Marinades/Brines/Rubs/Sauces For Wild Game

Capt. Clark

October 21st Monday 1805


One of our party J. Collins presented us with Some verry good beer made of the Pashi-co-quar mash bread, which bread is the remains of what was laid in as Stores of Provisions, at the first flat heads or Cho-punnish Nation at the head of the Kosskoske river which by being frequently wet molded & Sowered &c.

Wild game, which has little fat, is leaner and drier than domestic meats.  What little fat that is on wild meat should be removed to improve the flavor.  The meat can be cooked just like domestic meat but often, marinades, rubs and sauces are used to tenderize and improve the flavor of the meat.

Marinades will improve the flavor if herbs and spices are added.   With the addition of vegetable oils, marinades will improve the moisture content of the meat and make it juicier.   If acidic liquids are used in the marinade the meat will become more tender.  The meat should be marinated in a refrigerator at 40 degrees F in a covered container.  The length of time specified by recipes varied from 4 to 24 hours; however, the meat can become mushy and in some cases tough if it is left in the marinade too long.  Its best to marinade the meat for about 6 hours or at most over night.    Never reuse a marinade.

Rubs are used to flavor meats and keep it moist while cooking.  Since they do not tenderize the meat they only need to be applied a short time (one to two hours) before cooking.   A good rub will be retained on the surface of the meat and during cooking it will continue to penetrate the meat.  Rubs can be dry or wet and the only difference is that wet rubs include a liquid such as oil.

There is a large variety of sauces that can be used with meat and you can make your own or buy commercially prepared sauces.  The ingredients may include wine, vinegar, citrus fruits, tomato pastes, spices, sugar, and herbs.  Sauces can be put on the meat near the end of the cooking time or after the meat is cooked.


The purpose of the marinades, rubs and sauces  are to improve the meat and not to cover up poor quality meat that was improperly handled after the harvest.


The best marinade, rub, or sauce to use for wild game will depend on personal taste.  A number of recipes have been included and they can be used or modified to meet your tastes.


When preparing your meal, it is essential to following safe food handling practices.  For more information go to the section on Food Safety.


1877 Marinade for Upland Game & Waterfowl


If the "wild flavor" of larger birds, such as pheasants, prairie chickens, etc., is disliked, they may be soaked over night in salt water, or two or three hours in soda and water, or parboiled with an onion or two in the water, and cooked as desired.   The coarser kinds of game such as geese ducks, etc., may lie in salt water for several hours, or be parboiled in it with an onion inside each to absorb the rank flavor, and afterwards thoroughly rinsed in clear water, stuffed and roasted; or pare a fresh lemon without breaking the thin, white, inside skin, put inside the game for a day or two, renewing the lemon every twelve hours.

Buckeye Cookery 1877

Bear Marinade



1 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup red wine

2 onions, chopper

1 clove garlic, pressed

1 tablespoon Juniper berries, crushed

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme




Mix together all marinade ingredients and pour over the bear roast in a stainless steel or glass baking dish.  Refrigerate for 2 days, turning roast twice daily.


Notes & Variations:


This marinade can be used for other big game meat.


Contributor:  Ben Webb, RRGC

Randy's Brine



1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup salt (non iodized)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon  #11000 Insta Cure No. 1 (optional)




Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Either sprinkle over fish or dredge each piece before putting into plastic dish pan.  Turn all the fish over every 2 to 4 hours.  To make sure all pieces get a good cure.


Let it stand in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.  All the dry ingredient will liquefy in the first hour or two.  Remove the fish from the refrigerator and take each piece from the pan and rinse gently under cold water.  Place each piece on a cotton cloth (or paper towel) and pat dry.  Allow it to air dry for about two hours or until a shiny, slightly tacky skin (pellicle) forms on the surface.  This fish is now ready to be smoked.


Notes & Variations:


This brine procedure work well with salmon, sturgeon, halibut and most bottom fish.

The brine recipe is sufficient for 15 pounds of fish.


Insta Cure can be purchased at under Meat Curing.  This is similar to Prague Powder #1.  This preservative contains sodium nitrite which delays the development of botulism and enhances the meat flavor and color.


Contributor: Randy McBride

Fish Pineapple Marinade



1/4 cup pineapple juice

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons lemon juice




Combine all the above ingredients.  Store in a cool place until used.

Marinate fish at least one hour, turning often.


Contributor: Ben Webb, RRGC

Spicy Venison Rub



Grind in a spice grinder or a coffee bean grinder:


3 Anaheim peppers - dried

1 teaspoon dried Thyme

1 teaspoon dried Rosemary




1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg - grated


Blend until well mixed.


This amount of dry rub will cover one medium sized roast.  If you need more rub, just grind more batches of the same proportions.




Completely coat the meat and place it in deep dish.

Place the dish in the refrigerator and allow it to set for at least an hour, or longer.


Contributor:  John Hall, RRGC

Venison Marinade



1 cups vinegar

2 cups water

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoons salt

1 to 2 whole cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

3 medium onions, sliced




Mix together all marinade ingredients, place the meat in a deep dish and cover meat with the marinade.

Cover and place it in the refrigerator for about 6 hours or over night.

Remove the meat and discard the marinade.


Contributor: John Hall, RRGC

Little Lake Lodge Brine



3 gallons water

4 pounds salt (non iodized)

1/2 pound brown sugar

10 ounces vinegar




When preparing brine, boil the water and then add dry ingredients, mix well until dissolved.  Cool and then add remaining ingredients.  Layer fish pieces flesh side down in the brine and weigh down.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or for approximately 8 hours.  If fish are fairly slimy when getting ready to brine, rinse and soak fish in a 70% brine solution (1/2 cup salt in a quart of water) for 30 minutes.  Wash with clean water and put into the brine.


After brining, rinse and rub the fish under cold running water to remove all traces of salt and spices.  Dry and hang or lay flat, skin side down on racks to dry in air (2-3 hours) until thin shiny skin (pellicle) has formed all over outside.  Fish should feel firm and have a glazed look.  This is a protective skin on the surface which seals in fish juices and prevents protein in the flesh from coagulating and forming white curds on the surface.


Notes & Variations:


This brine process is used to prepare salmon and trout for smoking.


Contributor: Jerry Zeitler, RRGC

Fish Wine Marinade



1 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lemon thinly sliced

1 carrot thinly sliced

1 sprig parsley chopped fine

1/4 teaspoon thyme

10 peppercorns crushed

3 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

Salt to taste




Mix all the above ingredients and pour over fish.

Marinade overnight in refrigerator and turn once or twice.


Contributor:  Ben Webb, RRGC

Venison Rub



1 cup (2 oz) Thyme

1 cup (2 oz) Rosemary

1/3 cup peppercorns

20 dried Jalapeno

Grind in coffee grinder or mill, then add

1/2 cup garlic, powdered

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup sugar

Makes enough for about 40 pounds of meat




Dry meat before application.

Coat well, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

24 hours is good - but whatever time you have.

Slow roast at 325 decrees F.


Contributor:  John Hall, RRGC


Moose Roast Rub



1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon garlic salt




Mix rub and apply to roast.  Place roast in deep dish and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.


Contributor: Bob Kolowith, RRGC

1857 Mushroom Sauce

Take eight mushrooms, clean and wash them well, chop them quite fine, put them in a saucepan with twelve tablespoons of brown sauce or rich veal gravy, add a little cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of sugar, boil them about five minutes.


This sauce is very excellent for game or broiled cutlets.


Great Western Cook Book - 1857


1857 Celery Sauce

Celery Sauce for Boiled Fowls


Cut a half-dozen heads of white celery into small pieces, and slice two onions; put them in a stewpan with a small lump of butter.  Stew them over a slow fire till quite tender, then put in two spoonful of flour, half a pint of water, salt and pepper, and a little cream or milk.  Boil it a quarter of an hour, and pass it through a hair sieve with the back of a spoon.  When celery is not in season, a small quantity of celery seed will impregnate the sauce with the celery flavor.


Great Western Cook Book - 1857

Wine/Cranberry Sauce



1 liter of Syrah

1 liter of Cabernet

1 pound cranberries

1 1/2 pints of apple jelly




Bring to boil and pour over sliced meats or roast that are cooked.


Contributor:  John Hall, RRGC


Almondine Sauce



1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 lemon

1/4 cup butter




Begin by browning slivered almonds on stovetop skillet in 1/4 cup butter.  Stir almonds constantly and squeeze in lemon juice when browning begins.  Lemon juice will accelerate browning.  Remove skillet from heat and quickly remove browned almonds and butter to sauce pan.  (This sauce is used in the Redfish Almodine recipe). Pour almonds and butter sauce over cooked fillets.  Let fillets rest in warmer for 5 minutes before serving on warm dinner plates.


Notes & Variations:


This almondine sauce can be used with any white flesh fish such as halibut, walleye, perch, etc.


Contributor:  Bob Kolowith, RRGC

Raspberry Chili Glaze



1 bottle chili sauce (16 oz)

1 jar raspberry jam (16 oz)

1 cup of raspberry vinegar




To prepare the glaze put the raspberry vinegar in a large skillet and reduce the vinegar to about half the original volume.

Then add chili sauce and jam. Heat over medium-low heat until melted.

Place the cooked meat balls in the glaze and keep warm until served.

(This glaze is used in the Bear Balls with Raspberry/Chili glaze recipe)


Notes & Variations:


Change the glaze by omitting the vinegar and using any type of jelly for a new flavor.

This glaze is excellent with Little Smokey Sausages and should go well with meat balls from venison (deer, elk, moose) as well as other stronger flavored meats.

Contributor:  Marilyn Steele, RRGC


Aunt Nell's BBQ Sauce



1 tablespoon minced onion

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons celery seed

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons lemon or vinegar

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cup meat broth

Few drops liquid smoke




Combine sauce ingredients and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

Pour over meat.


Notes & Variations:


Contributor:   Aunt Nell's Kitchen Cookbook/Mary Franzoia




Aunt Nell Hackett of La Cygne, Kansas dedicated her cookbook to family and friends.  She became a homemaker in 1924 and collected many recipes.  Some were new and others were treasured old ones, tried and true.

Orange Sauce



1 cup sugar

1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 juice from fresh orange

1 tablespoon Galliano Liqueur (optional)

1/2 cup butter

11 ounce can mandarin oranges (drained)

1 grated rind from one orange (no white parts)




Bring orange juice concentrate, butter and sugar to a boil over medium heat.

Stir frequently; add remaining sauce ingredients and heat.

Pour orange sauce over meat and heat on low for 10-15 minutes..


Notes & Variations:


The Galliano Liqueur can be replaced with 1/2 teaspoon of pure Anise extract to acquire the licorice flavor of the liqueur.  


Contributor:  Jerry Zeitler, RRGC

John's Hot Sauce



     1/2 cup ketchup

     1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

     1 teaspoon lemon juice

     1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

     1/2 teaspoon pepper hot sauce (or to taste)




Mix hot sauce ingredients and refrigerate until use.


Notes & Variations:


This hot sauce can be used on Ling cod, rockfish, halibut and other saltwater fish.


Contributor:  John Hall, RRGC

Picnic Tonic

Number of Servings:  1




1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup warm water




Mix the above ingredients together and chug a lug.


Contributor: Jerry Zeitler, RRGC




This a potion that my mother, as well as many others, had the family drink just before going to a picnic or Pot Luck get together.  It was to help prevent food poisoning and to help with digestion.