There’s nothing more satisfying than tucking into a delicious meal of wild game you know isn’t stuffed full of antibiotics and hormones. Unfortunately, even though this organic meat comes from free-range, sustainably harvested animals, getting your kids to taste it can be like trying to herd cats to the feeding trough.
If you’re nodding your head in recognition, you need our kid-friendly wild game recipes. These simple yet tasty ideas will have even the fussiest eater begging for a second helping. Bring these recipes along to a holiday potluck, and you’ll be the most popular guest.
The Benefits of Wild Game
Before we dive into our favorite kid-friendly game dishes, let’s take a moment to consider the benefits of eating wild game.
- Being low in fat and cholesterol but high in iron, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, wild game is an exceptionally healthy meat.
- It’s hormone and additive-free.
- Usually sourced locally, it has low carbon miles, meaning you created fewer greenhouse gases/carbon dioxide in procuring your meal.
- It’s incredibly versatile and can be used to substitute for more traditional meats in many dishes.
- It’s delicious!
There’s nothing more discouraging than putting on your best hunting gear, spending the day out hunting for your family, and proudly bringing home your spoils, just to have your kids refuse to eat it. With these dishes, that disappointment will be a thing of the past.
Ground Game Meat Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a popular Thanksgiving side dish in the south, but, given it’s one of the nation’s preferred comfort foods and a favorite with children of all ages, come this November, it’s time to embrace the macaroni.
Because it’s so loved by all, mac and cheese is a great vehicle for sneaking in ingredients you want your picky kids to try. The best way to incorporate wild game in a pasta dish like this is by grinding it up. Ground deer, elk, bison, or boar is ideal for this cheesy, satisfying dish.
Dress Up Your Cornbread
Cornbread is another scrumptious side dish popular at Thanksgiving. The question is, how do you make something that’s already delicious taste even better? Add some meat, of course! And if it’s game, all the better.
There are tons of recipes for ground meat cornbread, but instead of using boring old beef, experiment with different ground wild game meats. The great thing about this dish is if your kids don’t like it after trying the game, they can still enjoy the cornbread, though our guess is they’ll gobble the whole muffin.
Make It Bite-Sized
Nobody can resist bite-sized party food, so you can use this to your advantage when trying to encourage your children to widen their horizons and develop their taste buds.
Wild game can be incorporated into a host of yummy, bite-sized snacks, such as:
- Mini burgers
- Mini hotdogs
- Mini tacos
- Mini pies
- Corn dogs
- Pigs in blankets
We guarantee these petite bites, ideal for appetizers or side dishes, will be loved by every meat-eater in the family.
Just Like (Fried) Chicken
Did you know, in Japan, KFC has become the traditional Christmas dish? Why not take a leaf out of Japan’s book and add a bit of fried meat to your holiday menu?
Game birds like partridge are often used as chicken alternatives, but you needn’t limit yourself to chicken-like meats. Most meat tastes delicious when it’s deep fried. So take your favorite game and turn it into nuggets, fingers, popcorn, or wings. Your kids will be licking their fingers with glee.
Spice Up Your Potato Dishes with Wild Game
Whether you like them mashed, roasted, or boiled, potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple loved by children and adults alike. There are several simple ways to spice up your holiday potato dishes with a bit of wild game meat.
Roasting new potatoes with garlic cloves and meat makes for a delicious dish, but our absolute favorite has to be loaded mashed potatoes. What kid doesn’t enjoy a creamy, buttery mash?
The only way to make it better is by loading it with cheese, bacon, and scallions. The bacon can easily be replaced with a variety of game meats, and your kids won’t even be able to tell the difference; they’ll be too busy asking for second helpings.
Game Nachos: The Ultimate Sharing Platter
While nachos are not exactly a traditional Thanksgiving dish, they are impossible to resist. They are also the perfect way to encourage your kids to try wild game. Grab your favorite nacho chips and pile on the ground game, cheese, salsa, and chillies—depending on your spice tolerance, of course!—and watch as the whole family digs in.
One of the advantages of nachos is they’re so simple to prepare, you can easily involve your children, whatever their ages. In our experience, kids are much more likely to try food they’ve had a hand in cooking so you can make Thanksgiving memories and yummy game nachos at the same time.
Swap Turkey for Mini-Game Birds
There’s no denying that roast turkey is the crown jewel of any Thanksgiving table, but, if you feel like mixing things up, roasting some small game birds like cornish hens or quail could be just the thing for you and your family.
Not only are these petite birds mouth-wateringly tasty when roasted with some olive oil and garlic or rosemary and lemon, but they also look so sweet on the plate that your kids will love them. Remember: Mini-food is always fun food!
Ditching the turkey for quail or cornish hens has an added benefit for the chef, as these tiny game birds cook in a fraction of the time. Depending on the size of your appetites, one bird per person should be sufficient. And if you want an extra treat, wrap them in bacon or pancetta; no child will be able to resist!
Family (Wild) Game Nights Await
Getting your kids to try new foods is a challenge no matter what time of year, but wild game has so many benefits, it’s worth persevering and trying out different recipes. Make it a family project by getting everyone in the kitchen together, lending a hand; they will feel they are part of the important holiday preparation and will be dying to try their concoctions. Soon, your entire brood will be crazy for wild game; now that’s something to be thankful about.
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