Wild game can offer unique flavor profiles guests can't replicate at home.

Chefs Go Wild With Exotic Game

Dishes using exotic game like alligator, elk, and emu can excite the palate, but they take some courage, good sourcing, and proper technique to execute. Here’s a look at a few chefs doing it right.

Antelope, Ostrich & Wild Boar

Chef James Gibney | British Beer Company | 13 East Coast locations

Executive Chef James Gibney combined antelope, ostrich, and wild boar sourced from local Fossil Farms in New Jersey for a flavorful chili served at his annual BBC Game Dinner in January. Both antelope and ostrich have a darker meat taste, with antelope more similar to venison and ground ostrich almost like a lean ground beef or bison. To add more fat and flavor, he grinds the meat fresh with the wild boar and either duck fat or the fat cap off a bison steamship steak to create an 80/20 blend. He simmers the ground meats in a rich, stout beer with roasted corn, red kidney beans, garlic, dark chili powder, and even fresh ground coffee for extra richness and earthiness. The chili is then served with a cilantro crèma and freshly grated Gruyere cheese.

James Gibney

Emu Wellington.

Backstrap Venison

Chefs Cody and Samantha Carroll | Sac-a-Lait | New Orleans

Husband-wife team and stars of Food Network’s “Cajun Aces,” Chefs Cody and Samantha Carroll frequently cook with wild and exotic game inspired by the fishing, farming, and hunting culture of Louisiana. For Sac-a-Lait’s Backstrap dish, the Carrolls start by seasoning the locally hunted venison tenderloins with cayenne, onion and garlic powder, and turmeric before searing them in hot, cast-iron pans of clarified butter, adding more fat and flavor to the lean meat. They serve the steaks with a confit of baby potatoes, sous-vide cooked with duck fat and garlic. The steaks and potatoes are then layered with a garden chimichurri combining fresh blue basil, parsley, oregano, and jalapeño pepper, and a horseradish crèma made by whipping heavy cream with horseradish into stiff peaks.


Venison at Sac-a-Lait.


Alligator At Jax B-B-Q in Manhattan, minced fresh alligator meat combines with cornmeal and fresh herbs for a deep-fried fritter.
Serve with: Garlic-herb aioli, wood-roasted poblano pepper aioli, and scallions.

Rattlesnake Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas combines rabbit and rattlesnake meat to make a sausage.
Serve with: Spicy manchego cheese, potato rosti, and creme fraiche.

Kangaroo Oz Restaurant & Bar in Washington, D.C. marinates Australian kangaroo in a berry blend and places it on a 12-inch skewer.
Serve with: Sautéed mushrooms, pineapple, and cherry tomatoes.

Alpaca Game in Louisville, Kentucky packs alpaca meat into a burger patty.
Serve with: Bone marrow aioli, brie, tomato, greens, and a brioche bun.