4th of July is one of our favorite holidays for good reason. It’s a great time to celebrate our great country and also an opportunity to cook up some phenomenal wild game recipes that we’ve been meaning to get around to!
We thought you might be looking for some of these recipes to get ready for the holiday, so we took the liberty of creating a list of our very best 4th of July themed wild game recipes, including wild boar ribs, venison hot dogs and corn dogs, the best fried fish, turkey kabobs, and a wild game burger.
Check them out below—and if you need any meat, just check out our GameKeeper Butchery!
BARBECUED VENISON AND WILD BOAR RIBS
Serves 4 to 6
- 4 pounds (1.8 kg) wild boar back ribs or pork ribs
- 4 pounds (1.8 kg) venison ribs
- ¼ cup (60 mL) brown sugar
- ¼ cup (60 mL) hot paprika
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) kosher salt or sea salt
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
Place the boar and venison ribs on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, and thyme. Using your hands, cover the meat evenly on both sides with the dry rub. Massage the rub into the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to marinate.
For the best-tasting results, I recommend using a smoker set to 300°F (150°C), but you can roast the ribs in the oven at the same temperature using the same method. Put the baking sheet in the smoker or oven, add the water to the pan, and cook the ribs, basting with the pan drippings after the first hour, then every 30 minutes. Dry-roasting or smoking usually takes about 3 hours, but depending on the thickness of the ribs, you will want to start checking their doneness after 2 hours and then every 30 minutes. Tug at a bone on the end of the rack. If it is rubbery and not pulling apart easily, it is not done. Ribs with a dry rub will never be quite as tender as braised ribs, so do not expect the meat to fall off the bone. Let the ribs rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Tip: For even juicier ribs, brine the ribs overnight before marinating with the dry rub.
Excerpted from The Hunter Chef Cookbook: Hunt, Fish, and Forage in Over 100 Recipes by Michael Hunter. Copyright © 2020 Michael Hunter. Photographs © 2020 Jody Shaprio and Michael Hunter. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
MODERN CRISPY FISH STICKS
Deep-fried fish is a favorite no matter where you live in North America. A crispy batter enveloping moist, delicious fish is the dream for most anglers headed home with their catch.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when making a batter—milk makes soft batter, and transparent liquid, like beer, makes a crisp batter. The temperature of the frying oil is also important to cook the fish quickly and prevent a greasy coating.
After years of experimenting with different ingredients, the ultimate crispy fish batter has been developed. Thin, crisp, a touch of spice, and great appearance add up to a new favorite. Using bamboo skewers, thread the fish on the sticks providing something to hold and slowly lower the fish into the oil. The skewer will double as an eating utensil.
The crunch is created by using equal parts of regular flour and rice flour in the batter.
- 2 lbs fish fillets, boneless & skinned
- canola oil, or peanut oil for deep frying
- Fish Batter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup rice flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 ¼ cups beer
- ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup rice flour
Cut the fish into serving-size pieces, dredge in the blend of flours, and thread onto a bamboo skewer.
Directions for Batter and Frying
1. Combine the flours, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in a medium bowl.
2. Whisk the egg and beer together in a small bowl, and slowly add it to the dry ingredients. Whisk while adding the liquid to reduce lumps.
3. Prepare a deep fryer and bring oil to 375°F. A Camp Chef Dutch oven works excellent to fry fish, as it holds even heat.
4. Dip the skewered fish into the batter, let excess batter drip off, and carefully insert them into the oil. The skewers make it easy to slowly submerge the fish and prevent it from sticking to the bottom.
5. Fry for three to four minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. The batter should be golden brown on all sides. Remove fish from oil and let each piece drain on a wire rack for 15 seconds.
6. Serve immediately for ultimate crunch.
CLASSIC BACKYARD SMOKED VENISON BRATS
Here is what you will need:
- 3 lbs. of ground venison
- 2 pounds. of pork belly
- Two teaspoons of kosher salt
- One teaspoon of coarse black pepper
- One large Vidalia onion (chopped into small pieces)
- Two tablespoons of minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ½ cup of cold water to mix in all ingredient’s
- Hog casings or a casing of your choice to pack them in brat shape.
Mix ground venison, pork belly, and all other ingredients in a large bowl using water to help blend in all the spices. Next, run mixed meat through a meat grinder until it turns into a fine consistency. After the meat is mixed, place it in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator overnight. After 24 hours, pack the meat into casing, then vacuum seal and freeze until ready to cook.
How to prepare: Preheat Traeger wood pellet grill, (when cooking remotely or when doing a small cook in the back yard, I prefer using the Traeger Ranger portable grill). Using Hickory wood pellets, preheat the grill with the lid closed to 225 degrees. When the grill is to the desired temperature, smoke for 30 to 40 minutes to let brats soak up some of the wood-fired smoke flavors, raise heat to 325 degrees and cook until brats are well-done, rotate brats every 5 to 10 minutes to avoid overcooking on the bottom side.
When cooking bratwurst, I prefer toppings such as mustard, relish, jalapenos, or sauerkraut. On this cook, I chose to slice a Vidalia onion and cook them on the griddle insert that comes with the Traeger Ranger, along with the brats. Another option is to use some seasoning for the onions. On my Vidalia’s, I chose to sprinkle them with Meat Church’s Honey Hog BBQ seasoning. By adding seasoning to the onion, it creates a little more of a unique flavor that compliments each bite. The result is mouth-watering goodness.
SMOKED WILD TURKEY KABOBS
Things you will need:
- 1 Wild Turkey Breast
- 2 Medium Size Zucchinis
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 3 Large Potatoes
- 4 Bell Peppers (yellow, red, and orange preferably to add color)
- 24 Small Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 Bottle of Italian Salad Dressing
- 12 Kabob Skewers
How To Prepare:
1. Cut turkey breast into small bite-size pieces (approximately 2" X 2")
2. Cut zucchini, onion, potatoes, and bell peppers into small squares.
3. Leave the cherry tomatoes whole since they are already the perfect size to fit on the kabob skewer.
4. Place all ingredients into a plastic container that has a lid.
5. Pour the entire bottle of Italian dressing in the bowl of ingredients. Then place covered container in the refrigerator for 24 hours and let ingredients marinate in the dressing.
6. After 24 hours, or when ready to cook, put desired pieces on the kabob skewers, putting one of each ingredient on the skewer, then repeat 2 to 3 times until skewer is full.
Letting all of the ingredients marinate in the Italian dressing for 24 hours, then cooking on the Traeger Grill, gives these kabobs an incredible flavor. Makes approximately 12 to 15 skewers.
How To Cook:
One of my favorite ways to cook at home or while at hunting camp is on my Traeger Grills Pro 780 wood pellet smoker. For the Wild Turkey Kabobs, I used Traeger oak flavored wood pellets.
1. Preheat grill to 225 degrees with the lid closed. Most of the time, I will let the grill preheat while I am assembling the kabob skewers.
2. Once the smoker is to the desired temperature, I will place all the skewers directly on the grill rack.
3. Allow the skewers to cook for approximately 2 hours or until turkey has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
4. Once the turkey is to the desired internal temp, pull kabobs off the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Enjoy right off the skewer or by pulling off pieces into a plate.
A great feature of the Traeger Grills Pro 780 is its built-in WiFire option, which allows you to control the temperature of the smoker, as well as check the internal temperature of meat from a phone app. The WiFire app takes away the task of having to babysit the grill. Instead, you can go ahead with activities such as hiking, fishing, or wherever your adventure takes you and still have the peace of mind in knowing when your food is ready to eat.
FAIR DAY VENISON CORNDOGS
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 8 venison sausage links or one pound ground venison sausage
- 8 cups of vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons for the batter
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 8 wooden sticks
1. On a griddle or cast iron skillet, cook sausage links until cooked through and lay aside to cool. If using ground venison or ground sausage, mold the sausage around the wooden sticks to resemble a link, leaving one to two inches for the handle, then thoroughly cook over medium heat on griddle or skillet. Remove to a plate to cool.
2. In a large Dutch oven, pour the vegetable oil to a depth of 4 inches. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
3. Meanwhile, insert wooden sticks into the links. Place 1/4 of the flour onto a plate and roll venison sausage in flour to coat, shaking off excess.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining flour (1/2 cup), cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, cayenne and 3/4 teaspoon of salt and mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil then add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Whisk in buttermilk. Transfer some of the batter to a tall glass, filling it a little more than 3/4 full.
5. Holding the end of the wooden stick, dip each sausage into the batter, coating completely, working in batches. Carefully lower the battered sausage and stick into the hot oil Using tongs, remove corndog when the batter is golden brown all over, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer venison corndogs to paper towels to drain. Repeat procedure with remaining venison sausage dogs and batter. Serve immediately with mustard.
WILD GAME BIG MACK
- 2 pounds ground wild game meat
- 2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
- 1/4 cup onion, minced
- 1/2 Tbsp cracked pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
- 2 tsp finely diced onion
- 1/4 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- Cheddar or American cheese
- Shredded lettuce
- White onions, diced
1. In large glass bowl, mix game meat along with all other ingredients.
2. Take a baseball-size handful of meat mixture and roll into ball. On a piece of parchment paper toss ball down, press down on the ball and with other hand follow along the sides to form a perfect patty. Continue this until all patties have been formed. Place all patties in fridge for 30 minutes before cooking. This is key.
3. Preheat grill to high heat.
4. Place the burgers on the grill and don’t touch! Once they’ve cooked for 5 minutes flip once. ONCE.
5. The cheese is melted to the two bottom buns in the recipe, so when your burgers are almost done, toast your bottom bun with a slice of cheese and finish along with the burgers. You can do this on a baking sheet, if you don’t want over crispy buns.
6. Now we layer: bottom cheese bun, special sauce, pickles, onions, lettuce, burger patty, bottom bun, special sauce, pickles, onion, lettuce, burger, sauce and top bun
Jeremiah Doughty | From Field to Plate
Need wild game meat for a recipe you've been wanting to try? Check out GameKeeper Butchery. GameKeeper Butchery is dedicated to procuring the finest assortment and highest quality of specialty meats from the United States and around the world. Our commitment is to deliver the safest, freshest and most wholesome products.