Using Honeydew Melon To Tenderize Wild Game Meat

Photo by Eileen Clarke

Here’s a little Honeydew 101 from Outdoor News Taste of the Wild contributing chef and well known author, Eileen Clarke.

Eileen’s insight stems from her active hunting lifestyle and research into one of the many cookbooks she has written including Sausage Season: Making your wild meat wildly amazing, and Slice of the Wild: cut and cook game for your table.

From the Chef: Why honeydew melon? It adds a bright flavor to all meats, including venison.  But that bright flavor makes pale-meated upland birds like pheasant, chukars, forest grouse and Hungarian partridge really shine—while it also tenderizes. (Yes.  This little honey is acidic.) But as well as honeydew works, its cousin, cantaloupe, is truly awful.  If you want to find out why cantaloupe’s nickname is ‘musk’ melon, just marinate a bird in it.  In the course of testing various marinades for my new cookbook, Tenderize the Wild, I only gave up on two foods: cantaloupe (because of flavor) and fresh pineapple. (It’s just too quick.) Honeydew makes wild birds sweet and moist, and doesn’t need babysitting.

Photo by Eileen Clarke

Start by cutting the melon in half, spooning out the seeds and then placing each half face down on a cutting board.

Photo by Eileen Clarke

With a sharp boning or chef’s knife, slice the peel off.

Photo by Eileen Clarke

Slice the melon into 1-inch wide strips; turn the board and slice across the strips. Place two handfuls of diced melon into your processor for the marinade and save the rest for snacks.

Check out Chef Eileen’s recipe for Pheasant Milano Supreme using wild game birds tenderized using honeydew melon HERE

To order Eileen’s cookbooks, visit her website:



Categories: Featured, Game Birds & Waterfowl, How To’s, Salads, Sides & Misc

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