Wild Game Cook-Offs

As you're filling up your freezer this fall, you might be wondering what you're going to do with all that bounty. I mentioned Hunters Feeding the Hungry programs last week, and funding a food bank is a great way to give away an excess of venison or other game meat. But, for some folks, there's another fun way to share your food with others while showing off your cooking skills--the wild game cook-off.

Across the country, there are organizations, clubs, or even local watering holes that host wild game feeds and cooking contests. If you're lucky enough to live in Alabama, you can participate in one of the Alabama Wildlife Federation's Wild-Game Cook-Offs, a statewide series of cooking competitions which have been going strong for nearly 20 years. Even if you're not a cook, you can enjoy the fruits of the fall as most game feeds/cook-offs offer tickets to the public to come, eat and participate in the judging.

I've only competed in one wild-game cook-off--a newcomer's picnic hosted by my former employer--where I put up my antelope green chile against goose pate, sweet-and-sour venison, pheasant almandine and the ever-present venison chili, among other wild dishes. While it received high praise, it didn't garner enough votes to win first place, which consisted merely of bragging rights around the office.

Surely some of our Wild Chef compatriots out there have gone all Iron Chef at a wild-game cook-off. If so, I'd like to hear about your experience. Or if you haven't competed, would you? And what would be your signature dish?