After my husband hunted and shot an Oryx in White Sands, New Mexico, I was introduced to the world of Oryx meat. Prior to this, I had no experience with the taste of or cooking with Oryx meat. It’s considered delicacy meat in New Mexico because hunting Oryx is strictly regulated by a complex draw system. (Source)
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Initially, my thoughts were would the meat be too gamey? What would it taste like? How do you cook it?
The meat was processed by a local butcher and came in three large sacks with a variety of cuts. We received back strap, ground Oryx, summer sausage with green chile, bratwurst with green chile, roasts, and steaks.
- Related reading: Cost to hunt Oryx in New Mexico
Since Oryx is a very strong animal with lean muscle, the meat tends to be less fatty. In fact, the butcher infused some fat into the summer sausage and bratwurst to increase the flavor.
Due to the very lean nature of Oryx meat, small adjustments will need to be made when cooking Oryx, as explained in this article.
What does oryx meat taste like?
Oryx meat has less game flavor than most game meat. Here in New Mexico, it’s considered the best tasting game meat over elk, deer, and wild turkey.
It has a very mild flavor with hints of gaminess. In some of the Oryx cuts and cooking methods you will find below, I found that Oryx meat was more akin to a less fatty version of beef.
Oryx meat taste will also depend on your palate for game meat. Since I don’t eat much game meat, I was instantly able to detect the gaminess flavors.
However, my husband grew up eating gamey meat and loved the Oryx meat immediately.
As far as the texture, it depends on the cut. I recently had some very tender smoked duck and that texture reminded me of Oryx backstrap, which is also very tender and flavorful.
How to cook Oryx meat
In this section, I go through every cut of meat and how we prepared and ate it.
Since we live in New Mexico, the butcher gave us the option to add green chile to the summer sausage. Green chile is a staple in New Mexican cuisine. The butcher uses a sausage maker and adds ground Oryx, pork fat, and other ingredients. He then smokes the sausage and fully cooks the meat. So, we just had to thaw and enjoy.
This was the first meat I tried out of the game haul. Honestly, I couldn’t tell there was Oryx meat in it. It tasted like regular pork summer sausage, which we ate with cheese and crackers. My husband ended up slicing it and packing it for lunch every day. Even our toddler ate it.
We ordered a lot of summer sausage, possibly too much for us to finish within a reasonable amount of time. Since it was around the holiday season, we gifted a lot of summer sausage to neighbors and family members.
Green chili bratwurst
The second meat we tried was the bratwurst. Even though it had green chile, the taste and flavor of the Oryx meat really came through. It tasted gamey but other flavors balanced it out.
The bratwurst came in packages of four, so we ate them for dinner two nights in a row. My husband grilled them like normal bratwurst. We ate them with brat buns and honey dijon mustard. I noticed the initial game taste diminished significantly on the second night. It seemed my palate had adjusted to the taste.
If you’re new to game meat or generally not a fan of game meat taste, I recommend starting out with the summer sausage or the bratwurst due to the addition of pork fat.
Backstrap Oryx meat
This is the best cut of meat from Oryx or from any animal in general. It comes from the animal’s back and is very tender, like a filet mignon. My husband grilled the backstrap like a steak.
My cut was seared on the outside and medium-rare on the inside with simple seasonings of salt and pepper. It was very tender. Although it was slightly gamey, I enjoyed the nuanced flavors of the meat. We cut up some small pieces for our 19-month-old toddler and she surprisingly ate all of it.
During the winter, my husband started cooking the backstrap on a cast-iron skillet, which yielded excellent results. We usually season the meat with various types of salt and pepper and sear the outside. This packs in all the flavor and you’re left with a nice, medium temperature.
I’m a fan of Lodge cast iron skillets. During the winter, using a cast iron is much nicer than grilling outdoors. Lodge also carries a cast iron grill pan to get those amazing grill marks. Check these out on Amazon (click images).
Ground Oryx meat
My approach to ground Oryx is to substitute it in recipes that would require ground beef or ground turkey. So far, this has worked very well and is easy to incorporate into my cooking.
We’ve used the ground Oryx in a variety of dishes already. It’s very versatile and easy to cook with. Depending on the dish, you may have to add a little bit of liquid as you’re cooking because it releases almost no fat.
Since we do live in the Southwest, we’ve tried it in plenty of New Mexican dishes like tostadas, pinto beans, tacos, and enchiladas. When the meat is infused with a lot of seasoning, especially heat, I can hardly tell that it’s Oryx versus ground beef.
Round Oryx steak
The round Oryx steak is a tougher piece of meat but it can be very versatile. It’s definitely not as tender as the backstrap.
We decided to cut it up and pan fry it for one of our favorite Asian dishes, lo mein. Thus, the invention of Asian game meat fusion: Oryx lo mein.
Generally, round steak cuts have to be tenderized or slow-cooked, so we’ll probably play around with that in the future.
We recently slow-cooked one of the Oryx roasts. Normally, with a beef roast, I will add vegetables and seasonings to a slow cooker and let it cook all day. There’s no need to add water or beef broth because a beef roast will have a good amount of fat marbling, which melts down during the cooking process.
For the Oryx roast, I noticed about four hours into cooking that it was looking a little dry. As you can see in the photo, there is little to no fat marbling in the Oryx roast. I added half a cup of water, which was actually too little. If you find yourself cooking an Oryx roast, I would add at least a full cup of water or broth.
Overall, I slow-cooked for 9 hours, which may have been too short. I noticed the portion of the roast that was sitting in the liquid was very tender and the top was a little dry. I thought the taste was pretty excellent. It had a lot of flavor notes similar to beef roast. I didn’t think this cut was gamey at all.
Final thoughts on New Mexico Oryx meat
Oryx meat does not disappoint. Overall, it’s very easy to cook with. It would be pretty difficult to ruin a cut of this meat in the cooking process.
In general, Oryx meat is not very gamey at all. The flavor is pretty mild, mostly akin to beef. If you ever have the opportunity to try out this meat, I highly recommend it.
I hope you find some inspiration for your Oryx meat. If you have recipes for Oryx and want to share them, leave a comment below!