This past Saturday, I ventured into the epicurean wilderness…the Taste of the Wild cookout at the DNR. Oh my, was the turnout surprising! Now, it may have been the fact that it was totally free and the spread was very diverse, but I like to think that everyone attending was just as curious about what was being offered as I was. I made the decision to pass on more “normal” fare like salmon, venison, and turkey, and satisfy my more adventurous tooth and partake of the turtle soup, barbecued turtle, and barbecued beaver.
Surprisingly enough, all three were rather good. They had been well-prepared and didn’t taste the least bit gamey, as I had originally expected. The turtle had a clean flavor, and was a bit more fibrous than the beaver. One of the gentlemen that I spoke to said that turtle had 7 different flavors of meat in it. Now personally, I couldn’t discern each individual flavor, but I can understand where he was coming from. It was a very different taste and each chew brought a new flavor, but I could certainly never put a finger on where each was coming from.
The barbecued beaver was very sweet and tender. The texture was more like a traditional pulled pork and it wasn’t musky, nor did it taste of lake water. It didn’t taste much different from beef or pork, although it seemed slightly heavier. I did have a tough time eating it though, as I love beavers and don’t see them as a food source. I tried it and didn’t hate it, but I don’t think I’ll be eating it again.
As I learned from Andrew Zimmern, don’t push something away until you’ve tried it twice. I tried everything twice, and although nothing tasted terrible, I think I’ll stick with traditional fare…until something weirder and more unusual crosses my path.