Apparently, it has been a good year for pronghorn hunters, at least if my e-mail inbox is any indication. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a fair share of messages pop-up from friends and acquaintances all asking a version of the same question: “I just shot an antelope. Now what do I do with it?”
The simple, smart-aleck answer is “Eat it,” but I expect they’re looking for something a little more detailed. Truth is, I don’t treat my prairie goat different from any other type of venison, so if you have a favorite recipe for deer or elk, chances are it will be just as good, if not better, with pronghorn. Still, I do have a few ways I like to eat my antelope and here are the Top 5.
1. Smoky Grilled Backstraps – Quick, simple and so delicious. Cut a whole backstrap crosswise in thirds, dust with salt and pepper and grill over a two-stage fire. Sear them quick, move them to the cool side of the grill and add some hickory and apple wood chunks to the coals. You can thank me later.
2. Green Chile – Years ago, I came across a recipe called Zuni Green Chile that called for both antelope and hominy. It’s now a staple at my house during years I’m lucky enough to kill an antelope. But any green chile recipe will do, just substitute the pork for antelope.
3. Breakfast Sausage – For some reason, antelope lends itself really well to breakfast sausage. The butcher at my local grocery store will sell you a pack of their pre-made seasoning and it is tough to beat. If you want to skip the MSG, you can mix up your blend with some sage, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes and brown sugar.
4. Antelope Satay – I’ve recently started really getting into meat on a stick, which offers near-endless possibilities and is a great way to use up cuts normally reserved for roasts or round steak. Really just about any marinade will do, but I like something with lots of hoisin, garlic and chilies. Serve pinched in a piece of flatbread with a cool, creamy tzatziki sauce.
5. Fajitas – Another great use for rounds steaks, or those random chunks leftover from butchering. I braise my meat for a few hours with a red chili sauce, then serve them with onions and peppers sauteed separately.