Cooking game and reindeer is like cooking any other meat, but it demands just a little bit more attention from the chef. Key is to never overcook and always keep the meat moist.
Keep an eye on the directions of the fibres, it is preferable to cook the entire piece at once and slice it later
The meat should be at room temperature before cooking
Start frying in oil and finish with butter
Fillets and prime cuts can be done in the pan, no need for the oven.
Overcooked game tends to create a strong liver taste, which by many is mistaken for ‘game’ taste.
Do not shock the meat, let it reach room temperature before putting it in the pan, take it from the fridge up to one hour before cooking. We love to marinate reindeer meat 20-30 min before cooking with a mix of olive oil, salt, garlic, chilli and thyme which enhances the flavour.
Seal the meat on high heat and then lower the heat and baste with a good knob of butter. Make sure your pan is very hot when you start cooking the reindeer and turn the meat constantly to ensure an even colour on all sides. Be careful with the butter, it burns at 180°C, you want to keep it a simmering golden colour. A bit of thyme and garlic in the pan while basting will lift your end result to totally new heights. If you use a thermometer, always keep the heat under 57°C when it comes to fine reindeer meat.
Most important of all is to let the meat rest after cooking, at least for five minutes on a dry surface – a great chef’s trick is to let meat rest on butter paper.
Slicing the meat
Game is generally harder and consists of coarser fibres than meat from domestic animals. Therefore, always keep track on the direction of the muscle fibres, even when you are preparing the finest tender pieces.
Try juniper, bacon, pork pieces, black or red current jelly, pepper sauce or béarnaise sauce with your game; these all creates fantastic individual variations of one of the most delicious and healthy meat products in the world.