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  • October 31, 2011

    Wild Side: Mashed Pumpkin

    By David Draper

    Sure mashed potatoes are the standard side dish for a big, fat venison steak or deer roast, but with Thanksgiving just around the corner, why not try a couple of ingredients that offer up some autumn flavors? Somewhat surprisingly, pumpkin and allspice make a great compliment to venison, and while you can pair them a number of ways, an easy mashed pumpkin side dish just might be the best.

    *When buying (or growing) a pumpkin for this dish, try to avoid jack-o-lantern type pumpkins which generally have a thinner flesh. Look for pumpkin pie or cheese pumpkins at your local market.

  • October 28, 2011

    Food Fight Friday: Turkey Chili Cookoff

    By David Draper

    Levi’s Campfire Turkey Chili vs. Draper’s Turkey Chili

    This week’s Food Fight Friday will continue with the wild turkey theme we started back on Monday with our Stuffed Turkey Recipe. Today’s photos highlight one of the great ways to cook up a wild turkey breast—a classic white chili. In the Food Fight, I’ll be going up against a submission from Wild Chef reader and frequent commenter Levi Banks, who sent over a selection of great wild game photos that we’ll be featuring here in the coming weeks.

  • October 26, 2011

    Deer Hunters Can Help Feed the Hungry

    By David Draper

    Judging by the number of deer tags in my wallet, 2011 could result in an over-abundance of venison in my house this coming winter. Here in Nebraska, an aggressive deer management program has blessed hunters in many units with bonus antlerless tags. Personally, I have six deer tags to fill in the coming weeks, and that doesn’t include my Illinois archery license.

    Now, I love wild game, probably more than most people, and I’m a bit of a meat hoarder, measuring the success of my season not in antler inches, but in pounds of venison in the freezer. But even I am going to be overwhelmed should I luck into tagging six deer this year. That’s why I signed up for Nebraska’s Deer Exchange Program, a database that matches hunters with people willing to take deer meat.

  • October 24, 2011

    Recipe: Stuffed Turkey Breast

    By David Draper

    It seems like everyone is going deer crazy about this time of year, which to me means it’s a perfect time to go turkey hunting. I spent a few days last week in New York doing just that at Turkey Trot Acres, where owner Pete Clare is famous for popularizing the use of Byrne’s turkey dogs to bust up fall flocks. Pete’s wife Sherry is equally famous for feeding their guests well and she passed along this recipe for stuffed turkey breasts.

    Turkey Trot Acres Stuffed Turkey Breasts


    2 Tbsp. butter
    ½ onion, diced
    1-2 celery stalks, diced
    1 tsp. poultry seasoning
    2 cups bread cubes
    Chicken broth
    ½ cup raisins
    1 apple, cubed
    Salt and pepper

  • October 21, 2011

    Food Fight Friday: Soup and Sandwich Battle

    By David Draper and Colin Kearns

    Colin's Cardinal Dog   Vs.   T. Rebel's Pheasant and Noodles

    Not sure what it is about soup and a sandwich that makes the perfect mid-day (or really, any time of day) meal. For me, it’s all about the warm, hearty broth at the bottom of the bowl sopped up with the last of the sandwich. While this delicious combo is hard to beat on cool, autumn day, we’re going to make you choose one or the other this week as we do a head-to-head with F&S deputy editor and sandwich connoisseur, Colin Kearns, and Wild Chef reader (who also happens to be my girlfriend), T. Rebel.

  • October 19, 2011

    What to Do with Venison Scraps? Make Some Chislic

    By David Draper

    Unless you’re a resident of South Dakota, or maybe found yourself in a dive bar there during pheasant season, you’ve probably never heard of chislic—a culinary peculiarity rarely found outside the state. Within South Dakota’s borders, chislic, which is cubes of meat fried in oil and served with a bottle of Tabasco and some crackers, is as ubiquitous as billboards touting the Rushmore Borglum story or proffers of free ice water from Wall Drug.

    During deer season, drive the back streets of any South Dakota small town and you’ll likely come across a group of guys gathered around a deer hanging in a garage. While one wields a knife on the carcass, his buddies stand around offering encouragement, advice, and bald-face exaggerations about each of their respective hunting abilities. There will definitely be a cooler of beer at hand—maybe Grain Belt, but probably more likely Bud Light, as well as a pot of bubbling oil.

  • October 17, 2011

    What’s Your Best GORP Recipe?

    By David Draper

    One of my favorite go-to snack foods, along with goose jerky, is GORP—or “trail mix” as the kids call it these days. For you younger readers who didn’t grow up with a subscription to Boy’s Life, GORP stands for Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts, which does leave out the third critical ingredient of a well-balanced blend—M&Ms.

    It’s hard to beat a handful of the stuff when the hunger pangs hit. Just a few bites gives you a burst of sweet and salty energy to push up and over the next peak or keep you alert on stand. I once packed a (I swear) five-pound, gallon-size bag of GORP into elk camp and it was worth every ounce—especially to my hunting partner who probably ate at least half of it during the hunt.

  • October 14, 2011

    Food Fight Friday: Reader Faceoff

    By Colin Kearns

    This week we’re feature two Wild Chef readers facing off with a couple of delicious looking food photos. It’s a tough call on who’s going to win this one, as they both look fantastic. On the one hand, tacos are a personal favorite of mine, so maybe Andrew gets the nod. On the other hand, Michael from Texas hits a trifecta with elk in sausage form, served with beer at a college football game. I just can’t decide, so it’s up to you guys to pick a winner.

    Andrew's Chile Colorado


    Michael's Elk Sausage

  • October 12, 2011

    Recipe: Game Day Goose Bits

    By David Draper

    Last Saturday, I was just about to call the season a wash and give up on my second favorite thing to do in the fall—watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers play. Sure the Wisconsin game was ugly, but it wasn’t totally unexpected. But when we went down by 21 points at the half against a struggling Ohio State team, I had all but given up. Then, like the cruel mistress she is, the Huskers sucked me back in…at least until we play Michigan in a few weeks. Heck, the way we’ve been playing, I’m not even going to take Minnesota lightly.

    I know a few of you readers out there are college football fans as well. Hopefully your team hasn’t caused you the same level as heartburn my beloved Big Red has caused me. But no matter win or lose, or even how they played the game, there’s always a reason to tailgate. If you have some goose (or duck) breasts in your freezer (or better yet, fresh), I wanted to remind you about this recipe I first wrote about last January that makes the ideal pre-game appetizer.

  • October 10, 2011

    What's The Most Delicious Thing You’ve Ever Eaten?

    By David Draper

    About a week or so ago, the New York Times Magazine published their annual Food & Drink Issue, which took the form of a series of questions and answers about food, drink, dining, etiquette, and more. While some of it was stereotypically pedantic and elitist as only the Times can be, the issue includes enough entertainment and information to make it well worth a thorough read.

    Among the best Q&As, was an article by noted food-writer Bill Buford answering the question “What’s the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten?” For Buford, it was a taste of warm pig’s blood, drunk from a ladle immediately after butchering a hog. While a cup of blood doesn’t sound particularly delicious, Buford’s description of the events leading up to the meal and the taste as “…ridiculously vital, as rich as it was vibrantly red, and weirdly, unapologetically full of health,” is as good as food writing should be. It also got me thinking about the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.

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