Home on the Range #007: Grouse Recipes for your Fall Hunts
Welcome to our recurring series of “Home on the Range.” Here, we would like to share all of our experiences for those who may be homesteading, living off the land, hunting, farming, ranching, and truly investing in nature and the great outdoors. The ability to provide for yourself and your family can be tremendously rewarding and simultaneously difficult at times. So, in “Home on the Range” we want to share our different exploits so you can learn and hopefully we can receive your feedback along the way as well.
Grouse can be a “Tough Old Bird”
Despite their reputation in some quarters as being tough or gamey, grouse when properly prepared makes for a great lunch or dinner to find in the woods. They are a great “target of opportunity,” as one can often find them while big game hunting other species (and be given heart palpitations by an unexpected flushed grouse). If you don’t see your primary quarry, bag a few grouse on the way out. It’s better than nothing! My first tip, and the most essential part of all my grouse recipes, is to be aware of what they are eating at the time. If all the deciduous leaves have fallen, and they are eating nothing but pine needles, they tend to have a bit of a bitter, astringent taste. Other than that, they are good eating, and done right, they can be a filling meal.
In addition, they are a cinch to field dress if you know how. Standing on the wings and pulling firmly and steadily on the legs will breast out most smaller grouse. The big ones aren’t much of a challenge to get the meat from, either, as the skin is very thin and pulls off easily. No plucking required! The following are a few of my favorite ways to prepare these plentiful birds.
Grouse Recipes #1: Campfire Style Cast-Iron
- cast iron pan
- implement for turning the grouse
- McCormick Poultry Seasoning
- One or more grouse
- 2 tbsp butter or oil per grouse
- Heat up your cast iron pan on the stovetop, grill, or campfire.
- Season grouse meat well
- Melt butter or heat oil in pan
- Cook on med-high heat until fully cooked through (at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Enjoy your wild chicken!
Grouse Recipes #2: Carnitas-Style Grouse Tacos
- Slow cooker
- Forks to shred the grouse when done cooking
- Grouse breast (1 per 2 persons)
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1-2 tbsp cumin per breast
- 1-2 tbsp fajita seasoning per breast
- 1-2 tbsp pepper per breast
- 2 cups Tomato sauce per breast (if low or no sodium, add salt to taste)
- 1 cup Orange juice per breast
- Tortillas and toppings of choice for making tacos when done cooking
- pour half of your tomato sauce into your slow cooker
- place breasts on bottom of slow cooker
- sprinkle seasonings on top of breasts
- lay 2 strips of bacon on top of each breast
- sprinkle in onions
- pour remainder of tomato sauce and orange juice into slow cooker
- Cook on low for approximately 8 hours
- Remove breasts from slow cooker and shred finely with a fork
- Enjoy your Grouse carnitas tacos!
Grouse Recipes #3: Bacon Wrapped Grouse
- Pan and heat source
- grouse meat
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- Season grouse and wrap with bacon
- Heat pan to medium low heat
- Lightly render the fat from the bacon for a short while until there is enough grease to lightly fry the garlic. You do not want to burn the garlic, just add its flavor to the pan.
- remove garlic bits and increase heat
- Fry the bacon wrapped grouse until done
Nothing to Grouse about
Grouse are a plentiful bird and their meat is almost as versatile as chicken. I hope you enjoy these few favorite grouse recipes of mine if you try them, and feel free to leave your favorite way to prepare these birds in the comments (throw out the bird, drink the beer?)! Fall can be a great time to not only get out, hunt new species, try new grouse recipes like we suggested, and explore new land, but it can also be a great opportunity to bring along new hunters/huntresses as well as family. Hopefully some of these suggested grouse recipes make it to your dinner table and you can potentially apply these grouse recipes to other game birds like pheasant and quail as well. As always, thanks for reading “Home On The Range” and AllOutdoor.com and we will see you again in two weeks.