Wild Eating in Summer

by Robert Gooch August 18 2022

Cucumber sandwiches, mass-produced barbecues and stodgy sausage rolls are never going to cut it for fans of the big flavours of wild meat. For us, eating flavoursome game and wild food in the great outdoors is one of the joys of summer – and we’ve got some great ideas to make this summer the tastiest yet.

Feast on wild meat this summer

With plenty of wild meat options for picnics, garden parties, barbecues and simple summer suppers, there’s no need to settle for underwhelming supermarket fare. Whether you’re looking to impress friends and family or just want something to look forward to at the end of a hot day’s work, we’ve got some fantastic recipes and products to inspire you.

Venison, wild boar, wild rabbit, wood pigeon and squirrel can all be sourced throughout the summer and cooked in a variety of ways, indoors or out. Add frozen game, such as partridge and pheasant, along with seasonal fish and shellfish from UK waters, and you’ve got even more possibilities for wild feasting this summer.

Game salads

Balance the lightness and freshness of salad vegetables with deep game flavours for the ultimate summer supper. Roast whole pheasants, partridges, rabbits or squirrels in the oven while you chop up some salad and whisk up a dressing, or poach or pan-fry breasts or venison fillets. Warm salads made with seasonal garden vegetables, such as green beans and broad beans, are also moreish ways to end summer days.

Leftover game is brilliant in salads too. For a meal that’s ready in just a few minutes, mix up a simple dressing with olive oil and red wine or cider vinegar plus a little mustard or horseradish then drizzle this over salad leaves or vegetables and your choice of leftover partridge, pheasant, wild boar or other game. Zesty and creamy dressings made with lemon juice and crème fraiche or sour cream are also particularly good with game birds.

For a thoroughly wild salad, use foraged leaves, fruits and nuts. Look out for chickweed, mallow, yarrow, greater plantain, bilberries, blackberries and hazelnuts in hedgerows and woodlands: they’re all great matches for game.

Serve salads with crusty bread and/or grains such as bulgur wheat, quinoa, spelt or wild rice for a satisfying summer lunch or supper. For more game salad tips and recipes, take a look at our top ten tips for game meat salads.

Perfect wild picnics

Swap humdrum sandwiches for venison and pomegranate wraps (if you can resist eating them that long) or your own tortilla creations made with leftover game meat, crunchy salad and salsas or slaws.

Sausage rolls are a picnic classic but can be bland if shop-bought. Make yours the star of the spread with recipes that combine sloe gin and wild boar or grouse and wild mushrooms. Or, for an effortless solution, just pop some of Truly Traceable’s frozen homemade game sausage rolls in the oven. Choose from muntjac merguez, venison and pork, or wild boar with wild garlic.

Fish suppers

Our smoked fish range, supplied, cured and smoked by Wightman Fishing Co of Lowestoft, includes undyed haddock, kippers and ready-to-eat mackerel. Flaked through rice, pasta, salads or served with sourdough toast, they are ideal for quick, tasty and nutritious summer suppers.

Or why not whip up a wild treat with our range of wet fish, provided by A Passion for Seafood? Savour the sublime taste of wild bass, landed right here in Suffolk, along with MSC-accredited hake and responsibly caught cod, lemon sole and monkfish from well-managed UK waters. Pan-fried in butter or baked in foil, they’re all superb for summer. Love the sweet and delicate taste of shellfish? Poach or grill some delicious langoustines, the Scottish alternative to imported king prawns, to tuck into with lemon mayonnaise, salad and crusty bread.

Smoking and barbecues

Game is great on the barbecue, so long as you follow a few golden rules to prevent naturally lean meat drying out. Find out all you need to know about barbecuing game meat here.

Joints of game are also ideal for hot smoking, in which meat is slow cooked at a temperature of around 100C. To help you get started, we caught up Charlotte Pike, author of Smoked, for her hot smoking game tips.

Our favourite summer recipes