Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

True wild game has the appeal of rich, variable flavor, thanks to its mature age, free exercise, and mixed diet. Carried to excess, this interesting wild flavor becomes “gamy.” In the time of Brillat-Savarin, game was typically allowed to hang for days or weeks until it began to rot. This treatment was called mortification or faisandage (after the pheasant, faisan), and had two purposes: it tenderized the meat, and further heightened its “wild” flavor. Gamy game is no longer the style. Modern farmed animals are often relatively sedentary, eat a uniform diet, and are slaughtered before they reach sexual maturity, so they’re usually milder in flavor and more tender than their wild counterparts. Since distinctive meat flavors reside in the fat, they can be minimized by careful trimming.