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  • April 23, 2014

    Don’t Forget to Save the Turkey Legs

    By David Draper

    I know many folks (including F&S deputy editor Colin Kearns) have already hung their tags on some turkey legs, but much of the country’s hunters are just hitting the peak of turkey season. This makes it the perfect time for my annual soapbox speech on saving the leg quarters from your turkey. I know so many hunters just pull the breasts from their birds and call it good, but that technique, which has sadly become culturally acceptable, leaves a lot of meat behind.

    Good meat at that.

  • April 16, 2014

    Wild Game Recipe: Try a Pickle Juice Brine

    By David Draper

    Like a lot of game meats, wild turkey gets a bad rap for being difficult to cook. Much of this negative reputation comes from the tendency of hunters to overcook their meat, but I’ll admit cooking any wild bird does come with a challenge. Wild turkey meat has a tendency to dry out quickly when subjected to high heat due to the limited amount of fat these birds develop. As I’ve written about recently, marinades don’t add moisture to meat like most people think they do. However, there is a technique that all but guarantees a moister end product, whether you roast, grill or fry your turkey – brining.

  • 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 14, 2014

    Smoking Snow Geese with Wild Sky Seasonings

    By David Draper

    I’ve been on a few snow goose hunts over the last couple of weeks and invariably, when I bring this up in casual conversation, someone asks, “What in the hell do you do with all those things?” First off, as an aspiring snow goose hunter, you have to manage your expectations. Sure, there are occasions when you can kill 100 or even 200 geese, but more often not, a day of hunting yields numbers well south of the century mark. Still, even 30 or 40 snows are a lot to deal with. The meat can be a bit challenging to work with, especially when the average age of a snow is 10 years, with birds upwards of 20 years old not uncommon.

  • 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.

  • March 7, 2014

    Food Fight Friday: The Last Supper

    By David Draper

    When Field & Stream Deputy Editor Colin Kearns suggested a weekly post pitting food photo against food photo, I never thought it would make a successful three-year run, but that’s just what happened. Each week since April 1, 2011, a few Field & Stream staff members—and lots of loyal Wild Chef readers—have raised their hands when I asked the question:

    “Who wants to fight?”

    We had many epic battles among Wild Chef readers. MaxPower, SMC1986, Levi Banks, KoldKut, and Neil Selbicky, among others, regularly showed their chops in the kitchen or on the grill, and continually inspired me with new ideas about cooking wild game. Along the way we learned there were few keys to victory, what I called the Three B’s: backstrap, bacon and beer. If a picture featured one of those three things, it was likely to win. If it happened to have all three, the photo was a lock.

  • 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.

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