Every year, my neighbor goes antelope hunting, and much to my satisfaction, shares the fruit of his labors. While the morality of meat is questionable, depending on your point of view, wild game is the most ideal form of it in my opinion.
Not to be preachy, but with regard to store-bought meat, we don't have the slightest clue as to how the animal was fed, or killed. One can only hope it was done acceptably. My neighbor is a good dude on the other hand, and I know he does what he does with respect for Mother Nature -- not to mention he puts every cut to use, wasting none.
The day after his trip, he showed up on my back patio with a cut from the top of the animal's hindquarters and suggested his favorite preparation: a horseradish and mustard rub with a creamy horseradish dipping sauce.
I ran out to grab some beers for the feast, choosing a bomber of Avery Brewing's Reverend, thinking a strong Belgian-style Quadrupel ale would pair well with the pungency of the horseradish rub, and that the name was fitting to my somewhat uppity opinion of the meat industry. I also happened upon a six pack of Left Hand Brewing's brand new, apparently innovative Nitro Milk Stout and couldn't resist grabbing it as well.
And I'm glad I did. Not only did it fully live up to the hype, pouring perfectly, as if fresh off a nitro tap; but it was quite tasty and drinkable to boot. In fact, it inspired me to add some to the dipping sauce, which ended up being an interesting addition indeed. It gave the sauce an extra depth of sweetness, while the nitrogen created a fun, foamy consistency.
But the meat was the true star. It was fresh, tender, juicy and surprisingly and pleasantly un-gamey. I asked my neighbor why this was exactly.
"Most wild antelope don't taste nearly as good." he explained, "Cool thing about these guys is their diet. While many antelope eat a fair amount of sage, making them rather 'gamey', pronghorns from the plains eat better than any feed lot animal. Their diet is mostly winter wheat, bird seed, corn left behind after harvest and indigenous grasses from CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) fields on the eastern plains."
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I could actually taste the grass in the meat, which interestingly enough, reminded me of a good cheese. And the sweet, pungent mustard horseradish rub added to the illusion. In fact, it was like eating a meaty blue cheese, and it just so happens that the Reverend is a blue-cheese-kind-of beer. Sticky sweet, with slight, spicy esters from the yeast and nice warmth from the alcohol, it was a perfect pairing with the snack. Here's the recipe (courtesy of my neighbor and all around go-to-guy, Craig):
1 pound fresh game meat 2 tablespoons horseradish 1 tablespoon sweet mustard Olive oil 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 3/4 cup nitro stout Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 2. Mix together 1 tablespoon of horseradish with mustard. 3. Season meat liberally with salt and pepper, and rub with olive oil. 4. Heat butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet. 5. Place meat in skillet and sear each side for about 1 minute, or until golden brown. 6. Remove and rub with horseradish mustard mixture, using all of it. 7. Place meat back in skillet and cook in the oven until desired doneness (8-10 minutes for medium rare). 8. While the meat cooks, whip cream with a whisk until it makes soft peaks. 9. Add a tablespoon of horseradish, a pinch of salt and stout, and mix until combined. 10. Remove meat and let rest for 5 minutes. 11. Slice meat on the bias and serve with horseradish cream.