Before there were grocery stores and fast food restaurants, West Virginians took to the woods to hunt for dinner. As food became easier and more convenient to purchase, many Mountain State families held onto their hunting traditions, passing from one generation to the next the love of the sport and the taste for game. Today, harvesting and eating wild game continues to be popular.
West Virginia offers a smorgasbord of game options. From big game like bear, deer and turkey to small game like rabbit and squirrel, there is plenty to choose from. Deer, or venison, is probably the most popular among West Virginians. A deer or two can feed a family for months and venison is an excellent replacement for beef. When compared to traditional meats, venison has fewer calories and nearly five times less fat than an equivalent serving of beef. Ground venison can easily be substituted in recipes that call for ground beef, like tacos and spaghetti sauce. Other cuts of deer also are popular, including roasts and steaks. Deer jerky is a favorite snack of West Virginia hunters and their families.
A wild turkey or goose often replaces store-bought turkey at the holiday table. Squirrel gravy is a morning staple at deer camp. Frog legs, a delicacy in France and China, have been on West Virginia tables for ages.
And we haven’t even started to talk about fish…
To help plan your next meal, check out these wild cooking recipes. We’d also like to hear about your favorite wild game recipes. Please feel free to post them in the comments section for everyone to enjoy.