It’s a myth that only younger game animals are good eating. Trophy-size game can also be excellent table fare.
Some hunters believe trophy-size big-game animals make lousy eating, so they need to be boiled, ground into sausage, or donated. While younger animals certainly provide more consistently edible meat than older ones, my wife, Eileen Clarke, and I have enjoyably eaten plenty of trophy animals and fed them to friends who liked them a lot, too. Eileen writes game cookbooks, and her recipes help. This one is from her cookbook, Slice of the Wild, which costs $25 and is available with Eileen’s other wild game cookbooks at www.riflesandrecipes.com, or by calling 406/521-0273.
Wild Steak Fajitas
Traditionally, fajitas are a flank steak dish, but unless you have a moose or elk, there isn’t a lot of flank meat. The good news is any steak marinated 48 hours will work just as well. Also, traditionally, the sweet peppers are sautéed at the end, with onion and garlic. But I like simple, and love the taste of those tiny sweet red peppers sliced thin on top. So I leave them raw, and save a step and a pan. One other note: last time I made these fajitas, our little grocery store was out of chipotle adobe sauce. So I substituted 2 teaspoons of tomato paste (in the tube) and another tablespoon of honey for the adobe sauce, and never noticed the difference.
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons chipotle adobe sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Juice of one lime, about 1/4 cup
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon smoked chipotle Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 to 2 pounds deer, elk, moose or antelope steak
4-6 flour tortillas (8-inch), heated on an ungreased skillet 10-15 seconds each side
A few sprigs of cilantro
A few slices of sweet red and yellow peppers
Purée the vinegar, oil, adobe sauce, juices, honey, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, white pepper and chipotle Tabasco sauce in a blender. Pour into a re-sealable plastic bag, add the meat, and seal the bag.
Marinate for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, turning the bag once each day. The longer you can marinate this, the better the flavor and tenderness.
1. Preheat the grill to medium, about 350 to 400°F. Pour the marinade off, and lay the steaks on the grill. Cook until rare to medium rare, turning once, about 10 minutes total for 3/4-inch thick steaks.
2. Remove from the grill and slice thin across the grain. Stack on the warmed flour tortilla with fresh salsa, cilantro, sour cream, a few slices of sweet red and yellow peppers on top and enjoy.