We know that beef and chicken grilled over an open flame are delicious enough to satisfy an entire lifetime of cookouts, and for some people, that's enough. But there's a whole world of exotic meats out there ripe for the grilling. If you've got an appetite for some meat-based experimentation, there's no better time to start thinking about it than right now—on the cusp of summer.
Here are eight of the most popular and delicious exotic meats, and the best recipes to grill them with.
Bison (or American buffalo) meat is worth a trip out west by itself. Similar to beef but leaner, bison makes a great steak, burger, or roast. Here's a healthy bison burger recipe loaded up with extra flavors:
Alligator and Crocodile
They're different animals, people! Some say alligator and crocodile taste like chicken, or even veal. We say that can only mean one thing: bust out the deep fryer. Oh, wait a minute—this is a grilling article. Gator kebabs it is:
Unlike lamb, you want to cook goat all the way through. Lean meats like this do benefit from slow cooking, but you can grill goat as well. Here's what early-2000s Emeril Lagasse had to say about it:
Venison is a sustainable lean meat with a strong flavor, but it can be tough and chewy unless aged properly or tenderized. You can't cook it like you would beef, but the following recipe is an internet favorite:
Wild boar is only barely an exotic meat, and while it's leaner than commercially raised pork, it also tastes better. Think about it, animals that spend their lives foraging in the wild should taste better than farm-raised, corn-fed ones. We'll let Serious Eats take it from here:
Game birds like pheasant, guinea fowl, partridge, pigeon, quail, and others, are diverse alternatives to the enduring grilled chicken. These birds have stronger, subtly different flavors than farm-raised animals: Quail, for example, is a little sweeter than chicken, while pigeon (squab) is more tender and moist:
Ostriches—how do they work? They're flightless birds with wings and legs, but their meat is nothing like chicken or turkey. Ostrich is more like a very lean red meat, so you'll need to pair it with high-fat accoutrements. Try this recipe:
Out west you can find elk on the menu as often as bison. Preparations include steaks, roasts, backstrap (muscles parallel to the spine), and burgers, but there's no wrong way to do it—if you know how to cook steak, you know how to cook elk: