Wild Things

Jackson Hole Magazine Winter 2011-2012


Chefs’ Tips for Cooking

Prime cuts need to be cooked rapidly by searing or grilling to seal in the juices.

Do not cook past medium rare.

Season wild game with what the animals eat such as rosemary, juniper and sage.

Cook wild game with butter as the meat tends to be very lean. The butter fattens it up a little bit.

Keep it simple with salt and pepper for seasonings.

The lack of fat ensures game will cook faster. The fat on beef acts as an insulator so heat must penetrate this insulation before the cooking process begins.

Both coriander and rosemary blend well with game flavors

An internal meat thermometer is a handy reference.

For coordinating timing of dinners, prep vegetables and starch before putting on game steaks.

Grill with a marinade of good olive oil, shallots, ground coffee and fresh cracked pepper.

Cloves, juniper berries and lavender toasted and ground with olive oil or rosemary and black peppercorns as marinades.

Slow cooking for long periods is appropriate for lesser cuts, braising, covered in liquids creates tender and flavorful dishes.

Brown a game roast, add to the crock pot with a bunch of veggies and herbs and liquids such as broth, stock, wine or beer.


Pan Seared Red Deer, Shiitakes, Sherried Cherries & Sweet Brown Rice
The Kitchen / Jarrett Schwartz

Serves 4

4 8 oz red deer steaks

canola oil

2 c sliced shiitakes

1 c dried cherries

1 T minced garlic

¼ c cream sherry

2 T soy sauce

2 T sugar

3 T cold butter

Saute in canola oil the sliced shiitakes, dried cherries, and chopped garlic. Deglaze the pan with cream sherry. Add soy sauce and sugar. Reduce for two minutes, add the cold butter. Sear the deer steaks on an iron skillet or grill to rare. Plate, add sauce and rice. Serve.

Housemade bison sausage, ground in-house with carmelized fennel, shaved white cheddar and roasted chile broth.

Rocky mountain elk ossu buco with roasted root vegetable quinoa and bourbon steak sauce.


Venison Osso Bucco with Braised Winter Vegetables
The Garage / Michael Burke

6 osso bucco slices, 2 inches thick

1 carrot chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 small red onion

1 leek

salt & pepper to taste

¼ c olive oil

½ bottle red wine

½ c tomato puree

1 T chopped fresh rosemary

1 T chopped garlic

1 ¼ c venison glace

Sear lightly floured and seasoned osso bucco in hot olive oil. Remove from pan. Add the diced vegetables and caramelize to a rich golden color over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce the volume by half. Add the meat back to the pan, plus the tomato puree, garlic, herbs and venison glace. Cover the pan and place in a preheated 325° oven for about an hour or until the meat is falling from the bone. Remove venison from the pan. Pass the sauce and the veggies through a sieve pressing to extract all the juices. Place the venison back in the sauce and keep warm.

While the osso is cooking select whatever vegetables you would like to accompany the entrée and sear in hot olive oil, caramelize and braise for about 45 minutes. Place the vegetables in a deep bowl, then the osso bucco on top. Ladle the sauce over and around the vegetables and serve.

Forest Mushroom & Currant Stuffed Elk Chops with Red Wine Reduction and Mashed Potatoes     Cadillac Grille / Suzanne Marino

  • Elk chops, thickly cut
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 T minced shallots
  • 1/3 c apple, minced
  • 2 T dried currents minced
  • 1 c assorted forest mushrooms, minced
  • 4 T butter, melted
  • 2 ½  c seasoned corn bread crumbs
  • 1 c goat cheese
  • 2 T guava juice concentrate
  • 1/8 t sea salt
  • 1/8 t cinnamon
  • 1/8 t allspice

Grill chops briefly on each side only trying to achieve grill marks. Once cool, cut a pocket in the side of each elk chop. Set aside. Sauté mushrooms and garlic together in half the butter, add apple, currants, cheese and bread crumbs. In another bowl combine melted butter, guava juice, sea salt, cinnamon, allspice. Mix in the mushroom mixture. Pour butter mixture over the top and mix gently. Lightly stuff the elk chops with the mushroom-cheese mixture. Preheat oven to 350°. Place the stuffed chops in a shallow baking pan and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Velvet Elk
Gun Barrel Steak & Game House/ Chef Peter Lageveld

Serves 2

12-14 oz elk tenderloin

spice rub: 2 t salt, 1 t garlic powder, ½ t black pepper

olive oil

2 oz sliced mushrooms

2 oz julienned sun-dried tomatoes

2 oz diced green onions

2 oz red wine

4 oz demi glace

2 oz butter

Cut the elk into 2 oz. medallions and dust with spice rub. In a saute pan, heat a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle in some cracked black pepper, and saute the elk medallions until medium-rare. Remove from pan and keep warm, then add sliced mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and diced green onion. Deglaze with red wine. Add demi-glaze and butter. Stir while heating sauce until butter is incorporated. Serve medallions draped in sauce and garlic mashed potatoes. Do not cook past medium rare.


Seared Venison Loin, Jalapeno Bacon Grit Cake and Blackened Tomatillo Jus
Café Genevieve  / Chef Joshua Governale

Jalapeno Bacon Grit Cake:
1 cup Anson Mills Grits
2 cups water
1/3 cups cubed bacon, cooked (fat reserved)
3 jalapenos, chopped and seeded
1 cup white cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook grits according to package directions. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a shallow pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator until mixture forms and sets to pan.

Blackened Tomatillo Jus:
3 c reduced Veal stock
3 c blackened tomatillos (Place tomatillos in oven to blacken)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 T garlic, chopped
1 T corn oil
2 c Anaheim chilis, diced

In a sauce pan over medium heat, cook onions, garlic, and chilis. Add the rest of the ingredients until cooked. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree. To serve, heat sauce until thickened.
In a medium pan or on the grill, sear a 6 oz cut of venison on all sides. Ask your butcher for a 6 oz serving per person of Denver Leg. After searing the venison, salt and pepper and place in the oven to roast.

Serve on a large plate, place a small spoonful of the Blackened tomatillo jus. Cut a square out of the grit pan and place the grit cake on top of the jus. Top the grit cake with a sautéed green of your choice, like arugula. Place the venison on top of the arugula. Add more jus on top of the venison and serve immediately.


Chianti Antelope with Huckleberry Sauce
Amangani Resort / Chef Rick Sordahl

32 2 oz servings

8 oz antelope bones trimmings

4 oz peeled shallots, thinly sliced

1 T peeled garlic, chopped

1 bay leaf

¼ oz fresh thyme

3 juniper berries

¾ oz canola oil

750 ml Chianti

4 lb veal demi glace

2 lb chicken stock

6 oz huckleberries

Over med high heat, brown the antelope trimmings in the canola oil. Add shallots and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the wine and reduce liquid by 80%. Add the demi, chicken stock and the aromatics and simmer until sauce coats a spoon. Strain through a chinois and cool. Finish the sauce with berries, add salt and pepper to taste and whole butter before serving.


Zonker Stout Braised Buffalo Short Ribs served with Organic Stone Ground Grits and Onion Marmalade
Cascade Grill / Kevin Humphreys

4 buffalo short ribs, 4 in., 3 bone

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 T tomato paste

24 oz Zonker Stout

4 c beef stock or broth

1 T garlic, minced

8 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 300°, if convection to 250°. Season ribs with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat the oil in an oven safe pan and sear the ribs on all sides evenly over medium high heat. Remove the ribs from the pan and reserve on plate. Cook the onion, celery and carrot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Add the tomato and stir frequently for about 2 minutes. Return the ribs to the pan and add the beer, stock or broth, garlic, thyme and bay leaves then bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and bake for 7 hours undisturbed. Remove the ribs from the pan and keep warm. Strain the liquid into another sauce pan and place over medium heat to reduce.  Skim any fat from the top and season with salt and pepper as needed.


Braised Elk Raviolis of House Made Pasta, Brown Butter, Pine Nuts, Dried Cranberries and Crispy Brie Bread
GameFish / Steven Murphy

Braised Elk Leg

2.5 pounds ~ elk, Denver Leg (Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Company)

3 T kosher salt

1 T fresh cracked pepper

1 t paprika

1 t cumin

1 t coriander

4 c veal or chicken stock

½ c demi glace

Combine all above seasonings in a small bowl. Sprinkle meat with entire seasoning mix. Either pan sear meat until dark brown or grill until same stage. Place meat into deep hotel or casserole dish and pour braising liquid over meat until 2/3 is covered. Cover and place in a 250° low or no convection oven for 6 hours. Flip braised meat once every two hours. Must be fork tender.

Pull from liquid and using two tongs quickly pull apart the meat. Rough chop to a fine mixture and pour the demi glace over the finished product.

Complete using a pasta machine, ravioli dough made to setting three for most basic units. A 2” round works with a fork and water to make sure the dough rounds stick to each together. Can be frozen, dusted with flour to prevent sticking.

Ravioli Dough

28  (2 Inch Round) Raviolis

3 cups All Purpose Flour

4 eggs

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

2 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Sift Flour. Make a mound with the flour making a well in the center. Beat the eggs and add them to the center of flour. Add salt and oil. Knead mixture mixing wet and dry together. Add water as needed. Dough should be smooth and not sticky. Divide into two equal portions. Wrap with plastic. Rest for at least 30 minutes, but over night is better.


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For some the thought of wild game for dinner is the anticipation of the hunt. That’s a many month process. Apply for and score an elk license in a coveted area. Summer scouting missions are the next step. Walk the terrain quietly throughout the season looking for game trails, places where an animal has bedded down. Notice the thickets of the foliage the wily wapiti like to eat.

Ready the camo outfit that never comes inside the house, except for the occasional washing in baking soda, plus the boots, hat, gloves. Have a few rounds of target practice with your bow or rifle or both. Put the bone saw, plastic garbage bags and tent in your pack. Sharpen your knife. Check out and replenish your ammo supply, new copper bullets instead of the old lead. Not only will the scavengers who are drawn to eat the gut piles be lead free, but the meat on your table will have no shards.

The day before opening day there is the walk in, pitching the tent, the watching, listening and waiting, no fire, just a quiet cold dinner. Trying to rest with visions of sugarplums dancing before the first light has you up and out. Luck and timing have as much to do with success as a clear shot and a steady hand. It could be hours, days or weeks waiting for your chance. All this before the future dinner is even in hand, but not yet dressed, skinned, carried, butchered, wrapped and frozen.

Other folks take a different approach to dining on game, with the emphasis on fine. In this valley we have the luxurious option of checking out the local dining guide and reserving a table. That’s all it takes. Jackson Hole is extremely fortunate to have a remarkable number of skilled chefs whose creativity abounds. Most menus offer an array of game meat choices with sustainable, local or regional and organic ingredients as accompaniments. Some chefs have begun to utilize our short summer growingwindow by buying and preserving tomatoes, cherries, berries and more, bringing summer’s bounty to winter.

Although it is referred to as game meat, there is nothing gamey about these products. Elk, antelope, bison and red deer or venison raised free range on farms with consistent diet of good nutritional value create the highest quality product. These meats are high in protein and minerals, yet low in fat and cholesterol. Diners can enjoy the opportunity to sample spectacular offerings to please any gourmet or satisfy a more mundane desire. Bison burgers abound on the valley’s menus. The latest trend of sliders, tiny burgers made of everything from antelope to shrimp and always pronounced as if by Joe Morton, the mellifluous voiced hall of fame baseball announcer. This is merely a summary in random order of the variety, not even close to the whole picture of tempting morsels.

Cascade in Teton Mountain Lodge does a lot with buffalo, including sliders, carpaccio and short ribs with Zonker Stout. The hanger steak is done Loma Saltado fashion with herb roasted potatoes, chile purees and a pan sauce is a take on Peruvian street food. A very popular item is the house made buffalo pastrami.

Couloir serves buffalo tenderloin house smoked and paired with salsify puree, wilted greens and Madeira glace. In addition there is the Cervena red deer from New Zealand with house preserved brandied cherries.

In the Fine Dining Restaurant group you will find elk tartare with house potato chips and for a taste of Vietnamese cuisine, venison pho with aromatic beef broth, rice noodles, sugar snap peas and straw mushrooms.

Wild game chili with house made cornbread, sour cream and grated cheddar matches the lively environment at Q Roadhouse, with the wild boar short ribs are another savory option.

Il Villaggio Osteria serves incredibly exciting Italian cuisine. Chef Paul O’Connor’s Seared Buffalo Carpaccio with roasted garlic balsamic aioli, shredded spinach, parmesan, beet “tartare” and lemon oil will please any palate. The braised local buffalo osso bucco with saffron risotto is supreme comfort food. House made gnocchi with wild boar bolognese and pecorino romano is the best.

Jeff Drew at the Snake River Grill is a James Beard regional chef award winner. His food always wins favor. This winter that includeswild boar tenderloin with spiced sweet potato mash and rioja sauce. Buffalo osso bucco on organic polenta and horseradish persillade will warm your heart and your belly. He also presents a cast iron roasted elk chop with duck fat whipped potatoes and Banyuls gastrique.

At the Amangani chef Rick Sordahl prepares a different slant on bison ribs in a chipotle cabernet braise with shallot mashed potatoes and snow peas. His elk chop is paired with a chanterelle mushroom ragu.

GameFish’s Steven Murphy entices with Wyoming buffalo and ricotta triangoloi with gorgonzola cream sauce, golden raisins, sun-dried tomatoes and local sage. Another choice there is Wyoming buffalo ribeye with scalloped potatoes, crisp tobacco onions and maitre d’ butter. There’s also a mixed grill wapiti rack and elk filet with bacon, blue smashed potatoes and mustard demi glace.

Million Dollar Cowboy Steak House chef, Kevin Gries shared, “This winter we’re offering a 22 ounce dry aged buffalo ribeye along with elk chops, top butts and tenderloins, plus a holiday seasonal caribou. Who can resist ‘reindeer’ in December?”

The Wort Hotel’s chef, Scott Ritter, offers a smoked pheasant soup with firecracker roasted sweet corn, a hint of apple, pumpkin seed infused oil and sweet potato hay. The Silver Dollar Bar serves the popular elk gyros and elk sliders and wild boar chile with housemade jalapeno cornbread and a cilantro creme fraiche. Entrees include garlic and rosemary infused buffalo tenderloin with balsamic compound butter, yukon gold potatoes and baby carrots with vegetable medley, plus smoked paprika and mexican coffee rubbed free range venison served over sweet potato whipped potatoes with burnt marshmallows and broccollini, and an apricot and molasses large bone “natural” elk chop served with Colorado quinoa, haricot verts, and juniper huckleberry demi glace.

Some chefs have shared recipes for their favorite game dishes. Visitors will enjoy the ease of finding purveyors such as Cowboy Free Range Meats and Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Company who sell and ship buffalo, elk and a wide selection of game offerings for your cooking and dining pleasure at home. It’s a fantastic way to reminisce about a Jackson Hole experience and share with friends and family

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