HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Ideas on roasting another animal whole. Please be realistic.

I am looking for an idea for next years Bovinova. So far we have cooked these whole animals:
Cow, Llama, lambs, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys. I am looking for another animal to add. I have been thinking about a whole ELK, like I helped cook in Tx for the Food and Wine Foundation but it maybe cost prohibitive to get one.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Deer? That might be a bit more accessible than elk. Buffalo? Horse (I know most Americans shudder at the thought of horsemeat but it's popular in many places in Europe and quite delicious)?

    5 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      I may be mistaken, but I believe it is illegal in all US states to sell horse for human consumption.

      1. re: FrankJBN

        They changed that law. Even with a law change I could not get my team drunk enough to get that passed.

        1. re: JB BANNISTER

          SC, right? I vote mule. Seriously.

          1. re: kengk

            I don't think it would be something people would want to eat. As for me, hell I'll try it.

            1. re: JB BANNISTER

              Well, once you get past beef or pork a lot of people aren't going to want to eat it. For whatever reason the thought of ostrich makes me a little queasy but I would like to try some horse or mule meat.

      1. Except that it doesn't fit the Bovinova theme, I'd love to see a huge fish, like marlin. Having grown up on Colorado elk, I think you are right that cost will be prohibitive unless you can find a "ranch" that raises them in your area. The good ones are really big! Reindeer? Ostrich?

        1. Goose, ostrich, rabbit, buffalo, nutria, veal, rattlesnake, bear.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Louise

            I am thinking a veal or deer would be good. The ostrich would be tough to cook properly. I am big on having a good product to serve. Somebody told me today that a Ram might be good.

            1. re: JB BANNISTER

              An Anthropology professor at U. of Fl. in Gainesville had an armadillo roast for years - it is now in it's 41st year. They also have a mystery meat event of the evening. Yak was the mystery meat one year. They may be helpful in sourcing information.

              1. re: JB BANNISTER

                You should contact Lise Beyers, who writes for Die Burger (South African newspaper). She spit-roasted a whole ostrich at the Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival last month. See http://www.dieburger.com/Buite/Nuus/S...

                You can get a very rough translation from Google: http://translate.google.com/translate... The Google translation uses the word "fry" but the word she uses in Afrikaans is "braai" which means grill (or "spitbraai" is what in U.S. would be spit roast).

                Edit: Another picture of the ostrich spit roast in the 24 May entry on this page: http://www.diehoorn.co.za/category/fo...

                1. re: drongo

                  That really looks doable. Thanks!!!! I just forwarded this to the Board of Directors (drinking buddies) I think the heavy duty spit from spitjack.com would be able to handle it. We are having a Board Meeting tonight, at a bar, and it will be topic for discussion. Wish me luck.

                2. re: JB BANNISTER

                  I've never had it myself but have a brother in Wyoming who claims pronghorn antelope is very good eating.

                  1. re: kengk

                    I wonder if I have to have a farm raised animal if I am serving it the public? I really like the idea of that.

                    1. re: kengk

                      I've eaten it and it is nowhere as good as venison or elk.

                3. It might be hard to get your hands on one but a Capybara is the right size


                  It's not threatened or endangered so no ethical issues

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: redfish62

                    The issue is USDA approval to bring it in, which isn't likely to happen for it wild. "Paca" is farmed in Brazil (and legal in the North), but again its not worth the effort for those businesses to get export approval. I know that "Cuy" is available in the US, so that might be the place to start, but most of JB BANNISTER's animals tend to be larger. :-)

                    1. re: itaunas

                      I am looking for a cuy but just for my personal consumption. I don't think I could sell the team on that idea.

                      1. re: JB BANNISTER

                        Its sold frozen in the Northeast, bit hard to find but not that uncommon, and not inexpensive. I would expect that its probably distributed out of New Jersey, but probably the easiest thing would be to find a hound or friend to ship you one on dry ice. I think there are some live poultry places which also sell it, but that wouldn't help you.

                    1. I think I am going to run with a ostrich or emu. Maybe a whole deer. On all these animals I would have to use a Larding Needle to put some fat in it. If you suffer from a dry pork loin larding it before cooking will fix it. The Bovinova Board kinda gave me the goahead last night to start the search so I am looking for one of the big birds now. I think we should do a emu first then the following year an ostrich. What do you think?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JB BANNISTER

                        Sounds great to me. I think an emu is a good lead-in to an ostrich -- if the emu turns out too dry, then ostrich likely worse. There's a farm up the road from me with emus... maybe a midnight raid is called for!

                        The place mentioned in my previous post about ostrich is near the world-center of ostrich farming, Oudtshoorn (South Africa). The farms used to have about a million ostriches (back when ostrich feathers were fashionable). For some history, see http://www.nytimes.com/1993/09/15/wor...

                        I don't know how established ostrich farming is in the U.S. -- and hence how inexpensive or expensive a whole one (presumably with skin already removed for the making of boots!) would be.

                        1. re: drongo

                          This is a youtube video of how I can make the meat moist. I have done it once. Old classic cooking. The needle is called a larding needle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKDN28...

                      2. I don't know where in the US you are, but if you decide to go with ostrich and it's feasible to get it shipped from here, please consider getting one from a supplier in New Mexico.

                        Many people in the state were persuaded to try (some would say 'conned into trying') ostrich farming in the late '80's and early '90's. They were told ostrich meat was the next big thing, that they could raise them on small plots of land, that a single bird can yield 100 lbs of edible meat, and that people spend crazy amounts for the eggs and the hides. At one point there were close to a hundred ostrich "ranches" registered in the state. Unfortunately, ostriches are very temperamental, run fast, kick hard and only lay eggs when they feel like it, so most of those businesses have failed, but there are still a number of family farms still trying to make a go of it.

                        Here's the most well-known one, but there are others around the state you may want to investigate. http://www.floeckscountry.com/ . The agriculture/livestock research department at NMSU could probably help you find a provider.

                        PS: We've got emus, too.

                        1. JB, throw a couple javelinas on the grill.

                          2 Replies
                          1. elk is just a large deer, go out and find bambi's mother . . .

                            what about a yak? Ostrich? I imagine Camel would be hard to find, as would zebra.

                            seems to me there is a place in Wyoming you can hunt your own Bison. Durham Ranch? Something like that.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                              I have a friend who grazes zebras in his front 40 acres in Nacodoches, TX. I have never eaten one.

                            2. You know what might be fun if you can arrange it? An invasive species roast. Wild boar from Texas or Michigan, nutria from Tennessee or thereabouts, lionfish from the Florida Keys, etc. Can one make a salad from kudzu? ;-)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: nokitchen

                                Doing 2 boar this year. Both will have bullet holes in them to show off.

                                The nutria thing does interest me. Is there a guide that I can hire for me and the guys to go get some?

                                1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                  Dunno -- the thought just crossed my mind. I did find a chef who has a specialty in cooking invasive species. Maybe drop him an email? http://www.chefphilippe.com/invasive....

                              2. Bear.

                                Getting a black bear shouldn't be too difficult.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: JayL

                                  Bear meat is one of the only meats I really don't like. Also bear meat accounted for almost all nonpork cases of trichinosis. I am feeding A LOT of people that scares me.

                                  1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                    Nearly every case of trichinosis comes from wild game anyway so you need to be careful whichever way you go.

                                    Farmed pork has been mostly trichinosis free for years.

                                2. Would probably be pretty expensive, but what about a lion?

                                  1. Here is what I ended up with EMU. I larded it with bacon to keep it moist. What you see is the thighs as they have no breast meat.