Have you ever tried eating grouse?
A grouse is a small game bird hunted for food or sport. They’re somewhat like a combination of a pigeon, a peacock and a chicken.
Grouse comes in several species, each with its own unique taste. There’s the Sage Grouse, which has a very gamey taste, the Snow Grouse (or otherwise known as Ptarmigan), which has a strong flavor, the Hazel Grouse and the Red Eye Grouse.
You might be wondering, ‘what does grouse taste like?’ If they’re like chicken, do they taste like one?
The Taste of Grouse
One thing to keep in mind is while grouse may look like a small chicken, the taste is anything but.
Yes, it does have the same white and dark meat proportion as its domesticated cousins, but the flavor is really more pheasant than chicken.
Also, different parts of the grouse will have a slightly different taste. For instance, young grouse breast offers a mild, gamey flavor and gets more pronounced in the leg area and others.
Grouse can also taste differently in regions where they don’t have food readily available. This is because they’ll try to go after any kind of nutrition they normally pass up on.
The meat of grouse can be prepared and eaten by itself. However, there are some that prefer to mix it with other fowl as an accent in dishes like casserole, braised dish, stew, pie and pate, among others.
How to Cook Grouse
Grouse is very lean compared to other game birds.
You may need to do larding or top with American bacon before cooking. Others prefer the meat as is and appreciate the flavor it brings.
Young birds can be cooked immediately, while older ones will require a bit of preparation. Hanging them outside is said to make it tender and bring out its distinctive taste, but you shouldn’t leave them out for more than a few days.
There’s a few ways on how you can cook grouse, with roasting being the most popular choice.
Small grouse can be roasted for about 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Larger ones will need more time (an additional 10 minutes) at a lower temperature (at 320 degrees F).
Young grouse taste great roasted with a spread of gravy and chips. Slow cooking is best for older varieties. Pot roast and braise then cook for around 45 minutes, then allow it to cool in stock to lock in moisture.