First off, I’ll get the weekly calendar out of the way . . .
Monday: Smoked salmon patties. Sunday was busy and we just didn’t get around to it. With mashed ‘taters and random veggies. And, I literally just remembered that we are meeting with Calf #1’s 4-H club for a potluck dinner and meeting. This is a dish that will travel well methinks. I’ll have to put them together in the morning, as we have an afternoon appointment. (How on earth do the days get so busy so quickly?)
Tuesday: Parmesan Chicken (also known as Chicken Parmigiana.) For us, it’s a kid-friendly breaded chicken patty topped with spaghetti sauce, with noodles on the side. Except I just remembered that we used up all the noodles with last week’s garlic pasta. . . I think mashed potatoes would substitute just fine if I don’t get to the grocery store before then.
Wednesday: Dinner @ church. Always yummy, and I don’t have to cook! YAY!
Thursday: Originally it was to be chili, but I switched that to Saturday when I remembered, OH YEAH! The Bull and I are going on a date Thursday night. To his work meeting. If we can find a sitter. How romantic. Don’t you just envy my life? Really, you shouldn’t. It’s really not always this glamorous. Although it is nice to get away, just the two of us, even if it’s to discuss building practices and housing markets.
Friday: Moose stew. My recipe is one that I Frankensteined together from two different beef stew recipes I found on Reader’s Digest’s website last winter.
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner. I was thinking yesterday about something other than pancakes or waffles. Then I forgot what it was. If I remember, we’ll have That. It was a good idea, whatever it was. Otherwise it’ll be our standby, Pancakes and eggs and fruit.
Still not sure what to serve your family this week? Visit our friends to see what’s on the menu around the blogosphere.
Now, about the moose meat.
Several folks have asked about our moose meals. Yes, The Bull is a hunter (and a farmer, and a root beer maker, and shoveler of snow, and a sausage maker, and a changer of diapers, and . . . . well, he does a lot of things!) But he’s not always successful in bringing home the bull. (Moose, I mean. He brings a lot of bull home on a regular basis!) So then we go with Plan B.
Here in Alaska, there are a lot of moose. And a lot of cars and trucks and vans. And a bunch of roads. And it’s dark and cold and roads are icy about 2/3 of the year. (I wish I were exaggerating about that last one. Ugh.) And that all combines to make a really bad scene for the moose.
Yes, my friends, I’m about to talk about roadkill. You who are squeamish can skip to the last two paragraphs to read about cooking with moose meat instead of beef.
Most folks think of things like “flat cat” and “squashed possum” and “road-rashed raccoon” when they think of roadkill. It’s a LOT different with the moose. They are big, for one, and top heavy. Vehicle plus moose usually equals a broken leg or ribs. It’s a fatal wound for the moose (and sometimes for the vehicle), but it’s not a flat situation. Oh, and moose are generally around 1000 pounds (a little less for a female [cow], a little more for a male [bull].)
Our state troopers get a call about a roadkill, then they call up local charity organizations who send out people to recover the moose. When our organization gets a call, The Bull goes out to recover the moose from where it was hit. Sometimes it’s middle of the night or 20 below. One of the easiest recoveries was 5 minutes from home and 20 degrees above zero! They take care of the moose in about the same way as you would a large animal that was gotten by hunting.
Processing is also about the same as a hunted animal, except that there may be more meat that is unusable (because of broken bones spoiling the meat and more bruised and bloodshot meat, for example.) The Bull is very particular about the meat and does not hesitate to throw out any meat that is questionable. He cuts most into roasts (and then we can cut the roasts into steaks, chunks for stew, or strips for fajitas) and the rest he grinds for burger or sausage. That’s the end of that story! A typical road killed moose can yield about 200 pounds of meat; half that if it was a calf. (A hunted moose will usually yield about 300 or 350 pounds of meat.)
Here’s a lovely video that could explain this more.
So, what happens in the kitchen when I get a package of meat out of the freezer? When I first moved up to Alaska a bunch of years ago I wasn’t a very experienced cook to begin with, but also I thought moose would taste gamey. That’s what people talk about with hunted meat all over the country. I was so proud of myself when I found a beautiful marinade recipe (for venison) that guaranteed to take out the gamey taste. I shared that with my then-boyfriend’s (The Bull) family and they stared at me like I had grown another head.
Turns out that moose isn’t gamey like venison, elk, etc. Who’d’a thunk it? I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps our colder temperatures keep the meat from getting the taste. I’m sure there are many theories about this. Maybe The Bull will weigh in on this later.
Anyway, I treat it just like you would treat beef, with a few notable exceptions.
Moose is very, very lean, very low in cholesterol. So, as a general rule I use lower heat and add more liquid or fat when cooking the meat. I have not had success with oven baking moose roasts, the meat just gets too dry and tough. I prefer to use my Crock*Pot. When making burgers I add extra egg to hold the meat together better, and I only turn them once or they fall apart. (We’ve only done them on the grill a few times for that reason.) We typically grind the burger “dry”, no fat added. This makes for healthy stroganoff or mooseburger helper, but lousy mooseburgers. So, when the Bull makes sausage, he adds beef suet or pork shoulder.
So this has been a long and rambly post about everything I could think of about cooking moose. But, if you have a question, be sure to post a comment and I’ll try to answer best I can! Or I’ll ask someone who might know. 🙂