If you’ve had a chance to flip through the June issue of Field & Stream, you might have seen a short piece I wrote titled “The Sweet Life,” detailing some simple dessert ideas from Steve McGrath over at Camp Chef. Of the three sweet treats listed, the Dutch Oven Dump Cobbler is the real crowd pleaser, according to McGrath. But his personal favorite didn’t make it into print.
McGrath, who freely admits to having an insatiable sweet tooth, loves his deep-fried Oreos and regularly whips up a batch whenever he’s camp cook. To me, that sounds like a combination of a cavity and heart attack in the making, but he swears by the things. I will admit, they are simple to make and, if you’re feeding a pack of hungry kids, are just the thing to top off a camp-cooked meal. Here’s how to make them.
You, and all my friends, are going to be sick of hearing this, but did I mention that I recently spent a couple of weeks in Turkey? This trip is going to make up my main conversational fodder for the rest of the summer, with much of it focusing on what I ate — some of which was good and some of which was not the best decision. Of the former, the seafood stands out as highlights of the trip. I’ll say this, Turkish people know their fish, which isn’t a surprise considering that waterways like the Bosphorus Strait define their country. Here are a couple of dishes I encountered.
I've been traveling through Turkey for the past couple of weeks, both in Istanbul and along the Mediterranean coast. Most of my time was spent doing lots of “research” a.k.a. eating, and if there's one thing I took away from all this hard work it's that Turkey is a street-food country. Everywhere I traveled, there was someone on a street corner selling something to eat, whether it be roasted corn or chestnuts, simit (sort of like a sesame-encrusted bagel), rice-stuffed mussels, fresh melon, or, like most places in Europe, some type of grilled or roasted meat on a skewer.
I’ve run into many hunters, even those who love and live on game meat—except they don’t like venison burgers. “Too dry,” they say. Or, “Won’t stick together.” I’ve even heard grown men who will wolf down a deer steak say that ground venison, pressed and pattied, is “too gamey.”
Humanitarian that I am, and goodwill ambassador of game meat, I’d like to enlighten those poor people who are missing out on one of summer’s best meals: a deer burger cooked over open flame. And I’d like your help. Give me your best tip or secret ingredient for making venison burgers that stick together and taste great. I’ll sort through them and pick a couple of winners.
Although both of these dishes were cooked within the last week or so, stylistically they’re of two very different seasons. The first, a hearty braise of venison shanks, reminds me of winter, when roasting meats is the affair of long days trapped inside. In the second, that icon of April—the wild turkey—is prepared simply and quickly. Served with asparagus and mushrooms, it’s just the thing to get you in the mood for spring.
Back in college, I spent one of my first federal student-aid checks on camping gear. I bet I could make a pretty convincing argument that spending the money on outdoor equipment was a better investment than paying my tuition. Or, at least, that’s how I rationalized it at the time. I will say, much of what I learned in college has been long forgotten, but I still use some of the gear today, including my trusty Coleman Dual Fuel 2-Burner Stove.
As obsessed with (and frankly, terrified of) a nuclear disaster as I was when I was young, the whole doomsday madness going on today has pretty much passed me by. Maybe living within sight of an ICBM bunker, one gets used to having an ever-present harbinger of the End Times in your backyard. That, or I’m just too busy to care. Still, there is one thing Wild Chef readers and doomsday preppers have in common: a perhaps unhealthy obsession with food.
The real problem I have with the preppers is the kinds of food they’re putting up. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where I have to eat white rice and something called textured soy protein every day. And what about working your way through a three-month supply of Rice-a-Roni? That thought alone is enough to make me hope my house takes a direct hit from the first Russian SCARP (which, considering the Minuteman missile buried across the road, is not that unlikely).
Everyone must be catching fishing fever as we got two submissions featuring finned fare for this Friday’s Food Fight. The first comes from Wild Chef reader Split 484, who sent in a great looking photo of some smoked trout and killer accompaniments. Deputy editor Colin Kearns also passed along a fish-themed food photo of a batch of halibut ceviche. Both look so good, I can’t decide who should win, so I’m leaving it up to you.
Last Friday’s Food Fight featured a couple of great-looking fish dishes, including a fish stew from my good friend Chris Ellis. Now, some folks might think the words “fish” and “stew” don’t go together, but I’ve eaten enough cioppino—a wine-based seafood stew—to know the pairing can be incredible.
Also, for a former river rat and affirmed West Virginia hill jack, Chris has some pretty good chops in the kitchen and he’s been on a big soup kick lately. Luckily, he agreed to share his recipe with Wild Chef readers.
I know for many Wild Chef readers every season is grilling season, but the rest of the world is just now getting fired up to grill. Cooking over coals (or propane if you must) doesn’t just happen at home; summer also means grilling in the great outdoors. Whether you’re putting the fire to fish, wild game, or tamer fare, either at home or away, here are five tips for safer grilling this summer.
1. If you’re picnicking, pack along a minimum of three gallons of clean water. When handling raw meat, you’ll need to wash your hands, and utensils, regularly -- and you can’t always count on having water handy in the woods. Make sure to have plenty of paper towels, extra dishcloths, or moist towelettes along as well.