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  • April 11, 2014

    Stop Using Bacon. Seriously.

    By David Draper

    Of all the game-cooking myths and missteps I preach about, telling readers to stop using bacon is the most likely to start fights. Bacon is so popular and universally loved that I’m almost scared to bring it up because I’ll alienate all my readers, but it’s worth talking about, if only briefly.

    Ever eat duck breast wrapped in bacon? Or bacon-wrapped dove? Or anything game covered in bacon? What does it taste like?

    That’s right, bacon.

  • April 7, 2014

    All That Remains: How to Make Game Stock

    By David Draper

    One thing you can do to amp your kitchen credibility quickly is learning to make stock—a flavorful cooking liquid that forms the base of many soups, sauces, and other recipes. Making homemade stock from venison bones or bird carcasses not only give your favorite dishes, such as the duck pho in the photo, a flavor boost, but you’ll be get every last scrap of use from your bird or game animal.

  • March 21, 2014

    Wild Game Recipe: How Marinades Really Work

    By David Draper

    For some reason, the go-to recipe for wild-game always starts with “Soak (insert game meat here) in Italian dressing for three days.” Seriously, how many times have you heard a hunter say this? This statement turned me off marinades for a long time and I have often mentioned on this blog I don’t use marinades. My stance on marinades has softened as I’ve come to value them for their ability to enhance the taste of wild game.

    One argument for using marinades is that they help tenderize tough meat. But this is probably the biggest misconception about using marinades, at least if you believe in science. According to a study done by Fine Cooking magazine, acidic marinades may, in fact, make meat tougher:

  • March 17, 2014

    Wild Game Recipe: 7 Secrets to the Best Corned Beef Hash Ever

    By David Draper

    It’s hard to say which I like better: a big meal of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, or that day-after cure of corned beef hash and eggs. Both are among my favorite meals of the year, but only the latter has the ability to put a high point on what is normally a rough morning. But there’s more to corned beef hash than mixing together meat and potatoes and frying it in a hot skillet. Here are seven of my hard-won secrets to creating the best corned beef hash you’ve ever tasted.

    You can also make a great St. Patrick’s Day (or anytime of year) meal by substituting venison roast or even goose breasts for beef brisket when making corned beef. You can find my recipe for corned goose here.

  • March 10, 2014

    What's the Strangest Thing You've Ever Eaten?

    By David Draper

    A few weeks ago I was up in Milwaukee, speaking about food at the 2014 Pheasant Fest. I ate plenty of good food while I was there, and had a couple beers of course, but by far and away the best meal I had was at Hinterland. I can’t recommend it enough. Along with Hank Shaw and several friends from Pheasants Forever, we were lucky enough to secure the chef’s table, and gave ourselves to the whims of Chef Dan Van Rite and the rest of his staff.

    After an initial appetizer of roasted Brussels sprouts, I don’t think we saw another vegetable for about eight, or maybe nine, courses. Instead, we got salami, beef heart tartare, oysters, elk loin and I don’t even remember what else. It was all amazing and by the end I was in physical pain from the food, drink, and laughter we enjoyed over several hours.

    One thing I did not get while I was there, but was featured on the menu, was the Pan Seared Duck Testes.

  • February 26, 2014

    Wild Game Recipe: How to Make Bearchetta

    By David Draper

    By way of this serendipitous life I lead, I found myself with both a black bear loin and a couple pieces of wild pork belly in my freezer at the same time. As I was trying to come up with some type of idea for how to cook each of them separately I had a revelation – why not cook them together, in the style of porchetta, a classic Italian preparation for pork belly and pork loin. In coming up with a name for this bear and pig combo I wanted to go with boarchetta, but it didn’t quite work since both the bear and wild pig were of the female persuasion.

    There are two keys to pulling off this recipe. One, make sure the pork belly is dry before roasting to get a good, crisp skin. It also wouldn’t hurt to pound it a bit to tenderize it. The second is to monitor the internal temperature closely.

    Roasting times will vary greatly depending on how big the bear loin is, so keep a close eye on things to make sure the roast doesn’t get too dry.

  • February 19, 2014

    5 Tips for Better Braising

    By David Draper

    Sometimes, when I mention the word “braising,” people look at me all quizzically—like I’m talking about some fancy, foreign cooking technique. Nothing could be further from the truth. Braising is the very simple act of cooking something—generally meat—at a low temperature under moist heat for a long period of time.

    Sounds a lot like cooking in a Crock-Pot, doesn’t it?

    In fact, anytime you’re using a slow-cooker, whether making a pot roast, stew, cacciatore, or any number of other low-and-slow recipes, you’re braising. You can also braise in a heavy-duty pot on the stovetop or in the oven.

  • February 7, 2014

    Food Fight Friday: Antelope Fajitas vs. Cast-Iron Grouse

    By David Draper

    For outdoorsmen and women in much of the country, February is a downtime, a chance to take a breather after the flurry of hunting the past few months and before the fish start biting and the turkeys start gobbling. It’s also a great time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. February is when I do much of my sausage making and experimenting in the kitchen with the spoils hunting season has delivered. Thankfully I get a lot of inspiration from Wild Chef readers sending in photos for each week’s Food Fight. For that, I thank each of you and encourage anyone who hasn’t submitted a photo to make it their mission to do so this month. Snap a photo of your next fish or game meal and send it, along with a short description, to

    Now, on to this week’s Food Fight...

  • February 5, 2014

    Cooking Wild Game: The Most Common Mistakes

    By David Draper

    CC image from Flickr

    In case you haven’t heard, I’ll be appearing at the upcoming Pheasant Fest in Milwaukee next weekend, Feb. 14-16. Throughout the three-day game bird extravaganza, I, along with Hank Shaw and Tovar Cerulli, will be presenting seminars on wild-game cooking. If you’re in the area, or are nearby, I’d encourage you to stop by — and if you happen to see me or are able to attend a seminar, be sure to say hello. A complete schedule of the event can be found here.

  • February 3, 2014

    How to Smoke Wild Boar Ribs

    By David Draper

    Although my Broncos-loving friends weren’t so happy with how the Super Bowl turned out, they all agreed that our spread of food last night was world-championship worthy. All of the classics were represented, including wings and meatballs and a few varieties of cheese dip. A big pot of taco soup was a hit, as were my girlfriend’s chocolate sugar puff cookies. My contribution was this overflowing pan of pork, featuring ribs from both wild and domestic pigs. I didn’t figure the two slabs of skinny wild ribs (shown on the left in the picture) would be enough for this crowd, so I included a fatty slab of St. Louis style pork ribs, also hedging my bet a bit in case the wild ribs weren’t up to par. Somewhat surprisingly, between the two, the wild pig was by far the winner in the taste test.

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