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Game Meat

Game Meat

I love eating game, but I don’t hunt. Luckily for me, most people I know in Maine either do or know someone who does. Procuring venison — either deer or moose — can be as easy as mentioning to the right person that you love to cook and eat it. That’s how my husband and I once acquired several pounds of moose from the freezer of a neighbor whose uncle had shot one that year.

That’s the thing about Maine game: it can’t be bought or sold — only shot, bartered, or freely given. My preference is to barter for it, since inevitably, both parties come out of the exchange feeling like they’ve won. Hunters tend to accumulate a lot of meat in their freezers, and they’re usually happy to swap some for something good, like whiskey.

Our friend and contractor, Andrew, a bow hunter, supplies us with ground venison, button-buck roasts, deer tenderloin and steaks. It’s the ultimate protein: free range, organic, lean, with a better omega 6 to omega 3 ratio than domestically raised meats. A note to the squeamish: it’s not as gamey as you think; if butchered and cooked right, it’s not gamey at all. I like to pan-fry Andrew’s expertly dressed deer steaks in butter and serve them with a blueberry–red wine reduction and mashed potatoes. Moose, the leanest meat I’ve ever eaten, begs for extra love in the form of fat and rewards the effort of barding with a little bacon or schmaltz.

Wild treasures abound in the Maine woods if you know how to find and gather them: fiddleheads, mushrooms, blueberries, wild greens. Game meat is maybe the ultimate prize, the top of the foraged food chain. It’s a dividend of patience and perseverance and marksmanship, yes, but also of friendship. KATE CHRISTENSEN

Portlander Kate Christensen is the author of Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My AppetitesHow To Cook A Moose, and seven novels. Her most recent is The Last Cruise.

Game Meat

love eating game, but I don’t hunt. Luckily for me, most people I know in Maine either do or know someone who does. Procuring venison — either deer or moose — can be as easy as mentioning to the right person that you love to cook and eat it. That’s how my husband and I once acquired several pounds of moose from the freezer of a neighbor whose uncle had shot one that year.

That’s the thing about Maine game: it can’t be bought or sold — only shot, bartered, or freely given. My preference is to barter for it, since inevitably, both parties come out of the exchange feeling like they’ve won. Hunters tend to accumulate a lot of meat in their freezers, and they’re usually happy to swap some for something good, like whiskey.

Our friend and contractor, Andrew, a bow hunter, supplies us with ground venison, button-buck roasts, deer tenderloin and steaks. It’s the ultimate protein: free range, organic, lean, with a better omega 6 to omega 3 ratio than domestically raised meats. A note to the squeamish: it’s not as gamey as you think; if butchered and cooked right, it’s not gamey at all. I like to pan-fry Andrew’s expertly dressed deer steaks in butter and serve them with a blueberry–red wine reduction and mashed potatoes. Moose, the leanest meat I’ve ever eaten, begs for extra love in the form of fat and rewards the effort of barding with a little bacon or schmaltz.

Wild treasures abound in the Maine woods if you know how to find and gather them: fiddleheads, mushrooms, blueberries, wild greens. Game meat is maybe the ultimate prize, the top of the foraged food chain. It’s a dividend of patience and perseverance and marksmanship, yes, but also of friendship. KATE CHRISTENSEN

Portlander Kate Christensen is the author of Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My AppetitesHow To Cook A Moose, and seven novels. Her most recent is The Last Cruise.

Game Meat