All animals produce tough meat. Somewhere on every animal will be a cut or many cuts that are just not easy to eat by grilling on a hot flame.
Big animals, like deer, elk, and cattle also produce big pieces of tender meat that are easy to eat, and that makes them favorites. Little critters like the rock chuck pictured above also produce tender meat — but it’s little. Their backstraps just aren’t that big. If you try to grill their front legs hot, it won’t go well.
Tons of animals get a bad rap — jackrabbits are at the top of the list — for being tough and impossible to eat. But, if treated properly, all the meats I’ve encountered can be quite tasty, even though they are tough.
Fortunately, we can make tough meat tender in many different ways. Using a pressure cooker is one of the fasted ways to tenderize the meat and break up the connective tissues that make it tough and chewy.
These instructions work for anything tough. Shoulders from any animal, ribs, offcuts for stew. Try it on big game, small game, and game birds. This recipe will be nice for small game and big wild turkey wings. Finish them basted with sauce in the oven on broil. Tasty!
What You Need
- At least one pound of meat; I’m using 2 rock chucks
- Stock — enough to almost cover the meat in the pot. Use game stock, chicken stock or beef stock
- Seasoning (salt, et al.)
- Pressure cooker — Instapot-style is great
What You Do
Prepare the meat well. You’ve still got to remove silver skin and those little glands that ruin the flavor so easily.
Season the meat liberally and place the meat in the pressure cooker. You may take the time to brown the outside by setting your pot to saute, but you can get away without it.
Add stock to fill at least halfway up the side of the meat, and nearly covered would be good, too. Your pot may have instructions on a minimum amount of liquid you should use — follow those instructions.
Set the cooker to High Pressure for 10 minutes. This means that once it’s up to pressure, it’ll stay there for 10 minutes, but it’ll take much more than 10 minutes to cook overall. Do about 10 minutes for small game, but if you put a thick roast from a big animal in there, increase that time. Maybe 30 minutes for a roast.
Carefully remove the meat. It may be so tender that it falls off the bones, and you’ll be making pulled-meat sandwiches. If you’re careful, though, you can cover this meat in barbeque sauce and put it on a sheet under the broiler in your oven or toaster oven. Do it on Broil for about 5 minutes and check it, maybe flip it. You want the sauce to be thick and sticky, but not completely dried out.
Add more sauce and serve hot!
You can turn even the worst cuts of meat and the lowliest critters into tasty pub-style wings with a pressure cooker.