Moose is a kind of game meat obtained primarily in those countries where these animals are found. The Moose belongs to the deer family and is known by different names in different parts of the world. Moose meat is believed to bear similarities to tender beef with possibly more flavour, like veal. In Sweden during the fall season, no menu is thought to be complete without featuring a moose delicacy. Swedes are known for their strong linking for moose dishes.
The highest moose population may be found in Canada, Sweden, US, Norway, and regions formerly a part of Russia. Moose is a herbivorous animal that survives on a wide range of plants and fruits including a considerable amount of aquatic plants such as lilies and pondweed, common to these regions. A typical moose that weighs ~360 kilograms, can consume up to 32 kg of food each day.
The animal’s scientific name being Alces alces, it is known as moose in North America and ‘elk’ in Britain. While a mature male moose is designated as a bull, the mature female is referred to as a cow, whereas an immature moose, irrespective of its sex, is referred to as a calf.
Going back in history, moose meat was a staple that featured in the diet of Native Americans many centuries ago. These were the very tribes that occupied the present day coastal Rhode Island and that also gave this deer its unique American English name. The Native Americans very often made use of moose hide as a source of leather. Its meat was as a major ingredient in pemmican, a type of dried ‘jerky’ food used as a source of sustenance, to keep one going in the winter months or on long journeys far away from home.
Uses of Moose Meat
Moose meat is associated with a certain amount of flexibility, as it can be incorporated into a variety of delicious main dishes. This game meat needs to be thoroughly cleaned before use and then divided into desirable cuts before its culinary use. Some of these are-
Delicious Country Roasted Elk/Moose (Wild Game) Steak
- Moose steaks
- dry breadcrumbs
- vegetable shortening
- lemon pepper
- barbecue seasoning
1. The moose steaks first need to be flattened by hammering on both sides with a meat hammer. This process helps tenderize the meat.
2. 3 medium bowls are set out. In the first bowl, flour and lemon pepper are mixed together. In the second bowl eggs are beaten well. The third bowl holds breadcrumbs mixed with the barbecue seasoning and/or seasoning of pepper and salt.
3. In a large heated skillet, shortening is melted, using tongs the thickest steak is carefully dredged first in the flour mixture, then in the egg liquid and finally coated all over by the breadcrumbs, before placing on the skillet.
4. Since it isn’t acceptable to under cook or over cook wild game meat, it needs to be just done, appearing slightly pink or reaching a medium well done stage before removing from the heat and draining on paper towel to remove excess oil.
This Country Roasted Moose Steak is best complemented by barbeque sauce, mustard, grilled onion rings and a fresh greens salad.
A serving size of ~ 140 g of Roasted Moose Steak supplies-
· 332.1 calories with 106 calories from fat
· 11.8 g total fat with 3.3 g saturated fat
· 157.6 mg cholesterol
· 250.7 mg sodium
· 43.5 g of total carbohydrates with 2.0 g of sugar and 2.0 g of dietary fibre
· 11.6 g of protein
Hawaiian Style Moose Jerky
A jerky is basically defined as meat that has been cured for a while, after being cut into long, thin strips and drying for long enough. This recipe is a modern twist to the traditional jerky-
- moose meat, with fat trimmed
- ground ginger
- brown sugar
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper
- pressed garlic cloves
- pineapple juice
- dark soy sauce
All ingredients except the meat are blended together.
The cleaned meat is placed in a large zip lock bag, brine added and mixed together, covered and refrigerated overnight. Brine is drained out the following day, meat rinsed in a strainer with cold water, patted dry with paper towels before placing in dehydrator for few hours adjusting temperature settings.
The jerky is checked again after some hours to ascertain level of doneness.
A serving size of ~ 180 g of Roasted Moose Steak supplies-
· 251.6 calories with 32 calories from fat
· 3.6 g total fat with 1.3 g saturated fat
· 120.6 mg cholesterol
· 2343.7 mg sodium
· 16.7 g of total carbohydrates with 7.2 g of sugar and 0.8 g of dietary fibre
· 37.0 g of protein
Apart from these, other Moose recipes that could form part of a traditional lunch or dinner meal are-
- All-time Favourite Moose Stew with the moose cubes simmering in a gravy made using paprika, pepper, bay leaf, garlic, salt, beef broth, red wine, potatoes, onions, celery and carrots. Best enjoyed with crusty bread or pasta.
- Minced Moose Meat Delight flavoured with consommé, green onions, garlic, nutmeg, thyme, oregano and fresh tomatoes. Best enjoyed with a French baguette.
- Mexican Moose Chilli with minced moose meat, kidney beans, sauces- chilli, tomato, Worcestershire; fresh ground spices – cumin, red and black peppers; beer, garlic and oregano as some of the many flavouring agents. Best enjoyed with couscous or brown rice.
- Moose Moussaka which is essentially a Greek Casserole dish with an attractive arrangement of alternating layers using eggplant and ground Moose Meat in a flavourful tomato sauce topped with rich white sauce. Best enjoyed with whole wheat pasta.
Moose meat is supposed to be one of the most deliciously flavoured game meats and can make for a nutritious option if prepared using healthy cooking methods.
· While the flesh of moose has protein levels quite similar to other comparable red meats (like beef, and deer) it has a relatively low fat content. Further, the fat that is present constitutes a higher proportion of polyunsaturated fats (as compared to saturated fats) making this meat that much more safe for consumption. Moose meat is categorised as a lean source of protein because it provides less than 1 g of total fat and less than 0.5 g saturated fat per 100 g serving. Likewise only about 59 mg of cholesterol is obtained from this serving.
· Comparison of 100 grams of ground mince from Moose and Beef.
Moose meat has twice the protein value of beef making it is a very healthy choice.
· Moose meat presents ~102 calories per 100 g serving i.e. about 3.5 ounces. It has 22 g of high-quality lean protein with good amounts of each of the essential amino acids required by the body from the diet. As such, moose meat is carbohydrate-free.
· Rated as a low-sodium food, moose meat has only 65 mg per 100 g serving with 317 mg of potassium, this ratio helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure level and thus lowering the risk for stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease.
· Moose meat is a good source of potassium, phosphorus, selenium a fair source of folic acid, vitamin A, iron and zinc. Selenium is a heart-healthy nutrient that promotes the antioxidant activity of nutrients like vitamin E and C.
Precaution: Cadmium levels are found to be high in Finnish elk kidneys and liver, with the result that consumption of these organs from mature elks, more than one year old, has been prohibited in Finland. High amounts of this element is associated with certain adverse health effects.