Gentlemen, though I have not eaten Muskox meat I have eaten wild meat all my life of 74 years, and there are many things that can make a piece of meat tough, or taste strong, and most times it is the way the meat was handled before being cooked, not as much how it was cooked.
Assuming the hunters were careful with cleaning the knife of any musk, before cuting into the meat the problem may have been the other things needed in the care of the meat!
contrary to popular belief, red meat in extremely cold country is hard to care for , for the best flavor. The reason is, it is usually frozen, too quickly,by the weather and not allowed to age properly. Meat needs to hang at around 40 degrees for about five days before cocking, or freezing to allow the enzimes to break the meat down. If meat is cooked too fresh it will most time be tough, and the flavor will be far stronger and will somtimes cause diarrhea!
In this case I believe it was a combination of the meat being too fresh, and the gravy had most likely been frozen in the can, and then thawed and was bad giving the diners a double dose of bad taste!
I have never eaten it so I can't speak from first hand knowledge, BUT I have read numerous accounts of it being the staple for the artic explorers.
Danish explorer Peter Freuchen who was with teh first party to cross the Greenland glacier was snow bound with nothing to eat but musk ox for weeks. At one point after days of nothing but musk ox he asked his travelling companion what they would like to eat best out of all the things in the world and the answer was "it might as well be a piece of musk ox"
None of his books mention any bad flavor or ill effects from eating it, or seal, or caribou, etc.
It is just mentioned as welcome game to fill the belly and to be thankful for.
I was unexpectadly stranded on an island for 5 days by high seas while hunting Muskox. Shot 1 on the second day and lived on it, along with raumen noodles the whole time. It was tasting great!! But then so were the raumen noodles..
The guides mentioned though that the old bulls were not a favortie. The raw dried carribou was really excellent though!!!
There is never a surprise at what taste good when that is all that there is to eat. While I haven't been there as far as a musk ox is concerned I have been in other situations when a bunch of black ants roasted over a open fire on a rock tasted better than any T bone steak could of.
Okay guys, I'll be the first to admit that I am a picky eater. Though I've lived in AK my entire life, had a father who was a very avid hunter, and ate a LOT of moose meat growing up, I still have to mentally "coach" myself that game meat is a good thing. And logically, I know it is.
That said, my fiance recently went on a musk ox hunt and got a relatively young bull. The first time he offered me some meat, I had already eaten and could gracefully decline ;-). Last night, I knew that I had to try it, and had noted that it smelled pretty good when he was cooking it (a steak). I tried it and was pleasantly surprised that it really didn't have a "gamey" taste at all. We have a freezer full of caribou, which I am not particularly fond of. He also occasionally has some venison, which I don't eat.
So, just a very long post to say that if I am actually looking forward to eating musk ox again, I am guessing that most of you would no have any problem with it whatsoever. Really, it must have been the gravy...
Out here in Colorado, and in the units that I haunt, it is a tricky game to figure out how far to pack in on a rifle hunt. You want to get away from the masses that have moved game away from the roads but might want to stay close enough that you are taking advantage of the animals forced movements. There is no universal distance but I like the 1.5 to 4 mile range for day hunts where I am not planning on bivying out. This keeps you in that productive buffer zone where the animals are really...