Game Terrine

4.86 from 14 votes
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A slice of wild game terrine with pickles
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

No lie, making a game terrine, or really any terrine, is a project. But it is a project well worth it.

A terrine is basically a fancy pâté, which is itself a fancy meatloaf. The difference is that pâtés and terrines are cooked very gently in a water bath, where meatloaf is just baked. And pâté is typically simpler in design, where terrines are where you flaunt your charcuterie skills.

Game terrines often have more than one meat, meats that are cut to different finenesses, as well as “interior garnish,” which basically means stuff like berries or nuts tossed in, or even things like roasted red peppers and such. Terrines are often surrounded with thin strips of bacon or pastry, too.

Pâtés and terrines are eaten cold (normally), with some pickled things and often mustard. Bread and/or crackers is a good accompaniment.

I hear ya. “Hank, I don’t have much in the way of charcuterie skills.” Let me walk you through the process, which isn’t terribly hard.

First, you need pork. Yep. Even a game terrine needs pork. Pork is magic, and no, you can’t make one without it. Sorry.

Second, you really ought to have a nice terrine pan. I use this Le Creuset 2-quart terrine pan, but there is a cheaper version here. You want a 2-quart pan for this recipe. If you don’t have a terrine pan, all is not lost. You can, in a pinch, use a regular 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. But yes, you need a pan of some sort.

You then need game for your game terrine. I used a fairly random collection of stuff in my freezer:

  • Some skinless grouse breasts.
  • A lot of dove hearts. Yes, dove hearts.
  • A bunch of snipe breasts. Again, yes, I have a weird freezer selection.
  • A half dozen or so fatty livers from wild ducks.
overhead view of wild game terrine recipe
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

By no means do you need this oddball collection of meats. But it is a very good idea to include a little of this, a little of that, some offal is always a good call, as is a combo of light and dark meats. As you’ll see in the recipe, you do need a certain weight, however.

It really helps to have a meat grinder, too. Most of you reading this will have one (I use the Weston Butcher Series 8 Electric Meat Grinder (½ HP), but you can use whatever you want.) If you don’t have a meat grinder, a food processor will do in a pinch, but it’s definitely not as good.

Finally, you will want a tiny bit of No. 1 curing salt, which you can buy online or in good butcher shops. You don’t absolutely need it, but it will give you that nice pink color.

Armed with all this, you can now make your game terrine. It’s going to take you an hour or two, even if you are good at it, so allocate a bit more time than that if you are a newbie.

Everything in the following recipe is pretty straightforward, except for the bacon wrapping. You want cheap, skinny bacon — not thick cut — and you need to use whole slices, not slices cut in half. You will likely need to snip off about 1/4 of each slice after you have wrapped your terrine. Fry and eat those tidbits. This is how you lay out your bacon:

Lining a terrine pan with bacon slices
Photo by Hank Shaw

Oh, and one more thing: A good terrine needs to be pressed, and chilled, before eating. So it must be made at least a day before you eat it. Happily, once made, terrines will keep between a week and 10 days in the fridge, and a year in the freezer.


A slice of wild game terrine with pickles
4.86 from 14 votes

Wild Game Terrine

The total weight of meat is important here, not the selection -- anything you have or want to use is fine. Also, the grind is important: You want it varied, so everything from big chunks of tender stuff to finely ground meat, and everything in between. It makes for a more interesting terrine. 
Course: Appetizer, Cured Meat
Cuisine: French
Servings: 12 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes


  • 1/2 cup dried small berries: lingonberries, blueberries, cranberries, etc (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brandy or whiskey
  • 2 slices bread, crusts removed
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3/4 pound bacon ends or pork fat
  • 1.6 pounds assorted game meats
  • 30 grams kosher salt
  • 3 grams curing salt No. 1
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons chopped dried juniper berries (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shelled, roasted & salted pistachios
  • 1 pound thinly sliced bacon


  • Start by soaking the dried berries in the brandy. Set that aside while you work. Get a large roasting pan and fill it halfway with water. Set that in the oven and set the oven to 225F. 
  • Wet down the insides of your terrine pan and carefully line it with plastic wrap. Leave enough extra plastic wrap so you can cover the top of the finished terrine later. 
  • Tear the bread into bits and mix with the half-and-half and beaten eggs. Blend or mash this into a cohesive paste. Set it in the fridge. 
  • Saute the shallot in the butter over medium heat until translucent and just beginning to color, about 4 to 6 minutes. Turn off the heat, let it cool a bit, scrape the shallots into a little bowl and set that in the fridge. 
  • Now, the meats. Select some to be in large-ish pieces -- I did this with snipe breasts I pounded thin. Any other small bird breast would be good here -- some to be diced, some to be ground coarse, and some to be ground fine. 
    In this terrine, I left the breasts of 4 snipe whole (so 8 pieces), diced about 1/4 pound grouse breast and another 1/4 pound snipe breast, ground the remaining snipe and grouse coarse, along with half the bacon, and the liver and dove hearts fine, along with the remaining bacon ends. 
  • You want at least 1/4 of the total mixture ground fine. About 1/2 ground coarse, and the rest in chunks or whole. 
  • When you have done this, set it all in the freezer while you clean up. 
  • Get a large bowl and add the egg-bread-cream mixture, the shallots, the meats and the salt, curing salt and spices. Mix this well with your (very clean) hands until it comes together as one mass. Add the brandy and berries and nuts and work them in now, which should take another minute or so. Set all this in the fridge while you clean up and lay down the bacon slices. 
  • Get your thinly sliced bacon out and carefully line the terrine pan in the way you see in the picture above. Lay a slice across the bottom of the pan, roughly halfway across, and drape it over the side. Press gently to make sure the bacon is flat against the terrine pan. Set the next slice going the other way, slightly overlapping the previous slice. Do this until you have the whole pan set up. Take your time, as you need to get the hang of it. 
  • Take your meat mixture and firmly press it into the terrine pan. Do this bit by bit, pressing down to make sure there are no air pockets. Fill the terrine up to the top, or even mound it slightly -- it shrinks as it cooks. Fold the bacon over the meat and close the plastic wrap on the bacon. Put the lid on the terrine pan. Or, if you are using a bread loaf pan, cover it in foil. 
  • Gently set the terrine pan in that roasting pan with water that 's been sitting in your oven since you started. The water should come up to about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the terrine pan. If not, boil some water and add it. 
  • Cook the terrine gently for about 2 hours, 15 minutes, or until the interior reaches about 145F to 150F.
  • Carefully take the terrine out of the oven. To press, use scissors to cut a piece of cardboard that fits over the top of the terrine -- minus the edges -- and wrap the cardboard in tin foil. Remove the terrine lid and place the foil-wrapped cardboard on top. Set bricks or heavy canned goods on it. Let this come to room temperature. 
  • When cooled, set the terrine in the fridge to chill overnight. To eat, remove the weights and cardboard, then open the plastic wrap. Lift gently on the edges to free the terrine, and carefully pop it out of the pan onto a cutting board. Remove the plastic wrap and slice. 
  • You can store your terrine in its pan in the fridge for a week or so. After that, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. 


Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 1239mg | Potassium: 406mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi hank I’m really struggling to find “kosha salt” in the UK except 2kg bags shipped from USA
    I think it maybe called something different here?
    Is it usually sea or rock salt?
    Hope this makes sense

      1. Hi Hank thanks for the swift response
        I have since done some digging and it seems that the UK do not add anything to any salt, therefore all UK coarse salt will be regarded as kosher in the US
        Thanks again for the free resource that you allow us to use!
        I have been following for some time now and I am half way through buck buck moose
        Thanks from Leicester UK

  2. Sous vide works great for this. Just vac pack your terrine, then sous vide it. By vac packing it you also won’t need to press it.

    1. Jay: How can you vac pack a terrine that is uncooked? It’s in a terrine pan. And if not, how do you keep it in a rectangular form?

  3. I made this recipe for the first time, using ground venison and ground up pork fat, in a bread pan covered with foil wrap. When I took it out of the oven it was full of liquid. Just wondering if this is normal?

    1. Melissa: Yes, there will be some liquid, but my question is did you set that bread pan in another pan of hot water? That will cook the terrine more gently, and you will have less water loss.

  4. Hi, I’ve considered this for a long time. I am going to try this with lamb lovers. The sheep I raise are Katahdins, a hair sheep, way less fatty that wool sheep. But I will soak it as recommended.
    I’m Rick Copeland’s(Wilderness Unlimited) sister. He gave me your information and I just love your recipes and techniques. So I will let you know how this turns out. So fancy for the holidays.
    Thanks so much for your site and newsletter. I knew I could find the recipe I want here. it is wonderful.

  5. This was a great introduction to terrines for me. But I did make one change to your methods. I used 3 boxes of shot shell to press the meat – one box of 2 3/4” #4, one of 3” BB and one box of 2 3/4” #9. Like with all terrines substitution of loads will work fine!

  6. I tried this recipe this week with a few twists. I used squirrel and rabbit instead of upland birds and added some green olives for a little kick. I ground the squirrel fine and use the tender rabbit as the shredded/course grind. I could not find juniper berries. Requires some patience, but well worth it in the end. I did use parchment instead of plastic and it worked great. Served it with some brie (yep, brie and squirrel) on some fresh bread with mustad and crackers. Delicious! Will make again.

  7. Pate is related to “paste” or “dough” and originally referred to forcemeats enveloped in a pastry crust. Terrine is a forcemeat mixture cooked in a dish known as a terrine (thus the name), and is what most people are referring to when they use the term pate now. Just an interesting tidbit.

    Galantines are another thing might be fun to try making one with a wild turkey.

    Love your site and your books, I use your recipes all the time! Your venison barbacoa might be my favorite recipe of all time.


  8. Made this for Thanksgiving with venison, pheasant breasts, goose hearts, and goose gizzards. The juniper was a little strong for my tastes but overall came out great! I might just skip the bacon next wrap next time since I think it needs to be even thinner than I can get at the store.

  9. Hank,
    Do you have a preferred recipe for pate/terrine spice mixture? I have always made my Christmas terrines with canvas back duck breasts, pork and duck/poultry livers, and included some pistachio nuts. A little Armagnac pops the flavor.

  10. 30 grams of kosher salt and 3 grams of sodium nitrite yields 2550 mg of sodium per 100 grams finished product which to me tasted incredibly salty. This doesn’t include sodium contributions from any already cured meat added and naturally occurring sodium. The second time I made this I used 15 grams kosher salt and 3 grams cure and no bacon and was happy with the result. Otherwise, I love this recipe. Great use for those tid-bits of miscellaneous meats.

  11. This was fabulous. I used some ground venison and some wild boar that a friend gave to me. Also used dried huckleberries that we had picked locally. Then we took it to a Christmas party where we knew our hunter friend would be. Seved with party rye, country mustard and cornichons. It was a big hit.
    I have to admit, I have never been really fond of the bacon that is traditionally placed around the terrine, even though it is fully cooked. So after the terrine was cooked and chilled, I ran it quickly under a broiler to brown it slightly and then rechilled it. It worked.

  12. Using your recipe I just tried my first terrine. It came out very well. I used wild pheasant and chukar breasts and pork belly instead of bacon ends and did not include any liver or offal. I included the chopped pistachios and currants soaked in Calvados ( apple brandy ) and the juniper berries. Next time ( and there will be one ) I think a good addition would be some crushed pink peppercorns

  13. Was looking for something to make for the holidays using the last of some venison I had frozen. Used about 1.1 lbs of lean venison, 0.5lbs of smoked duck breast, and homemade bacon ends for the pork fat component. Diced the duck breast (it was pre-cooked) as the chunky part, ran the venison and bacon through the large die once, then half of it through again. Fruit was dried Bing cherries soaked in Madeira.

    Only problem was my terrine dish is the little LeCreuset 3/4 quart one, so I had leftover pate. Spooned it into pint mason jars.

    I know you just did a post against sous vide Hank, but here’s a good use for it… 🙂 Popped the terrine and the jars in 167 degree water up to their necks in a pot on the counter for about 90 minutes on the jars and about 2.5 hrs on the terrine until they hit 148 inside. Capped the jars with some rendered lard and put them in the fridge, terrine was pressed overnight.

    Came out great! Good with a little mustard and cranberry chutney.

  14. Hank,
    Prepared a version That was a combo of this and the slightly different hare version in your book. Used chukar, pheasant, and ptarmigan and substituted bacon for the pork fat. Absolutely awesome and a huge it with our family and guests this holiday season. Thanks for further expanding my charcuterie horizons.

  15. Sorry to ask another question but I’m planning on doing this with duck, quail and goose. Skin the right? Would you add the rendered fat back in or would that be too much? These are all domestic birds.
    P.s. making the gumbo from Duck Duck Goose again with the rest of the birds – It’s amazing!

    1. Tammy: Yes, skinned, but you can grind skin fine and add it in if you like. And no, no rendered fat at all. You’ll get enough from the bacon.

    1. Paul: I don’t, but several people in the past post I wrote on sous vide say it works. But I have no idea how you would do it in a terrine pan.

  16. “Again, yes, I have a weird freezer selection.” ???
    Thanks again for another great recipe. Merry Xmas from the east end ?

    1. Seve: Maybe? Plastic wrap will keep things from sticking. But I’ve done terrines like this with neither plastic or parchment, and the fat from the pork tends to keep things slick, too. If you skip it, you will want to run a thin-bladed knife around the terrine to loosen it before turning it out.

  17. Thank you for such detailed instructions. I’ve never put plastic wrap in the oven – anything a person needs to know doing this for the first time? Is that why we wet the pan first?
    Thanks and happy holidays.