Who says sharptails don't taste good?
Sharp-tailed grouse have a reputation of being less than savory table fare. Granted, they aren't chicken. Or pheasant. "People who like chicken white meat probably wouldn't like sharptail, because it's dark meat," said Dick Adams of Superior, Wis...
Sharp-tailed grouse have a reputation of being less than savory table fare. Granted, they aren't chicken. Or pheasant.
"People who like chicken white meat probably wouldn't like sharptail, because it's dark meat," said Dick Adams of Superior, Wis., who hunted North Dakota sharptails during a recent trip west.
But the way Tom G. Bell of Duluth and Tom Schramm of Esko, Minn., prepared sharptails during our North Dakota hunting trip, they were excellent. We camped during our stay and ate sharptails for one or two meals each day.
Sometimes, Bell or Schramm would fillet the breasts off the birds, season them with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder, then grill them on a small charcoal grill. Often, they would slit the breast fillets in half horizontally, resulting in two thinner pieces instead of one thicker piece. The secret is not overcooking them, which dries them out. Just a few minutes per side does it.
Bell also pan-fried some sharptail fillets in red wine and melted butter. Those, too, were excellent. Schramm prepared an excellent sharptail stew one evening with carrots, potatoes, onions, jalapeno tomatoes and yams.
One day for lunch, Bell's son, also named Tom, pan-fried several fillets in a mixture of salt pork and parsley. We ate those in sandwiches with Havarti cheese.
Young-of-the-year sharptails are decidedly more tender than older birds, but you can't always pick them out when a group of sharptails takes flight.
For the birds he brings home, Bell seals several fillets in a solution of olive oil and garlic powder in a zip-top bag. He later pan-fries or grills the fillets.
-- Sam Cook