You'll need to have on hand. . .
1 bottle red wine (I prefer merlot). This is a mainstay ingredient in marinating heavy bodied wild game, such as venison, moose, bear, goose, duck, elk, rabbit and squirrel. Blended with olive oil, Italian salad dressing, my wild game seasoning, and your favorite herbs and spices, this ingredient tends to bring together all the essential flavors of the marinade while serving to tenderize the meat and keep it moist while cooking.
1 cup white wine. This is a mainstay ingredient in marinating lighter forms of wild game, such as teal, rail, gallinule, snipe, dove, quail, nutria, pheasant, young squirrels, and yearling rabbits. Blended with extra virgin olive oil, Italian salad dressing, my wild game seasoning, and your favorite herbs and spices, this ingredient tends to bring together all the essential flavors of the marinade while serving to tenderize the meat and keep it moist while cooking.
1 bottle of bourbon. This ingredient makes a suitable and rather earthy substitute for wine in many marinades. Blend it with olive oil, Italian dressing, and your favorite herbs and spices to create a whole new flavor in your grilled meats (and it's excellent as a marinade for domestic steaks).
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced. Should be incorporated in every marinade formula you put together.
1 bottle Italian salad dressing (I like the Greek vinaigrette). This is the principal mainstay ingredient in most oil-based marinades. Use it alone by itself as a quick flavoring agent, or actually 'steep' the game in the dressing overnight to give the flavor intensity.
1 can black pepper, coarse grind. Should be in every marinate you make for wild game, regardless of the species.
1 lb. bacon, slab or strips. Essential for wrapping around dove, quail, pheasant, and squirrel to give a ordinarily dry piece of meat extra flavor and moisture as it grills. Pieces of bacon can be inserted into venison, moose, bear, and elk steaks and chops to keep them juicy as they grill.
1 quart whole milk. This is the one ingredient you use as a pre-marinade all by itself to (1) remove the unwanted 'gamy' tastes of wild game and (2) tenderize the game meat to a delicate texture. The lactic acid does the trick. After wild game is marinated in milk, it should be patted dry with paper towels then placed into a 'flavor marinade' to ready the meat for cooking.
1 bottle hot sauce. Adds a little extra 'kick' to the flavor marinade, whichever way you concoct it.
1 bottle Frank Davis Wild Game Seasoning. This is the only preblended mix that is especially formulated just for seasoning wild game, from ducks to deer and everything in between. If you can't find it were you shop, you order it from the Frank Davis link on this website or by calling 1-800-742-4231.
2 cups chopped seasoning vegetables. Essentially, onions, celery, bell pepper, parsley, green onions, and garlic already chopped and packaged in a ready-to-use container. You need these to include in some of your marinades and to use in preparing special sauces.
1 bottle Masterpiece BBQ sauce. This is the barbecue sauce I prefer for final bastings on all my wild game creations on the grill. Of course, if you prefer another brand, knock yourself out!
1 bottle olive oil. Of course, it goes without saying that 'extra virgin olive oil' is assumed standard. In my opinion it is impossible to make a flavor marinade for any kind of wild game without the infusion of extra-virgin olive oil, even when Italian salad dressing is used as the base. A little 'extra' extra-virgin always makes it better. The olive oil also serves to provide the 'good fat' that sweetens up wild game and helps to retain moisture inside the meat as it cooks over the dry heat.
1 bottle light soy sauce. Soy is one of many extra flavors that can be added to a marinade to pique the taste of wild game. Because of the high salt content of soy sauce, however, you should be discriminating in how much is used.
1 bottle balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is another flavoring which can be added to your marinade to give it depth and intensity. Actually, balsamic vinegar should be the only vinegar you ever use to make a game marinade. Grandpaw would probably disagree, but all the other vinegars you find in the grocery stores should be reserved only for window washing.
1 pastry brush. Used at the end of the grilling process to spread on any prepared barbecue sauce you may want to use as a final dressing, or for dabbing on a small amount of marinade which you may have reserved for the final presentation.
1 bag alderwood or oak shavings. An outstanding wood for lending a smoky taste to grilled wild game. It can be placed in an aluminum pie pan over hot coals, burned inside a smoke-box on a barbecue pit, or placed under the bottom of the drip pan that goes into a stovetop smoker. It is general consensus that hickory and mesquite are considered to be a tad too harsh for grilled wild game.
2 aluminum pie plates. Can be used for (1) holding the wood shavings for smoking and (2) for catching whatever drips from the wild game as it cooks on the grate (which keeps the flames from flaring up and burning the game).
6 aluminum pans. These are what you place the cooked game in after they come off the grill. Because this is 'outdoor cooking,' disposable products rank high in popularity amongst those who would ordinarily have to do the dishes after the barbecue.
1 box toothpicks. Ideal for pinning strips of bacon in place around rabbit, squirrel, quail, doves, duck breasts, and venison backstrap.
1 injector needle. A really good way to infuse a marinade or flavoring inside a piece of wild game. It can also be used to inject olive oil into wild game to keep it moist and juicy while cooking.
1 stovetop smoker. A good method of smoking wild game if you don't have a barbecue grill. They are sprinkled with moist wood shavings,
1 box gallon-size Zip-Loc bags. The only container you should use for marinating wild game (or anything else for that matter). Instead of mixing your marinade and pouring it over the wild game pieces in a Pyrex pan, a Corningware dish, or the inside crockery from your crockpot, simply place the game into a Zip-Loc bag, pour the marinade down inside the bag, seal the zipper lock, and flip the bag over and over to evenly distribute the marinade. Then stash the whole works in the fridge for several hours or overnight. When you're ready to grill, remove the meat from the bag and discard both the old marinade and the bag. Viola!
Basic Flavor Marinade for Most Wild Game
1 small bottle Italian Salad Dressing
1 cup red wine (or white wine, if you prefer)
2 Tbsp. fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Frank Davis Wild Game Seasoning
2 Tbsp. black pepper, coarse grind
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place all the ingredients except the olive oil into a blender and turn the controls to mid-range. Then, when the mixture is well incorporated, begin adding the olive oil in a thin stream until an emulsion forms. Pour only as much marinade as you need over the game in a Zip-Loc bag and save the remainder in a Mason jar in the coolest part of your refrigerator for later use. It will keep for about 2 weeks.