6 Best Exotic Muscle-Building Meat Options

Here are six exotic meats that, when consumed as an alternative to the staples of chicken, tuna and beef, will help build slabs of granite-dense muscle!

By Matthew Kadey MS RD | March 15, 2013



If you lament the bland flavor of burgers and steaks from factory-farm beef, it’s time to hoof it over to your local butcher for some bison. With a slightly sweet, robust flavor bison (aka buffalo) is stock-piled with protein — about 36 grams in a 6-ounce serving. Bonus: Unlike most cattle bison is not pumped full of growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics.


Loaded with iron, testosterone-boosting zinc and protein, farm-raised elk meat tastes mildly sweet, much like bison. Look for it as steaks, ground meat and pepperettes, the last of which makes for a protein-packed snack-on-the-go. Like all game elk can handle a lot of big flavors so try it in stews and chili.

Related: Beyond The Breast

Arctic Char

Casting your line for this northern swimmer is a surefire way to reel in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two superstar omega-3 fats shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Astaxanthin, the antioxidant responsible for the pink hue of char, may bolster immune defense. That’s good news for bodybuilders who train like animals. Substitute char for salmon in your favorite recipes.


Venison — deer, in laymen’s terms — has an excellent woody, fruity flavor with a tender texture. Its stellar 9-to-1 protein-to-fat ratio makes it about as lean as chicken breast. As with all lean game meat, take care not to overcook venison; otherwise, you’ll end up with meat that’s as hard as Metallica’s early years.


We’ve got no beef with chicken, but as a feathered red-meat alternative, ostrich is a serious heavyweight. It even has that same crimson glow and meaty texture as steak, but is often much leaner. With only 4 grams of fat in a 6-ounce serving ostrich boasts 36 grams of protein. As a red meat it also supplies creatine to help power up your bodybuilding.


Gnawing on Bugs Bunny helps you load up on protein, the potent antioxidant selenium and vitamin B12. Your growing muscles crave vitamin B12 since it’s required for proper muscle cell synthesis. Rabbit is low in fat calories with a mild flavor. For ease of preparation have your butcher section a whole rabbit. Then add the cubes to casseroles, chili, soups and stews.

About the Author

Matthew Kadey MS RD