Monday, March 28, 2016

Grilled Antelope with Santa Maria Style Seasoning and Salsa

This past weekend we discovered The Naughty Pig Butchery here in Murrieta and it was a welcome find. We wanted to grill beef tri-tip and would have gone to Costco, Stater Bros or Ralphs to buy the meat, but on a whim I did an online search and lo and behold found the only butcher shop here in the Temecula Valley. It's a relatively small store front in an unassuming strip mall on Madison across from Walmart but the selections are, well, select and top notch. They carry quality cuts of grass fed beef, Duroc Iowa pork, chicken, lamb, duck, buffalo, venison, wild boar, and (at least on that day) antelope!!! We ended up buying two try-tips and, after a tasting of the antelope, bought a pound of that, too. The proprietor, Chef Daniel, advised that we grill the antelope simply with some olive oil, salt and pepper, quickly seared and then cooked over indirect heat until about medium to medium rare in the center. Overcooking is an absolute no-no with lean game meats. I brushed the antelope on all sides with olive oil then seasoned it with a generous amount of the same Santa Maria-style seasoning that we used on the trip-tip (basically salt, garlic powder, pepper, and parsley flakes). Gil grilled it on our Santa Maria grill, which has an adjustable grate, and we served it with some home-made Santa Maria-style salsa. Sooooo good! Antelope is not gamey at all - tastes very much like beef and is very tender as long as it's not well done. 

1 lb. antelope*
Santa Maria-style seasoning (I like Susie Q's) - or, a blend of kosher salt, granulated or powdered garlic, black pepper and parsley flakes
Olive oil

Santa Maria-style Salsa

1. Make the salsa, cover, and set aside.

2. About 5-10 minutes before grilling, pat the antelope dry with paper towels, rub olive oil over the meat and and season liberally on all sides with the seasoning mix. 

3. Prepare the grill using charcoal and/or red oak chunks (Gil uses this to grill try-tip). When the flames have died down, sear the antelope over the center of the grill, about 1 minute per side. Remove the meat to the cooler side of the grill (over indirect heat). 

4. Continue grilling about 5-6 minutes per side for each 1/2" of thickness, turning over once (baste with extra olive oil as needed). Cook to about 120F for medium rare. 

5. Remove the meat and let rest for 5, no more than 10 minutes so that it won't overcook. Slice and serve with salsa on the side.

*1 lb. will serve about 2 people for an entree or 4 as an appetizer. Antelope is expensive (about $35 per lb., so I would serve this as an appetizer unless money ain't no object)

 Since we planned on grilling both the beef tri-tip and antelope, I seasoned both liberally with Santa Maria-style seasoning (salt, garlic, black pepper and parsley flakes).

 Rub the antelope with olive oil first before seasoning.

 Susie Q's is my fav brand of Santa Maria-style seasoning. Extra olive oil on the side for brushing the antelope as it grills to keep it moist.

 The meat is first seared on both sides over high heat briefly (Gil is brushing on some of that extra olive oil here).

 Once seared, move the meat to the side of the grill and cook it over indirect heat for 5-6 minutes per side, turning over once, until internal temp is about 120F for medium rare.

            Let the meat rest for about 5 minutes, then slice and serve with the salsa on the side.

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