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”
When deep in the backcountry after big game, I sometimes bring along a suppressed pistol to bag any forest grouse that might cross my path.
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.
If my exit out of a drainage at the end of a day of hunting bears no risk to spooking other game, I’ll bring a lightweight shotgun along for opportunity grouse
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 panimplement for turning the grouse
McCormick Poultry SeasoningOne or more grouse2 tbsp butter or oil per grouseHeat up your cast iron pan on the stovetop, grill, or campfire.Season grouse meat wellMelt butter or heat oil in panCook 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 cookerForks to shred the grouse when done cooking
Grouse breast (1 per 2 persons)2 cups chopped onions1-2 tbsp cumin per breast1-2 tbsp fajita seasoning per breast1-2 tbsp pepper per breastBacon2 cups Tomato sauce per breast(if low or no sodium, add salt to taste)1 cup Orange juice per breastTortillas and toppings of choice for making tacos when done cookingpour half of your tomato sauce into your slow cookerplace breasts on bottom of slow cookersprinkle seasonings on top of breastslay 2 strips of bacon on top of each breastsprinkle in onionspour remainder of tomato sauce and orange juice into slow cookerCook on low for approximately 8 hoursRemove breasts from slow cooker and shred finely with a forkEnjoy your Grouse carnitas tacos!
Grouse Recipes #3: Bacon Wrapped Grouse
grouse meatbacon3 cloves garlic, sliced thinsaltpepperSeason grouse and wrap with baconHeat pan to medium low heatLightly 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, m just add its flavor to the pan.remove garlic bits and increase heatFry 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.