Wild Game Sauces

chiltepin hot sauce in a ramekin
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Many of the best cuts of wild game — breasts of birds, backstraps of wild boar or venison — are best simply seared, and served with a sauce. Many times I skip a sauce, but a good one can elevate a simple meal. And most don’t require a long time to prepare. Here are some of my favorites, along with the game I serve them with.

chimichurri sauce recipe

Chimichurri with Venison

A garlicky, herby sauce from Argentina, this version uses wild mint. You can use any mint you want, or substitute oregano. Serve this with venison, wild boar, duck or pheasant.

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prickly pear BBQ sauce recipe

Doves with Prickly Pear BBQ Sauce

A spicy sweet take on barbecue sauce that features the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, tequila, chiles and lime. So damn good!

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Elk tenderloin on a plate with ancho sauce and pico de gallo.

Elk Tenderloin with Ancho Sauce

An astonishingly deep and rich ancho chile-caramelized onion sauce that is easy to make. Goes great with most meats.

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Salsa negra on duck legs

Salsa Negra

A versatile Mexican sauce with nuts, black garlic and chiles. Excellent on a whole lot more than tacos…

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Finished salsa morita recipe in a bowl

Salsa Morita

An easy to make Mexican salsa with little fiery chipotles, roasted tomatillos, onions and garlic.

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sorrel sauce recipe

Sorrel Sauce

A traditional French sorrel sauce with cream and a little white wine — it’s perfect with fish or poultry.

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chinese plum sauce

Chinese Plum Sauce with Wild Plums

A rich, tangy, spicy-sweet sauce made from wild plums. This is like Chinese BBQ sauce, only better. Slather it on anything, but it goes really well with duck.

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cumberland sauce with venison

Venison with Cumberland Sauce

Probably the most classic wild game sauce there is, this tangy, rich sauce goes well with any dark meat, especially venison, duck, goose or bear.

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duck maple bourbon gravy recipe

Maple Bourbon Sauce

One of my favorite old-school gravies, I like this one best with duck or goose, but it’s pretty damn good on turkey and venison, too.

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chiltepin hot sauce recipe

Homemade Hot Sauce

Hot sauce from wild chiles? Yes, please!

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Saffron Aioli recipe

Saffron Aioli

I like this vivid yellow sauce with fried food. Fried seafood and fish, especially, although it’s good with quail and rabbit, too.

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A bowl of berbere spice mix

Ethiopian Berbere Spice Mix

The backbone of Ethiopian cooking, this spicy chile paste adds a whole lot of oomph to whatever you put it in. Try a dollop in your chili next time…

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Close up of ripe elderberries.

Pontack, an Elderberry Sauce

Pontack is an ancient predecessor to Worcestershire sauce made with elderberries. It’s best when well aged.

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ancient Roman mustard

Ancient Roman Mustard

My version of an ancient Roman recipe from Apicius, with ground pine nuts and almonds.

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How to make mustard

How to Make Mustard

This is your baseline recipe for making mustard at home.

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