Thursday 13 December 2018

Grouse "Butter Chicken"

Grouse "Butter Chicken" is one of my favourite camp meals.   It is easy, the ingredients travel well, and it is a great way to lift the spirits when people are getting discouraged. 

Every time I have gone after grouse, it has been as a side hunt while moose or elk hunting.  Hunting any quarry can become discouraging, especially when you have taken time off work, lucked out with an LEH draw, but can't seem to find sign or the promise of eventual success.  Taking a break with some grouse hunting is instantly rewarding and seems to reset ones enthusiasm.

Everyone goes after grouse in their own way, and to purists, my method may seem unorthodox.  I hunt with a .22LR, specifically, a Ruger 10/22.  I only go for head shots, whether they are on the ground or in the tree.  I've heard that some people believe it is unsporting to shoot grouse which are not flying, but these purists are using shotguns with bird shot.  I prefer to get the grouse where I see them on the ground, before they flush, or if they do take flight, I follow their trajectory into the trees and try to find them again when they are sitting on a branch.

With a little practice, I would say I am 75% successful in finding grouse again once they have flushed and flown into the forest.  They usually only fly a short way, land about half way up the tree, and if you look up and down the trunks, you can usually find them sitting still, trying to be invisible, near the trunk of the tree.  This method works for me and I have come close to limiting out on several occasions in a couple of hours. 

The other nice thing about grouse "butter chicken" or any other curry dish is that it has a way of masking any of the gamy flavours from older grouse, or grouse some people dislike such as Spruce Grouse.  No question, I prefer Ruffed Grouse, as milder and tastier, but it is equally enjoyable to pursue all types of grouse, and this is a good recipe that makes them all work well.


4 to 10 grouse
1 can of curry, butter chicken, korma, whatever Indian sauce
1 can of coconut milk
Oil or margarine 
1 Onion
Garlic (optional)
Rice or Potatoes

 1) Cube the grouse breasts into 1" cubes.  Make sure they are clean and all approximately the same size cubes.  Notice the colour of the above photo.  The dark coloured meat is from Spruce Grouse and the lighter coloured meat is from Ruffed Grouse.

 2)  On high heat and with a few tablespoons of oil, saute the diced onion until translucent and starting to brown.  Add garlic to taste if available. 

 3) Add the cubed grouse and brown.

4) Add the curry/butter chicken/korma sauce and coconut milk.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

5) Serve over rice or potatoes.

One of the cool things about this dish is that you get to taste many different grouse.  Each bite is different.  A few friends have remarked that it has changed their opinion of Spruce Grouse and their flavour when served like this.  You'll notice the difference between species, but it will be interesting rather than overwhelming. 



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