A couple of days ago I acquired a triangle moose roast as part of my payment for creating business cards for a friend. I should preface the rest of what I’m going to say with the fact that moose is my favourite meat ever. I recognise that not everyone is in the same boat. Some find it overly gamey, greasy(?), dry, dense & tough. So many cooks want to cook the devil (thought I’ve never found the devil in moose; brave and noble creatures that they are) out of it – stews, pot roasts and chillis seem to be among favourite moose dishes. I tend toward embracing its inherent qualities beyond its meatiness like its texture, it’s darker flavour and its versatility.
The other night I decided to prepare the roast for the family but needed to cater it to their tastes as much as mine. A triangle roast, no matter what creature it comes from, is a meaty-flavoured hunk of flesh. Highly underrated, in my mind, but I’ve heard many complain about the density of flavour and texture of this cut many times so I treaded lightly and treated it with a game-subduing, tenderising marinade of my own invention.
First I cut the meat into 1 inch thick steaks. Moose is very dense, triangle cut is particularly dense as well, and my intent was to toss it on the grill and I was looking for something relatively quick to cook. I’ll get into the actual cooking method in a bit.
The marinade is as follows:
Juice of 3 limes
3/4 cup amber rum
4 cloves of garlic
2 tsp sage
2 tsp thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tbsp chipotle adobo (it’s the sauce that surrounds chipotles we get in cans ’round these parts)
1 pinch ground cloves
I just whizzed the ingredients together in a food processor and tossed it over the meat. The steaks stood in the marinade for a good 5 hours.
Note that there is no salt in this recipe. Where salt does the trick in degamifying (made up word; I’m allowed) the gaminess of wild game, it also dries it out to a point which I find unpalatable. Instead I chose the rum and the lime to perform this function and they did so marvelously though I’ve also used ground raisins, maple syrup, orange juice, brown sugar and molasses for the same purpose.
Sage and cloves will forever in my mind be perfect flavour mates of moose. I’ve rarely cooked the stuff without them.
When it comes to actually cooking moose meat it gets a little tricky depending on the tastes of whomever you’re cooking for. I tend to like red meat fairly rare (up to 2 minutes a side does it for me with the thickest cuts of beef) but moose doesn’t hold up well to not being cooked. I allowed the grill to get really hot before putting the steaks on then immediately turned it down to medium heat and let them cook, turning about 3/4 of the way through the cooking time for each steak. The steak I made for myself was on the grill for nearly 15 minutes and was still nicely pink on the inside, with the thinnest layer of grey on the outside and very, very tender despite the complete lack of fat on the steak itself. This was the product of all the marinading done prior to cooking. It would likely make a great marinade for deer too.