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Best Ways to Use Maple Syrup for Wild Fish and Game

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December 05, 2012

Best Ways to Use Maple Syrup for Wild Fish and Game

By David Draper

The higher ups at my former corporate job in the Human Resource department—in a misguided attempt to boost morale (that actually pretty much did just the opposite)—would call my coworkers and I into a big room each year and preach to us about our “hidden paycheck.” This was the term they used to talk about health insurance, retirement programs, and all the other benefits they provided outside our normal salary. One particular HR director (who, curiously, no longer works there) also included things like the horrible coffee and stale popcorn available in the break rooms as part of our hidden paycheck. Not surprisingly, those two words quickly became the standard meme in the building when referring to anything from toilet paper to Post-It Notes.

Well, here at my current job, I have hidden paychecks, too. In fact, we freelance writers have to live for the perks since we’re certainly not in this business for the money. As a guy who writes about food (among other things), I reap some pretty cool benefits (neither health insurance nor a retirement plan among them). There was that box of nut butter Justin’s sent me after they read my blog praising their products a few weeks back. 

Last year about this time, a couple bottles of Wild Turkey showed up on my door. And I once was invited to judge the Jack Daniels World Barbeque Championships, which, crushingly, I couldn’t attend.

The best perks, however, are the ones I get from friends. Field & Stream’s own Colin Kearns hooks me up from time to time with cool stuff, like homemade apple bitters (which takes both my whiskey and gin drinks to whole new levels) and sea salt hand-carried by Colin from France. I also on occasion swap my internationally renowned goose jerky for authentic Appalachian moonshine. But one of the tastiest treats I received lately is a half-gallon jar of pure Wisconsin maple syrup that Josh Dahlke, a Web editor at North American Hunter, sent my way.

This is like no syrup I’ve ever tasted, which admittedly has been pretty limited to Log Cabin, Aunt Jemima, and whatever inhabits the tables of late-night diners across the country. We don’t have many maple trees in Nebraska, hence no tapping tradition. So when I cracked the lid on this jug and took a spoonful, I was blown away by the not-so-subtle flavor of perfectly balanced sugar and smoke.

My problem is I think the Northwoods nectar is almost too good for flapjacks and I want to be sure I’m taking full advantage of this particular hidden paycheck. So I’m looking for a little help from Wild Chef readers who might be a bit more experienced in this realm. What’s the best way to incorporate maple syrup into my fish and wild game cooking?

Comments (16)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Levi Banks wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

A glaze for some grilled wild turkey, pheasant, trout or salmon would be delicious. I'm not sure how it would be with red meat. I think it could work, off the top of my head nothing's coming to mind though. Real maple syrup on pancakes will make that HFCS stuff taste terrible, so be careful if you cross that bridge, at least in the lower states real maple syrup is pretty pricey.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I'm thinking a nice glaze for a roasted (young, you hope) goose or duck.I think these birds do well with semi-sweet flavors. I will use a orange-honey or apple-maple on wildfowl. As I'm reading this I'm reminded of your honey-bacon sprouts.You certainly can plug in maple syrup instead of honey.I know wild pork will benefit from maple as well.Do tell all when you decide,you were given quite a treat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattM37 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Well, first you should put the cap on that Wisconsin bottle and get yourself some real New York maple syrup. (I'd send you some, but even when you live down the road from the guy who made it, it's awful pricey). Then pan-sear some grouse breast medallions, with lots of butter-basting, and drizzle the syrup on after plating. A crusty loaf of old-fashioned mountain man bannock makes a nice side, and of course something else to drizzle the syrup on.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from maynardtl8 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I have a simple and delicious recipe for coho salmon filets. Take 6 filets with skin and season with coarse ground black pepper and sea salt. Then in a separate bowl mix 1/3 cup maple syrup, 2 TBsp honey, and 2 TBsp fresh squeezed lemon juice and some freshly chopped dill. Grill the filets on high heat over charcoal and wood chips and glaze the fish with the mix. Serve and drizzle with the left over glaze.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

The problem with that acknowledgement is by welcoming all those freebies, poor product reviews are provided, or at best biased reviews are provided. All products get very favorable reviews being the trade off for the freebies is a good product review. Free trips to lodges always get favorable reviews when they often disappoint the paying consumer, etc., etc.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BigJim wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I've used it mixed with Dijon mustard on cedar plank salmon and baked quail.

And though not fish or game, one of my favorite uses for real maple syrup is the pecan pie recipe from The Lost Art of Real Cooking.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I like the notion of barbaqueing with the skin left on, and placed skin down, and garnishments on top..meat stays moist, and you can even provide a smoked flavor. Remove the skin when done.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

If I had that half gallon it would be used for my pancakes. I want to enjoy the full flavor and richness of the syrup and pancakes is the only way to do that.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Methinks a quick panfried chop of any kind would benefit from a quick pan deglazing, a table spoon or two of that syrup tossed in the pan, and some red pepper flakes for a heat note.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

It makes a helluva "Old Fashioned" that pairs well with grilled "insert wildgame choice".

2 oz. bourbon whiskey
1/2 oz. maple syrup
Slice of orange or cube up an apple
Dash of bitters

It also makes a great BBQ sauce.

6oz. Tomato paste
1 cup maple syrup
1/8 - 1/4C white vinegar.
1 tablespoon +/-(depending on taste preference)
Chili,Onion,Garlic powder
Salt (hickory smoked if possible)
add liquid smoke if need be.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Make your own maple flavored bacon. You could use the belly of a domestic pig, or go out and tag yourself a feral hog. When you smoke that maple flavored pork belly it is going to kick it up another notch!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

If you make the said bacon above, you can use some bear fat (a la Steven Rinella) and make yourself a nice donut, incorporate the maple syrup in to some icing and throw that on top of the donut and top with said piece of maple bacon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pechorin77 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Rocks Glass
3 Cubes
Healthy pour of Rye
Maple syrup to taste

I'd also say that it won't be wasted on pancakes or waffles.

And using it as a glaze on a roast pheasant is a damn nice use as well./

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

This conversation has got me thinking, and not just about drinking. Seems like ruffed grouse is the perfect vehicle for a maple glaze. Guess I need to plan a trip to the Northwoods.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Replace the honey in your brussel spout recipe.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from COtroutBum wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

next time you make breakfast sausage mix some in with a touch of good quality bacon and blueberries.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Double D wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

This conversation has got me thinking, and not just about drinking. Seems like ruffed grouse is the perfect vehicle for a maple glaze. Guess I need to plan a trip to the Northwoods.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Levi Banks wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

A glaze for some grilled wild turkey, pheasant, trout or salmon would be delicious. I'm not sure how it would be with red meat. I think it could work, off the top of my head nothing's coming to mind though. Real maple syrup on pancakes will make that HFCS stuff taste terrible, so be careful if you cross that bridge, at least in the lower states real maple syrup is pretty pricey.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I'm thinking a nice glaze for a roasted (young, you hope) goose or duck.I think these birds do well with semi-sweet flavors. I will use a orange-honey or apple-maple on wildfowl. As I'm reading this I'm reminded of your honey-bacon sprouts.You certainly can plug in maple syrup instead of honey.I know wild pork will benefit from maple as well.Do tell all when you decide,you were given quite a treat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from maynardtl8 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I have a simple and delicious recipe for coho salmon filets. Take 6 filets with skin and season with coarse ground black pepper and sea salt. Then in a separate bowl mix 1/3 cup maple syrup, 2 TBsp honey, and 2 TBsp fresh squeezed lemon juice and some freshly chopped dill. Grill the filets on high heat over charcoal and wood chips and glaze the fish with the mix. Serve and drizzle with the left over glaze.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BigJim wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I've used it mixed with Dijon mustard on cedar plank salmon and baked quail.

And though not fish or game, one of my favorite uses for real maple syrup is the pecan pie recipe from The Lost Art of Real Cooking.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I like the notion of barbaqueing with the skin left on, and placed skin down, and garnishments on top..meat stays moist, and you can even provide a smoked flavor. Remove the skin when done.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

If I had that half gallon it would be used for my pancakes. I want to enjoy the full flavor and richness of the syrup and pancakes is the only way to do that.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Methinks a quick panfried chop of any kind would benefit from a quick pan deglazing, a table spoon or two of that syrup tossed in the pan, and some red pepper flakes for a heat note.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

It makes a helluva "Old Fashioned" that pairs well with grilled "insert wildgame choice".

2 oz. bourbon whiskey
1/2 oz. maple syrup
Slice of orange or cube up an apple
Dash of bitters

It also makes a great BBQ sauce.

6oz. Tomato paste
1 cup maple syrup
1/8 - 1/4C white vinegar.
1 tablespoon +/-(depending on taste preference)
Chili,Onion,Garlic powder
Salt (hickory smoked if possible)
add liquid smoke if need be.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Make your own maple flavored bacon. You could use the belly of a domestic pig, or go out and tag yourself a feral hog. When you smoke that maple flavored pork belly it is going to kick it up another notch!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

If you make the said bacon above, you can use some bear fat (a la Steven Rinella) and make yourself a nice donut, incorporate the maple syrup in to some icing and throw that on top of the donut and top with said piece of maple bacon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pechorin77 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Rocks Glass
3 Cubes
Healthy pour of Rye
Maple syrup to taste

I'd also say that it won't be wasted on pancakes or waffles.

And using it as a glaze on a roast pheasant is a damn nice use as well./

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Replace the honey in your brussel spout recipe.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from COtroutBum wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

next time you make breakfast sausage mix some in with a touch of good quality bacon and blueberries.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattM37 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Well, first you should put the cap on that Wisconsin bottle and get yourself some real New York maple syrup. (I'd send you some, but even when you live down the road from the guy who made it, it's awful pricey). Then pan-sear some grouse breast medallions, with lots of butter-basting, and drizzle the syrup on after plating. A crusty loaf of old-fashioned mountain man bannock makes a nice side, and of course something else to drizzle the syrup on.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

The problem with that acknowledgement is by welcoming all those freebies, poor product reviews are provided, or at best biased reviews are provided. All products get very favorable reviews being the trade off for the freebies is a good product review. Free trips to lodges always get favorable reviews when they often disappoint the paying consumer, etc., etc.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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