and game meat, they take care of the problem of lean meat drying out and either tasting like shoe leather or falling through the grill. Planks also keep the grill clean and make a great serving platter/cutting board.
While writing, “Cooking Big Game,” I knew I needed to get some fool proof grilling recipes going to add to the book. After a little experimentation, my fear of grilling game directly on the grates disappeared. There are really just a few guidelines to follow when grilling lean game meats such as elk, deer, antelope and turkey.
Tips for Grilling Game
1. Slice meat thinly (1/4″ to 1/2″) across the grain if grilling backstrap or tenderloin. Pound and/or tenderize other meat cuts into steak size.
1. Marinate in an oil based marinade. Try olive oil as it is a healthier oil.
2. Keep salt to a minimum as it can make meat tough. Try a sprinkling of sea salt while meat is grilling.
3. Keep grates well lubricated. Use an oil soaked paper towel held by tongs to wipe grates down right before placing the meat on them.
4. Let meat reach room temperature before grilling. Cold meat sticks to even a well lubricated grill and will contract and be tough.
4. Grill hot and fast. Get grill temperature to at least 400º grill first side only until grill marks appear and then turn meat with tongs. By the time the last of the meat is flipped, the first ones you flipped will be done.
5. Do not overcook. It is safe to eat most red meat rare with bear, boar and cougar being the exception.