Consider these suggestions before firing up your backyard grill.

It might seem counter-intuitive that summer is peak grilling season — especially in our southwestern border states. But who are we to come between a grilling enthusiast and his or her meat? As Father’s Day and the official start of summer approach, we thought it a good time to share grilling tips from steakhouse chef Tony Street of Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, a longtime specialist in wild game sourced from the Y.O. Ranch in Kerrville, Texas.

Street recommends the following.

  • The most important thing to remember: Wild game meat is lower in fat content than most cuts we’re used to working with. Leave it on the grill for too long, and wild game will become dry and tough. Instead, cook these meats quickly, at a hot temperature, and then remove from the fire.
  • Before cooking, marinade the meat in seasoned oil or butter for 5 – 10 minutes before grilling. This helps further prevent it from drying out.
  • Most wild game meats work better after resting. This means you let the meat sit for a few minutes after you remove from grill.
  • Wild game pairs well with fruit reductions. My favorite pairing is a blackberry port reduction with venison and elk. The recipe for this reduction is below.

Blackberry Port Reduction

Courtesy Chef Tony Street, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse

1 pint fresh blackberries
1 cup port
½ cup balsamic
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup honey
¼ cup demi-glace or brown sauce
3 tablespoons butter

Add the first five ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and continue to cook until reduced to about 1⁄3 of the beginning yield. Add the demi-glace and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and add butter and mix.

For more information on Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse or Y.O. Ranch, visit the restaurant’s website. All images courtesy Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse.


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