Do you worry that if SHTF and you need to hunt for your food, the taste of exotic meats might be too much of an initial shock for you or a family member? Even if you’re just looking for a new culinary experience, here are some of the best exotic meats for the grill.
Exotic Meats You Never Knew Tasted Good
Depending on the time of year, alligator meat is often quite readily available, especially in the southern states where the large reptile is in abundance. If you live up north, you might be surprised to hear that the gator is actually white meat.
In fact, it’s often compared to pork and chicken, thanks to its light-grained texture. However, you’ll find that the tail (considered the choice cut) is closer to veal in both texture and taste.
While you can usually find gator served deep-fried, it’s far better to cook it on the grill. That way, you won’t lose out on the low fat and calorie count, while still getting to enjoy the rich proteins.
Alligator tenderloins and sirloins (the most readily available cuts) typically retail at $20 per lb.
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Bison, also known as American Buffalo, is native to the North American continent. They used to migrate across the plains in huge herds before their numbers were decimated.
The earliest European settlers would often use bison to make pemmican, a protein-rich survival food invented by the North American natives.
Today, you can find cuts of buffalo meat in many grocery stores.
While slightly more expensive than beef (generally $40 for 2x 8 oz steaks), it’s considered superior red meat. They have similar taste profiles and textures, but bison is actually a lot healthier.
Compared to beef, bison has four times as much omega-3 fats but have less saturated fats and fewer calories.
Elk, similar to bison, is a large herbivorous mammal native to North America but hunted nearly to extinction. In fact, the last North Carolina elk is believed to have been killed in the late 1700s, with its Tennessee counterparts following suit by the mid-1800s.
As a result, you might find yourself having to import elk meat from New Zealand, which certainly drives the price up. However, you can still get elk tenderloin steaks at $80 per 1.8 to 2 lbs.
Compared to other red meats, elk is naturally leaner meat with a mild, almost sweet taste. Most of its fat is saturated, though it also has more unsaturated fat than beef. Similar to venison, elk is high in iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12.
The world’s second-largest bird, emus are native to Australia. However, you won’t have to import emu meat if you fancy giving it a go – there are emu farms in the States!
It might surprise you to hear that emu meat doesn’t taste anything like poultry. In fact, an emu that has been raised on an organic, vegetarian diet (while also being allowed to forage naturally) tastes like slightly sweeter grass-fed beef.
Nutritionally, emu meat is generally considered healthier than beef too, as there’s no fat to speak of. That’s because all of an emu’s fat sits as a thick layer between the meat and the skin, and is typically trimmed off all cuts.
Goat is one of the most sustainable meats you’ll ever find, as they graze rather than relying on grain feeding.
Compared to lamb, goat’s lower fat content makes it chewier. However, goat meat is also naturally sweeter and gamier than lamb or mutton. This does mean goat meat lends itself better to smoking or stewing than grilling, though.
We’re focusing on exotic meats for the grill today, so the more readily available stewing meat (at $20 per 1 lb.) isn’t quite appropriate, though still worth a try. Luckily, you can also get 1.5 to 2 lbs. goat tenderloins for $50.
The best way to source your goat meat, however, is to raise them on your own homestead. Goats make the perfect SHTF livestock for many reasons, including their meat and milk!
Even though ostriches are large, flightless birds, their meat tastes quite similar to a juicy steak! By all accounts, it’s like a gamier version of emu, thanks to most ostrich meat being hunted wild rather than farmed.
Perhaps the biggest difference between ostrich and beef is that it has significantly more B vitamins.
However, you can also expect it to be a lot more expensive than both beef and emu. The average ostrich fan filet will set you back $300 for 4.5 to 5 lbs.
No list of exotic meats for the grill would ever be complete without venison.
If you’re a hunter, you’re probably already quite familiar with venison, though it’s generally considered one of America’s most popular “freezer fillers.” And as a Survival Life reader, you’ll already know that venison is one of the best jerky meats too!
On the other hand, if you’ve never tried venison before, you’ll find it very easy to enjoy. It’s very similar to lean beef in taste and texture, though it also has a slightly gamier taste.
You can expect to pay between $50 and $70 for 4x 4 oz venison filet mignon steaks.
While these seven exotic meats for the grill are among the most popular (and “beginner-friendly”) choices, this guide wouldn’t be complete without a few honorable mentions:
- Eland – an African buck, eland meat is 97% lean and often described as a more flavorful alternative to beef
- Guinea Pig – traditionally a ceremonial meat in the Andean highlands, guinea pig meat is similar to rabbit
- Kangaroo – while kangaroos are the boxing champions of the Australian Outback, their meat is actually quite tender
- Llama – another traditionally ceremonial meat from South America, llama meat lies somewhere between beef and lamb in taste
- Rattlesnake – a light, tender meat, rattlesnake is sold frozen to preserve its flavor and should be cooked quickly at high heat
Even though many of these exotic meats are naturally tender, you should take great care while cooking them on the grill. Remember that wild meat tends to be gamier than domestic animal meat, due to higher activity levels and lower fat content.
Do you have any experience in grilling any of these exotic meats? Share it with us in the comments section!
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