What Wild Chef reader out there hasn’t driven past a road-killed deer and thought, if only briefly, about stopping to pull out the backstraps? I’ll admit I’ve thought about it, though I have not yet brought myself to actually skinning one on the side of the road. Several states have laws on the books regarding salvaging road-killed animals, and now Montana has joined them:
Montana may now be the ultimate drive-through destination for adventurous foodies thanks to a new law that allows residents to consume any animals they kill. The bill, which passed 19-2, allows deer, elk, moose and antelope that have been killed by a car to be harvested for food.
A friend and I were talking about food the other day when he asked me, “Do you remember Old English?” Me being me, I immediately thought he was talking about Olde English 800, that high-test malt liquor we swilled when we were young and didn’t know any better. After some back and forth, I figured out he was talking about the processed cheese food sold by Kraft in what my friend so aptly described as “jelly jars.” Once the fog induced by too many 40-ounce bottles of Olde English cleared away, I did remember that particular Old English, as well its companion Pimento cheese spread.
Last week, I spent a few days at Willow Oaks Plantation near Madison, N.C., testing the new Sportsman version of Remington’s Versamax shotgun. The testing protocol included swinging the shotgun at running rabbits being hounded by a pack of howling beagles. This was my first beagles-and-bunnies experience, and I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun in the woods. No pressure trying to kill the biggest rack. No worries about scent or sound. And, if you miss, there’s a good chance the dogs will run the rabbit by you again. As one of the more experienced rabbit hunters remarked, “This is the way hunting is supposed to be.”
This dish, a riff on an ancient Chinese method for cooking fish in which the flavor of steamed whole fish is turbocharged by a drizzling of smoking-hot, skin-crisping oil, is great at home, but even better on the beach after a muscular day of surfcasting. All you need, besides a campfire, is a wok with a lid, a heatproof plate, an oven mitt, and a few packable garnishes. Any whole fish will do, so long as it’ll fit inside the wok.
The perfect way for an angler who loves to cook to show off his fish is serving it whole, fresh off the grill, with crispy skin and moist flesh. Problem is, that’s not usually how it happens. Here is how to grill a whole fish so it’s juicy, smoky, and beautifully intact.
Here’s a primitive but fantastic way, from Finland, to “grill” a fish: Butterfly it, then nail it to a board and cook it by the reflected heat of a campfire. The meat derives flavor from the woodsmoke as well as the blistering, blackening board onto which it’s nailed. Even better: no pan to clean.
Pickled pike is a classic North Country treat, but it also boasts a practical aspect: the acid in the vinegar dissolves the dread “Y-bones” that make filleting pike such a chore. (For boneless trout or walleye fillets, you can skip the soaking in step one.) Pickled pike is fantastic served on toasted rye bread, with a dab of butter, but it’s equally good on some Ritz crackers accompanied by an ice-cold can of Old Milwaukee. One thing to note: Due to tapeworm concerns, it’s best to use pike that’s been frozen for at least 48 hours.
If you're trout fishing in the lochs of Scotland, your catch may end up like this: batter-crusted with that ubiquitous Scottish staple, oats; and served beside a generous mound of stovies, Scottish slang for stove-roasted potatoes. Round it off with a beverage of your choice to make your British Isles fish fry complete.
Melt Bar & Grilled, in the Cleveland suburbs of Lakewood and Cleveland Heights, has one specialty: grilled-cheese sandwiches. The menu presence of 26 variations on that humble childhood favorite—there’s even one stuffed with lasagna—is just one indicator of how far and wide owner Matt Fish is willing to take a grilled-cheese. Another: the Lake Erie Monster, in which a Guinness-battered walleye fillet is swamped in a gleeful mess of melted American cheese, jammed between thick slices of toast, and served with jalapeño-spiked tartar sauce. This is fish camp cuisine taken to its belt-loosening outer limits.