A grouse is like a combination of a chicken, peacock, and pigeon. It’s a small game bird that people hunt for sport. If you want to know what grouse tastes like, you have come to the right place.
Grouse look like very small chickens but they don’t taste like them as they have a more pheasant-like flavor. However, they do come with the same proportion of white & dark meat as chicken. The young grouse breast offers a mild gamey taste and it feels tender and the rest of the bird along with legs offers a more pronounced gamey flavor.
There are different species of grouse including spruce grouse, ruffed grouse, sage grouse, snow grouse, red-eye grouse, and hazel grouse. All of them come with the same white & dark meat proportions and offer strong flavor and gamey taste.
What to Look for in a Grouse?
It’s important to note that grouse found in different regions can also have different tastes just like other birds. That’s because of the different types of food they consume. They’re truly wild animals and can eat any type of nutrition they find.
If you like pot roasts and strews, older grouse will suit you the best because they’re loaded with flavor. However, they are a bit tougher than young grouse and require slow cooking for a long duration. However, some people hang older birds outside for some time to make the meat tender.
So, if you prefer quicker cooking methods then consider buying young grouse. You can also talk to the local game dealer to find the right upland birds according to your needs.
How to Cook Grouse?
As compared to other tiny game birds, grouse are very lean. You can cook and eat the meat of grouse by itself because of its unique flavor. However, some people mix grouse meat with other fowl including stew, braised dish, and casserole. You can also do some larding on grouse meat before cooking if you like.
While there are many ways you can cook the meat of grouse, roasting it is one of the most popular cooking methods.
How to Make the Best Roasted Grouse?
Brine the grouse for about 6 to 8 hours before starting the roasting process. You can make your own brine by using 1⁄4 cup of water and the same amount of pickling salt or kosher salt. You can let the grouse submerge in the brine for 4 hours but 6 to 8 hours brining will generate the best results.
However, you must not let them sit in the brine for more than 8 hours. Otherwise, they’ll get too salty. You only need to use a couple of ingredients to make roasted grouse in your house including salt and pepper, unsalted butter, and lemon.
After removing the grouse from the mixture, cover it with the unsalted butter. Smear the unsalted butter all over including under the neck and knob in the cavity of the grouse and cut the lemon in half and stick each piece into each grouse.
Then add the grouse to your oven which is preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the grouse roast for 15 minutes and then turn the heat of your oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Baste the bird with the melted butter thoroughly and let it roast for 10 to 15 more minutes after changing its side. Check the doneness and make sure the meat doesn’t dry out. Remove the roasted grouse from your oven and cover it in aluminum foil.
Let it sit on your kitchen countertop for 5 minutes, remove the foil and serve the roasted grouse with game chips and bread sauce. You can also use grouse to make pilaf just like you make using venison or duck meat.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Eating Grouse Meat?
The grouse is loaded with protein, vitamins, and many other minerals, which means it is a good food source to improve your muscles. The grouse meat also regulates blood pressure and can help you fight sickness. The sugar and fiber content in grouse meat is extremely low.
However, it offers fats, cholesterol, and some carbohydrates as well. It means that eating the grouse meat will not suit you if you are following a strict diet plan and trying to lose some weight.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Should You Cook Grouse?
The most important thing to consider while cooking grouse is to make sure that you don’t dry it out because it’s a very lean bird. You will enjoy the best taste if the grouse still has some moisture inside so, consider serving them pink. Additionally, do not discard the liver and heart of the grouse if you have a whole bird. These parts can be easily pan-fried too and eaten with the rest of the bird.
Is Ruffed Grouse Poisonous?
Poisonous birds do exist but they are very rare. It depends upon the food that the bird eats and even the European Quail can be poisonous. Some people believe that ruffed grouse can be poisonous but studies show that there have been no such cases reported in the United States since 1886.
What Does Ruffed Grouse Taste Like?
The rough grouse meat is tender and feels almost sweet. Ruffed grouse legs taste good as white meat, like chicken and their breasts have red meat like deer meat. You can cook ruffed grouse in multiple ways and many people believe that it’s one of the only wild bird species that taste like deer meat. Brine your ruffed grouse before you cook wild bird meat to ensure it remains juicy, tender, and moist.
How to Remove the Gamey Taste of Grouse?
Add a little apple cider vinegar or simple vinegar in water along with a pinch of salt and buttermilk. Then soak your grouse into the mixture for 6 to 8 hours. If you don’t have that much time then let the meat remain submerged in the mixture for at least a couple of hours. It will not remove that taste completely but you will notice a significant difference.
What Does Chukar Taste Like?
Chukars live in very harsh terrain but surprisingly they taste good. It feels similar to chicken but a tough one. The breast meat of chukar is white and mild and the legs are dark and contain fat. Preparing chukars like hot wings or in slow cooker stew generates the best taste.
What Does Partridge Taste Like?
As compared to pheasants, partridge offers a sweeter and more gamey flavor. It has a subtle and delicate taste and it’ll suit you if you love the unique flavor of country meat.
What Does Ptarmigan Taste Like?
The taste of ptarmigan is somewhat similar to chicken but it’s more gamy. The meat of this bird is tender and dark and comes with a fine texture. You’ll find the taste of ptarmigan like it’s a cross between a chicken and grouse. However, it’s important to note that birds found in different regions can offer a different taste and you can have a different experience.