Game meat

This meat is the one derived from game species (that is, raised in extensive). He falls. (Spanish Food Code) defines it as “any edible part, including the offal of a game authorized for human consumption“. Currently in Spain, this sector is a cultural, social and economic activity of great importance, because hunting in our country has grown dramatically, both in the economic repercussions of its actions and in the amount of assets that are devoted tothe hunt. However, Spain is not a big consumer of this meat. Spain is the largest exporter of game meat, is a producer country but not a consumer. More than 90% of the meat produced in Spain is exported. Our game meats go almost completely to Central Europe. Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal and Italy.
Although the nutritional composition of game animals is very variable, since it is conditioned by factors such as species, age, sex and type of feed, it can be said that “wild” meat is less fat and more abundant in Proteins that come from animals raised, such as pork, rabbit or chicken. In addition it lacks hormonal residues, antibiotics and other drugs, contrary to what happens occasionally with the animals of supply. On the other hand, although it is lean, its content in cholesterol is similar to the one of the other meats and can be accidentally contaminated by poisons used illegally in baits against vermin. Hunting is divided into big game and small game. The most common game species of big game in Spain are the deer and the wild boar and in small game, the hare and birds such as partridge, quail and pheasant.
There are three ways in which game meat is sold. 50% of the genus that is made is sold whole, while 25.3% is sold as a processed product, such as a Spanish sausage called chorizo, and the remaining 24.7% as raw meat, which is mainly destined for export. The packaging and labeling of game meat is usually done individually by pieces and in the same manufacturer industry.


Game meat, such as deer meat or wild boar meat, has a darker red color that intensifies with the age of the animal; And a smell and taste more pronounced than that of other animals of supply. The piece still with its skin is usually prayed for several days so that the meat matures, develops its organoleptic properties and increases its tenderness or softness. On the contrary, the extraction of the viscera should be done as soon as possible to avoid the deterioration of the meat.

Deer: This meat is considered as an excellent product at nutritional and organoleptic level. We can consider it as the most healthy and natural game meat of the red meats that are in the market. Its flesh is red-brown, with tones more intense than meat, but with less fat. Of the deer we obtain two products with high price in the international market: its meat, call deer, and its velvet, the antler in growth. Most of the meat comes in cuts, boneless and packaged. Meat is low in intramuscular fat and low in cholesterol. Their fat content can be compared to that of pink salmon, chicken or turkey. The flesh of deer bred in captivity is much softer and tender and reaches a higher price in the market than that of wild specimens, due to the type of food they have. It is a type of meat that has a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which produce positive effects in the arteries, cleaning them of cholesterol and improving the blood circulation. Its affordable price and nutritional advantages invite us to incorporate this special product into our diet. Also appreciated delicacies are marketed, like smoked deer or pickles, and other pieces of the animal like leathers, tails, tendons and blood.

Wild pig:  It is similar to pork but has a dark pink color and consistent texture, a more pungent smell and an intense flavor that leaves sweet tones on the palate. Its color is a deep red, unlike pork. Its layer of fat is finer than in the pig, being a juicy meat. It is usually cooked at high temperatures to eliminate the risk that it still contains a parasite. It is ideal to eat on a rainy day with a good body wine.
It has good phosphorus content and is low in fat. Its high content in vitamins B12 and B3 make this meat a product especially indicated to control diseases such as diabetes. In addition to lowering cholesterol levels.
Its meat is more juicy than that of deer because of its higher fat content. In principle, all pork preparations are also valid for wild boar, such as cutlets, sirloin, head, wild boar or even civet. The meat can also be chopped and cooked in pie, for example with prunes. When the boar is young or jabato the meat is softer and delicate and does not even need to be marinated.
Its most appreciated parts are the head, the shoulder and the back.
Both boar and deer are used to make sausages, mixing their meats with meat and pork fat that provide them with more juiciness.


Hare: It is a species of small game similar to the rabbit. The best specimens are the young, which are recognized by a small bulge next to the joints of the front legs. Although it admits multiple variants, its meat has to be consumed fresh, freshly dead. It does not, therefore, admit the principle of decomposition of the hunting pieces known as faisandage, habitual in species like the pheasant, the partridge and the scholarship. It can be considered a lean meat, since the percentage of fat is less than 5%. In addition, its fat is mostly unsaturated, thus contravening the widely held idea that animal fats contain mostly saturated fatty acids. The hare, despite its small size, offers us a great contribution in proteins, vitamins and minerals essential for a complete and structured diet. A healthy and well prepared hare can make the pleasure of the most demanding palates. When cooking it it is not advisable to pass it in excess because it would lose some of its softness. In Spanish gastronomy, the hare has given rise to recipes such as civet de hare, hare with rice, hare stew.

Partridge: It is a small game bird very abundant in Spain. Its fat content is lower than in skinless chicken (less than 2%). Like other game meats, partridge is contraindicated in people suffering from hyperuricemia and gout due to its uric acid content. When the partridge is less than one year old they are called “perdigón” and they differ from the adult bird because of its much tenderer flesh. There are two varieties: red, a large partridge with a dorsum, belly and red feet and white throat; And gray, much more abundant in Spain, in which apart from that color stands a brown stain on the chest, both of which must have a longer cooking than that of the pellet, being meat of game, has peculiar characteristics organoleptic: color Dark red, and more intense smell and taste.Gastronomic preparation will basically depend on the age of the specimen.You can prepare stewed or pickled.

Pheasant: Its meat is juicy and nutritious, with a content in fat and proteins very similar to that of the turkey. It can be a little dry, although undergoing a cooking process improves remarkably. It is not rich in fats, nor is it heavy for digestion. Normally it is prepared with abundant sauce or accompanied by a concentrated broth elaborated with portions of the own pheasant discarded for the consumption.

Quail: It is a delicate delicacy and tasty. It has less fat than chicken meat without skin (less than 2%). Cholesterol is also present in less quantity than in chicken. In the Spanish culinary tradition are recipes in casserole, stuffed quail, roasted or grilled. You can also roast, prepare on skewers, sauté, braise or elaborate with filling. The modern kitchen has also introduced quail in pate or terrine.

About the author

Montse Gonzalez