Where buffalo roam

 Winchester, the once-living mascot for The Gun Barrel, an essential stop for many tourists wanting game in Jackson.

Winchester, the once-living mascot for The Gun Barrel, an essential stop for many tourists wanting game in Jackson. (Josh Noel, Chicago Tribune)

You will therefore not see a restaurant in Jackson that encourages cooking game beyond medium rare.

"If you cook it past medium rare, you're cooking the flavor out of it," Koenig said. "You'll hear city folk say game meat is always tough or has bad flavor. That's because it was overcooked."

Indeed, during three days of eating game I always told the server to bring the meat cooked to the chef's recommendation. There were very few disappointing meals. The disappointment came when I encountered a menu without game. I can't imagine red curry elk at Jackson's Thai place can be that far away.

Get your game on

Five Jackson restaurants to check out for game* and beyond:

Snake River Grill (84 E. Broadway, 307-733-0557, snakerivergrill.com) — Maybe the most beloved restaurant in town by locals and tourists alike. Eat: cast-iron roasted elk chop

Local (55 N. Cache St., 307-201-1717, localjh.com) — Sleek, new "modern steakhouse" across from the town square is off to a strong start. Eat: seared elk medallions

Lotus Cafe (145 N. Glenwood St., 307-734-0882, tetonlotuscafe.com) — Fresh, creative and organic, full of locals and a menu with many vegetarian options. Eat: bison tacos

The Kitchen (155 N. Glenwood St., 307-734-1633, thekitchenjacksonhole.com) — "Refined yet casual" spot that's part of a well-regarded restaurant group. Eat: pan-seared red deer.

Snake River Brewing (265 S. Millward St., 307-739-2337, snakeriverbrewing.com) — After a long day of hiking or skiing, what could be better than a barbecue elk burger and fresh, local beer? (The Zonker stout is world-class.) Eat: barbecue elk burger

Many menus rotate, so game option could be different.

jbnoel@tribune.com

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