A Sous Vide Guide To Cooking Game | The Tool Shed

A Sous Vide Guide To Cooking Game

For many people, game is a notoriously difficult meat to cook right – but does it really have to be? Do you have to be a professional chef to be able to cook game perfectly?

Using sous vide, cooking game has never been easier. With precision temperature control, you’re able to adapt easily to different cuts and thicknesses to cook the perfect game every single time.

So, how can sous vide help?

First, Prepare Your Meat

For the best tasting game with great texture, it’s always best, where possible, to use fresh meat that is at room temperature. While storing meat in the fridge isn’t a bad thing, having the meat at room temperature rather than cooler will keep the water temperature in the sous vide consistent, ensuring a perfectly cooked piece.

It’s also best if you season the meat several hours in advance to allow the full flavours to infuse into the meat. While the sous vide method helps to infuse flavour deeper into the meat, pre-seasoning will give a much more infused flavour deeper into the meat. Even if all you want to do is season with salt and pepper – season a couple of hours in advance of cooking at least. 

Just try not to go over the top with strong seasonings as when cooking meat for long periods of time can often make these flavours overpower those of the meat itself.

Understanding Cooking Time

As with any food, cooking time can vary drastically depending on what you’re cooking. This can be the type of meat or the different cuts of the same meat.

Game cooking times don’t have to be as complicated as some guides make out. A good general guide is that if you’re wanting to cook red meat in the same style as a steak, you should allow 30 minutes cooking time per every half-inch thickness of the meat. This should give you a nice, tender piece the whole way through the meat.

Thicker cuts will obviously take more time to cook, and if you can cut the thickness down, it’s advisable to do so to keep the meat tender and the cooking time less.

Cooking Temperatures

Much like cooking times, temperatures will also vary depending on the ingredient being cooked and the cut of the meat.

The temperature at which you cook your game will affect how moist your meat will be, as well as how “done” it will come out as.

The general rule of thumb is this – the hotter you cook something, the more juices are expelled as the flesh contracts more and the moisture in the tissues leaks out. If you cook the game at too high a heat, you can cause the meat to dry out and become tough – something that is best avoided when cooking game.

If the cut of meat you’re wanting to cook is tough already, cook it on a low heat for a long amount of time to prevent the meat tightening further. This is generally the way in which you should cook game birds to keep them soft and juicy.

Game Sous Vide Recipes

Looking for some inspiration for game recipes that you can cook using sous vide? We’ve got just the collection for you:

Sous Vide Squab Pigeon, Parl Barley And Truffle Risotto, Foie Gras And Hay-smoked Offal Brochette

Sous Vide Rabbit Saddle Rolled With Lemon Thyme, Truffle, Roasted Pistachio And Pickled Young Carrot

Single Muscle Venison Haunch Cooked Sous Vide With Roasted Cep Mushrooms And Black Pepper Butter

Sous Vide Rabbit Legs

Sous Vide Venison Shoulder

Cooking Times & Temperatures

Finally, here are some recommended cooking times and temperatures when you’re cooking sous-vide game to use as a guide:

Temperature Time
185g Pheasant Breast (Medium) 65°C/149°F 40 minutes
300g Spatchcock Pigeon 65°C/149°F 1 hour 30 minutes
200g Grouse Breast 56°C/132°F 45 minutes
225g Guinea Fowl Breast 62°C/143°F 1 hour 30 minutes
100g Rabbit Loin 58°C/136°F 45 minutes
200g Hare Loin (Medium) 62°C/143°F 50 minutes
85g Partridge Leg 70°C/158°F 6 hours
350g Venison Haunch 55°C/131°F 1 hour 20 minutes

You can find out suitable cooking times for other cuts and weights using our Cooking Time Calculator.