In the Wild with Greg Wagner


This is a must-try, healthy, tasty recipe for those of you who have or will have ground venison in the frig or freezer this fall or winter. It’s actually a healthy twist on an older recipe in my file. Even non-hunters and non-wild game meat eaters visiting the Wagner abode have thoroughly enjoyed this recipe! It serves eight people. Bon appetite! See you out there, grill-side! By the way, if you would like to receive or donate some venison, don’t forget about our Nebraska Deer Exchange Program here:

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free, plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds ground venison
  • 8 whole wheat or multi-grain hamburger buns, split
  • 8 slices reduced-fat or low-fat Pepper Jack cheese

Recipe Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, mustard and lime peel; cover and refrigerate until serving.
  2. In a bowl, combine the onions, yogurt, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Crumble meat over mixture and mix well. Shape into eight patties. Grill until meat is no longer pink. Serve on buns; top with cheese and mayonnaise mixture … Mmmm!


It’s so hot and steamy outside here in southeastern Nebraska, I’m indoors tonight. I’ve been watching too much of the Food Network on TV though, so I’m in a recipe giving mood. That being said, and with Nebraska’s dove hunting season opening just around the corner on Sept. 1, no better time than the present to pass along one of my favorite, but simple recipes from Field & Stream magazine for absolutely delicious dove breasts. You gotta try this, wild game chefs and hunters! Here it is:  



De-boned dove breasts   

1 can jalapeno peppers   

1 tub cream cheese   



Photo courtesy of Field & Stream magazine.

1. Pre-heat grill  

2. Rinse and dry dove breasts.  

3. Slice jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise. (Remove seeds and veins if you prefer less heat.)  

4. Slather cream cheese in the open cavity of each jalapeno. Top with a dove breast, wrap in half a piece of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Repeat will all breasts.  

5. Grill poppers over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning once. Salt and pepper to taste. WOW!  

Photo courtesy of Field & Stream magazine.

See you out there on Sept. 1 trying to connect with those speedy, erratic-flying, elusive doves! Hmmm … I better go buy some more shells, don’t ya’ think?  


I hope to see you at the big, annual Waterfowl and Dog Expo happening next weekend of August 14th and 15th at the Scheels Store in Omaha’s Village Pointe Shopping Center. Click the link below to get all the details about what’s on the slate for this fun, family oriented event:

My Great Outdoor Radio Show on Omaha’s ESPN Radio/1620 AM ( will be airing live near the front entrance of Scheels from 9-10 a.m. Saturday morning.

On Sunday, I’ll be part of a judging crew for a wild game cook off with competition among the professional chefs from those nice restaurants in Village Pointe. Mmmm, can’t wait for that! You know I like to eat, especially wild game!

See you out there!

WILD GAME COOKING 101 by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
November 23, 2009, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Hunting, Uncategorized, Wild Game Cooking | Tags: , ,

Those of us who enjoy Nebraska’s many and varied fall hunting seasons have our freezers packed full of venison, wild turkeys, rooster pheasants, Canada geese and other assorted wild game species. The Wagner family loves eating a variety of wild game entrees over the holiday period! How about your family?

 If you are new to cooking wild game or haven’t done it for a while, here are some basic principles to follow from Chef Dan Small who writes for Pennsylvania Outdoor News:

 –        Game is leaner and drier than most domestic meats, so use recipes that keep it moist!

 –        Game meat will be tender if you cook it for a short time on high heat or a long time on low heat. Game meat needs to be cooked thoroughly, but is best done medium-rare!    

 –        Younger animals taste better and are tenderer than older ones. Use young game in most recipes; reserve older game for stews and braising.

 –        Aging game will help tenderize it and add flavor. As an example, you should age an old gobbler for about a week before freezing it or cooking it. 

 –        Less is better. Simpler recipes are not only easier; they respect the nuances of game meat. Use sauces, spices and seasonings sparingly to enhance, not overpower your game.

 –        Fresh is best. When a game recipe calls for herbs, purchase them as you need them from the grocery store or start a small herb garden. Old herbs have little taste. Greg Wagner’s favorite herb to use with wild game is rosemary!

 –        Wines and Wild Game. To keep things simple, use white and rose wines for upland game birds, red wines for everything else.   

 –        Let it soak! Let wild game meat soak in marinades overnight, or at least for an hour or two. This will help add flavor to and tenderize your meat.

 –        Rub it in. Sprinkle herbs and rub seasonings on your game meat with your fingers and then let it sit a while before cooking. Brush a light coat of olive oil on meat that has been dry rubbed to help seal in favors and moisture.

Dan Small says turning dead critters into delicious meals is not a daunting task. Dan summarizes: “Keep your game meat moist, serve it hot and use seasonings sparingly and your guests will start calling you a gourmet chef!” Right on, Dan! Bon appétit!

 By the way, feel free to share your favorite wild game cooking secrets and recipes with us by leaving a comment. Thanks!