For many people, game is a notoriously difficult meat to cook right – but does it really have to be? Do you have to be a professional chef to be able to cook game perfectly?
Using sous vide, cooking game has never been easier. With precision temperature control, you’re able to adapt easily to different cuts and thicknesses to cook the perfect game every single time.
So, how can sous vide help?
First, Prepare Your Meat
For the best tasting game with great texture, it’s always best, where possible, to use fresh meat that is at room temperature. While storing meat in the fridge isn’t a bad thing, having the meat at room temperature rather than cooler will keep the water temperature in the sous vide consistent, ensuring a perfectly cooked piece.
It’s also best if you season the meat several hours in advance to allow the full flavours to infuse into the meat. While the sous vide method helps to infuse flavour deeper into the meat, pre-seasoning will give a much more infused flavour deeper into the meat. Even if all you want to do is season with salt and pepper – season a couple of hours in advance of cooking at least.
Just try not to go over the top with strong seasonings as when cooking meat for long periods of time can often make these flavours overpower those of the meat itself.
Understanding Cooking Time
As with any food, cooking time can vary drastically depending on what you’re cooking. This can be the type of meat or the different cuts of the same meat.
Game cooking times don’t have to be as complicated as some guides make out. A good general guide is that if you’re wanting to cook red meat in the same style as a steak, you should allow 30 minutes cooking time per every half-inch thickness of the meat. This should give you a nice, tender piece the whole way through the meat.
Thicker cuts will obviously take more time to cook, and if you can cut the thickness down, it’s advisable to do so to keep the meat tender and the cooking time less.
Much like cooking times, temperatures will also vary depending on the ingredient being cooked and the cut of the meat.
The temperature at which you cook your game will affect how moist your meat will be, as well as how “done” it will come out as.
The general rule of thumb is this – the hotter you cook something, the more juices are expelled as the flesh contracts more and the moisture in the tissues leaks out. If you cook the game at too high a heat, you can cause the meat to dry out and become tough – something that is best avoided when cooking game.
If the cut of meat you’re wanting to cook is tough already, cook it on a low heat for a long amount of time to prevent the meat tightening further. This is generally the way in which you should cook game birds to keep them soft and juicy.
Game Sous Vide Recipes
Looking for some inspiration for game recipes that you can cook using sous vide? We’ve got just the collection for you:
Cooking Times & Temperatures
Finally, here are some recommended cooking times and temperatures when you’re cooking sous-vide game to use as a guide:
|185g Pheasant Breast (Medium)||65°C/149°F||40 minutes|
|300g Spatchcock Pigeon||65°C/149°F||1 hour 30 minutes|
|200g Grouse Breast||56°C/132°F||45 minutes|
|225g Guinea Fowl Breast||62°C/143°F||1 hour 30 minutes|
|100g Rabbit Loin||58°C/136°F||45 minutes|
|200g Hare Loin (Medium)||62°C/143°F||50 minutes|
|85g Partridge Leg||70°C/158°F||6 hours|
|350g Venison Haunch||55°C/131°F||1 hour 20 minutes|
You can find out suitable cooking times for other cuts and weights using our Cooking Time Calculator.