As you probably have guessed, Tiger Meat is not made with actual tigers. Instead, it's generally made with raw beef--though I make mine with good quality, fresh venison sirloin. Tiger meat is really popular in the Dakotas as a winter snack, especially in ice shacks, for New Year's Eve and the Super Bowl. Recipes are protected in communities, and a popular one can make or break a meat locker. According to my friend Chris Hull, who shared his family's recipe below, lockers in Eureka and Gettysburg, S.D., get long lines of folks when the word gets out that they have a batch coming out onto the shelves. Kessler's Grocery store in Aberdeen, S.D., has a very popular one as well.
"My dad was a butcher," said Hull. "His dad was a butcher. Needless to say we've eaten every part of a cow in about every way. My dad came to stay with us this holiday season. He had been ill for a while and was pretty quiet for a couple days leading up to Christmas. Christmas Eve day he said, 'Let's make some tiger meat.' I told him I didn't know how and he had never shared his recipe. He replied, 'Well 40 years is long enough.' Here is what he shared with me. Most recipes are basically the same. Everyone has a "secret" ingredient, but this one is pretty standard."
Despite fear-mongering, consuming raw beef or venison (and egg yolks) is safe if you take certain precautions. Ensure your meat and eggs are very fresh and keep everything, including the bowls and mixers, cold during the mixing process. If you're serving it at your Super Bowl party, place it in a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice to ensure it stays cool.
Tiger Meat Recipe
- 3 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 16 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 3 sticks celery, diced
- 4 Tbsp. black pepper
- 4 Tbsp. ground coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 5 lbs. sirloin, cubed
- 5 raw eggs yolk*
Hull's recipe calls for whole eggs, but I'd recommend using just the yolks instead just to be safe.
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the meat and eggs, in a mixing bowl and set aside. In separate bowl combine sirloin and eggs. Mix well, then add ingredients from dry bowl and mix well.
Run all ingredients through grinder with the finest die you have. Ideally, you should let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to allow all the ingredients come to full flavor. Needless to say, this should be eaten within a day or so of making it, or freeze it right after making a batch.