Wild Game Grill brings unique menu items for meat-lovers

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Adventurous eaters have a new place to tempt their taste buds, as a new restaurant invites the public to take a walk on the "wild" side.

Wild Game Grill in Central Phoenix offers a unique dining experience of bison, boar, Rocky Mountain oysters, rabbit, elk, venison and more. Diners can also enjoy a variety of inventive burgers, steaks and salads.

"Menu planning has to be creative," says Chef Jay McCreary. "We especially love to see our guests who have never tried wild game options discover a delicious way to eat leaner."

All of the meat is free-range, high-protein and organic, too, an added bonus for the health-conscious foodies.

"When you begin to see Costco offering wild game in the meat department, you know people are looking for clean, healthy food options," says Michelle McGee, partner and co-founder of Wild Game Grill. "But it has to be delicious, and not everyone has time to buy and experiment in the kitchen. That's where Wild Game Grill comes in. It's a place for delicious food that's good for you, and perfect for the healthy-minded and adventurous types."

Wild Game Grill, a member of Local First Arizona, also is making its mark by its location.  It's pushing south of Indian School to extend the growing Central Phoenix dining district.  The restaurant has overtaken a 74-year-old Central Phoenix strip center, with the entire structure transformed using design elements of original concrete, brick, iron and wood.

"Our neighbors love us," says McGee. "We've retained the original brick, wood rafters and even the concrete flooring, re-stained, of course.  So we're respecting the history of the building, and the neighborhood, too. Plus we feel lucky to have 75 parking spaces in the center of the city!"

Overtaking eight 500-square-foot former retail units, the strip center had not been remodeled since 1940. Interior walls were torn down to create a large open floor plan keeping a comfortably inviting industrial and authentic feel.

One of the restaurant's featured dishes is rabbit sloppy joes. On Tuesday's Good Morning Arizona, McCreary showed us how this unique dish is done.

Wild Game Grill Rabbit Sloppy Joe

Total Time: 60 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 50 min
Yield: 6 sandwiches

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds ground rabbit
½ medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic minces
½ green bell pepper, diced
2 cups water
1 ½ cups ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
6 toasted onion buns

Onion Strings:
 ½ medium yellow onion, sliced into thin rings
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 quart oil for frying

Directions for sloppy meat:
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add oil and meat to the pan. When the meat has browned, add bell pepper, onion and garlic and sweat until translucent.  Add 1 cup water. Be sure to scrap pan to mix in the rabbit meat drippings. Mix in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper. Add the second cup of water and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick (about 40 minutes). Using a large spoon, pile sloppy meat onto toasted bun bottoms and top with onion strings.

Directions for Onion Strings:
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Combine flour, salt and pepper. Separate onion slices into rings. Dredge onion rings (be sure to separate rings and not leave them clumped together) thoroughly through flour mixture. Fry onion rings in 3 batches for 1 to 1 ½ minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Wild Game Grill
2445 E. Thomas Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016