The Meat of the Tiger…sort of.

by Austin Kaus on December 3, 2014 · 1 comment

I came back from lunch on Monday to find a mystery sack on my chair.

Random things just appear/move at my desk. It’s nothing new. Sometimes, I find a Ramones CD and sometimes I leave for a week and come back to find all of my office action figures hanging from my plants.

But Monday’s surprise was a bit different. I lifted it. It had a bit of weight. I felt it. It was cold. I squeezed it. It squished. I was intrigued.

It turns out a family member had dropped off some tiger meat. If you’re thinking about import laws or anything striped right now, you might not be from the Midwest. Tiger meat isn’t made of actual tiger. Rather, it’s made with raw ground sirloin (and sometimes venison).

Yes, raw beef. Don’t worry. I had a similar reaction. I’m a Midwestern guy who doesn’t need you to cook his steak with a flamethrower, but I’m generally wary of anything served raw that once had legs. But, in the name of science and an almost-constant hunger, I grabbed some crackers from my office and gave it a shot.

It was delicious.

I’m not sure what went into this particular recipe, but I immediately tasted delicious onion and green pepper flavors along with a lot of spices. (My particular batch of tiger meat had been purchased from Kessler’s in Aberdeen. The overall flavor was far more complex and tasty than what I imagined although, to be fair, I imagined raw hamburger with some salt and pepper. (Worst-case scenarios are sometimes my specialty.) It tasted so good that I’m considering not taking it home and making it into hamburgers which, until a few minutes ago, was called “Plan A.” (I very much hope I don’t lose my South Dakota citizenship for that admission.)

It turns out that tiger meat is pretty popular among ice fishermen. Since the food needs to be kept cold (it is raw hamburger, after all), it makes a great snack for people surrounded by nature’s refrigeration. (If you’re curious about exactly what tiger meat is actually made of, check out this recipe from South Dakota native Chris Hull.)

Do you like tiger meat? Have a favorite recipe? Take it with you on ice fishing trips? Know the best spot to get tiger meat in South Dakota? (South Dakota Magazine recommends Meridian Corner near Freeman.) Leave a note in the comments section and let me know your thoughts. I’m extremely interested in hearing your opinions about a gift that was left in my office and ended up in my belly.

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