Can you eat moose?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat moose?”. We will also elaborate on the benefits of eating moose meat, different ways to cook moose meat and some tips for delicious moose meat. 

Can you eat moose?

Yes, you can eat moose. In fact, it is also one of the most nutritious foods known. The meat, liver, kidney and blood of moose are all exceptional sources of protein and iron and other essential nutrients. 

Moose is an important food source in northern diets. With a single animal yielding as much as 300 kg of meat, moose continues to be a staple food source for many families (1). 

What is moose? 

Moose are land-based animals that eat plants and are down on the food chain. They feed upon leaves, bark, and twigs. The trees they like to eat from the most include birch, aspen, and willow trees. 

Moose meat comes from the venison family. In Europe and Asia, moose meat is usually known as elk. 

The moose is the largest member of the deer family (Cervidae). In Alaska (where moose are some of the largest in the world), bull moose may weigh 1,200 to 1,500 pounds (540-680 kg), and cows may weigh 800 to 1,300 pounds (360-590 kg). In the wild, few moose live >16 years, although some cows reportedly lived >20 years (2).

The taste of moose meat

Moose meat has a considerably lean, tough, and meaty taste. It has a remarkably distinctive flavor that is considerably stronger and gamier as compared to beef. 

Usually, the consumable meat is of the chucks, ribs, little loins, sirloins, hips, brisket, flanks, and shanks. 

Big game Cervids such as moose (Alces alces) are gaining popularity as excellent sources of low-fat lean meat containing superior fatty acid profiles (balanced omega 6:3 essential fatty acids) compared to traditional farm raised or domesticated meat animals. The superior fatty acid profiles of wild big game Cervids are attributed to the forage they consume as a normal part of their diet. This also lends the possibility that due to the diverse kinds of forages consumed by Cervids, they may be excellent or novel sources of low abundance and/or uncommon modified lipids such as fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acid, diglycerides or monoacetyl diglycerides (3).

Some tips for tasty moose meat

Below are some tips to make tasty moose meat:

  • It is best to clean and place the meat on ice as quickly as you can. Not only will this benefit with flavor, but it will help to prevent any foodborne disease.
  • Be sure to cook it to the correct temperature between 140 to 160℉. Undercooking increases the risk for toxoplasmosis and prolonged cooking gives very tough and jerky meat.
  • Cook by adding wine, broth, and sauce. It can be done by braising, searing, or cooking in a slow-cooker. Since moose meat is very lean meat, adding liquid will prevent it from drying.

How to cook various cuts of moose meat?

As the moose is so big, it has so many different cuts. Below are some tips to cook the various cuts of moose meat:

  • The ribs are extremely hard, therefore it is better to use that for grounding meat and preparing burgers and sausages.
  • Use trimmed and little pieces of moose (such as neck meat) in sausages, stews and you can even grind it up for burgers.
  • The piece of the chuck has plenty of fat, therefore should be cooked with liquids through braising. 
  • You can grill or cook the little loins in a cast-iron pan. 
  • You can also roast or grill the sirloins, exactly like the little loin.
  • The tongue, kidney, liver, and heart can also be eaten by sauteing.

The benefits of eating moose meat

Good amounts of potassium

Moose meat provides 300 mg of potassium in a single serving, fulfilling the recommended daily intake. It helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and considerably reduces the risk of heart diseases. It is also completely free of carbohydrates.

Low levels of sodium

Moose meat has very low levels of sodium, it provides only 65 mg in a single serving, which is good for reducing the risk of heart and kidney problems and also for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. 

Rich in protein 

A 100-gram serving of moose meat provides 100 calories and about 22 g of proteins in a single serving which plays an important function in metabolic processes and immune responses. This is more than beef (19.61%) and pork (21.32%). Moose meat muscle provides all essential necessary amino acids (4).

It also supplies a good source of energy and also helps in forming and repairing cells.

Packed with many vitamins and minerals:

Moose meat provides plenty of vitamins and minerals that are important for health, that includes, 3.5 mg of iron, 5.3 µg of vitamin B-12, nearly 150 mg of phosphorus, 4.5 mg of vitamin B-3, and comprises many crucial amino acids that the body requires. It is also a source of Zinc and Magnesium (4). 75 g of roasted moose meat provides at least 25% of daily required iron, vitamin B12 and niacin (1).

These essential vitamins and minerals help the body in metabolism and also in improving the body’s immunity. 

Low-fat content 

Moose meat is nearly free of fat, having only 1 g of fat in a single serving, and from that 1 g, less than half of it is saturated fat (the harmful fat that increases the LDL cholesterol levels), which makes moose meat a considerably good alternative to beef and other fatty meats. Moose meat also contains less cholesterol than beef and pork meat (4).

Studies show that the diverse due to the diet modified polyunsaturated fatty acids of moose meat are new classes of functional lipids demonstrated to have potential therapeutic significance in the management and prevention of metabolic or inflammatory diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, sepsis and rheumatoid arthritis (3).

Ways to store moose meat

The proper method to store moose meat relies on if it is cooked, uncooked, and the time you intend to have it (1). 

Raw moose meat can be kept in a refrigerator for around 2 days prior to cooking. 

Since raw moose meat does not have an extended shelf life when kept in the fridge, it is better to keep it in the freezer. Simply cover it with freezer paper to guarantee freshness. It can remain safe in the freezer for up to one year. 

While cooked moose meat can remain safe in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. 

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat moose?”. We have also elaborated on the benefits of eating moose meat, different ways to cook moose meat and some tips for delicious moose meat. 

References 

  1. Moose. Programs and Services. Nutritional Food Fact Sheet Series. Government of Northwest Territories, CA. 
  2. Innes, Robin J. 2010. Alces americanus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.
  3. Pham, Thu Huong, et al. Moose and caribou as novel sources of functional lipids: fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids, diglycerides and monoacetyldiglycerides. Molecules, 2019, 24, 232.
  4. Strazdina, Vita, Aleksandrs Jemeljanovs, and Vita Sterna. Nutrition value of wild animal meat. Proceed Latv Acad Sci, 2013, 67.
  5. Hingston, Patricia, et al. Safety and Quality of Fish and Game Meats Prepared by First Nations Communities in British Columbia, Canada. J Food Protec, 2020, 83, 896-901.