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May 15, 2013

Got a Cooking Question? Ask the Wild Chef

By David Draper

When you write about eating, drinking and cooking, friends and family members like to ask a lot of questions. Strangers even get in on the act when they find out what I do for a living—especially if they’re also sportsmen. The most common question is typically some variant of “How do you make _______ taste good?” with the blank most often being filled with the word “duck” or “goose” or sometimes “antelope.”

After the first few times this happened, I developed some rote answers, typically a simple cooking tip or quick recipe that would convince them to give duck or goose or antelope another chance at the table. Truthfully, the straight answer, which I should probably have printed on the back of my business cards, would read: “Don’t overcook it.”

I get other questions too, with the uninitiated asking about strange foods I’ve tried or what a particular animal part, usually testicles, tastes like. The answers to those questions depend on the audience. I am, at the end of all, just an entertainer. Like I tell a lot of my gun-writer colleagues who take themselves too seriously, “We’re not curing cancer.”

We are, however, hopefully keeping readers entertained and, yes, maybe even educating them a little bit. And, through this blog, I’ve been educated a lot from readers’ advice and recipes. So I want to open up the forum to see what questions you might have. Leave your question in the comments section below. I’ll pick a few of the best to answer here on my Wild Chef blog.

Comments (14)

Top Rated
All Comments
from TM wrote 49 weeks 8 hours ago

What are your go-to venison recipes for venison haters? (Don't cheat by saying chili or tacos). Same question for ducks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 49 weeks 8 hours ago

The question: What's the best hand grinder that actually grinds meat consistently without mushing it up?
The background: I have done quite a bit of sausage making when I was in my early 20's learning how to hunt big game, all of it was hand ground. I don't mind the work, but that grinder flat out kicked ass(and made my arm bigger). Since then, I've used 3 grinders, a 1/3hp power grinder, while it worked well, it did heat up more than I like, and it wasn't mine since I didn't make that much money, and I myself didn't make 100 pound lots of sausage. I had an electric cheapie given to me, and the only way to get the meat to come out the end was to force feed it with the plunger. The meat was not ground, rather just mush, and again heat was an issue. I went and got a hand grinder from sportsman's warehouse, since a hand grinder is what I wanted anyway, and this thing was the same was the electric cheapie was, it just created meat mash. I did not pay attention to the original hand grinder, but the cheapie and sportsman's warehouse grinder both had channels running down the length of the grinder, so the screw did not fit tight against the cylinder. the best cut I got was when I over tightened the front nut that held the blade against the plate at the front and then it would not operate without way too much force. I'm ideally looking at making 15-20 pound batches at a time and a hand grinder is the way I want to go.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SMC1986 wrote 49 weeks 8 hours ago

What is your best ground venison recipe that is not tacos, meatloaf, burgers, spaghetti, chili or any other ordinary dish. I end up with 100's of lbs of ground venison and make bologna, sausage, pierogies, tacos, spaghetti, burgers, jerky, etc but am always looking for something new.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gungnir wrote 49 weeks 8 hours ago

What are some of your favorite waterfowl recipies using a good ole Dutch Oven? And what method of heat are you using with your DO (charcoal, gas, household oven, etc)?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gungnir wrote 49 weeks 7 hours ago

I forgot to add with my last comment on Dutch oven waterfowl: What beverage of choice are you pairing with some of your recipies?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 49 weeks 7 hours ago

What are some good resipes for wild offal? Specifically waterfowl and venison offal. I want to use as much of the animal as I can. Perhaps a good way to prepare venison sweetbreads?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 49 weeks 7 hours ago

What are some good cuts of venison for braising? I have braised shanks and they turn out really great but what about a front shoulder or other cuts??

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 49 weeks 6 hours ago

Oooh...stay away from venison sweetbreads if you're in an area affected by CWD. I realize that the human/animal bridge has not yet been empirically established, but still -- why go looking for trouble? Just sayin'. -Bob

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fruguy101 wrote 49 weeks 4 hours ago

I love to eat fish. Baked, fried, grilled, almost any way goes for me when it comes to fish. What is a good recipe for frying fish? I ask this because my wife doesn't like any fish other than cod. I've tried crappie, tilapia, and catfish, but she doesn't like the taste. I can't figure out how to cook another type of fish in a manner that she'll eat. I may never win that battle and will most likely have to make her something different when I cook fish, but it never hurts to keep trying.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Neil J. Selbicky wrote 48 weeks 6 days ago

Is there anything you've eaten that you will never eat again?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bobby Nipper wrote 48 weeks 3 days ago

How about a comment on any of the comments or questions!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmaster94 wrote 48 weeks 8 hours ago

What is your best recipe for crappie? I do a lot more crappie fishing than most people do in the summer, mostly because my best fishing buddy fishes primarily for them. So I've tried lots of recipes, and all of them have been pretty tasty. But is there one recipe that stands out from all the others? (And it doesn't have to just be crappie. It could be walleye, northern, bass, bluegill... any freshwater fish commonly found in the northern states).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmaster94 wrote 48 weeks 8 hours ago

What is your best recipe for crappie? I do a lot more crappie fishing than most people do in the summer, mostly because my best fishing buddy fishes primarily for them. So I've tried lots of recipes, and all of them have been pretty tasty. But is there one recipe that stands out from all the others? (And it doesn't have to just be crappie. It could be walleye, northern, bass, bluegill... any freshwater fish commonly found in the northern states).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmaster94 wrote 48 weeks 8 hours ago

(Sorry about that second post, my ipad was being slow and it all went downhill from there)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from TM wrote 49 weeks 8 hours ago

What are your go-to venison recipes for venison haters? (Don't cheat by saying chili or tacos). Same question for ducks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 49 weeks 8 hours ago

The question: What's the best hand grinder that actually grinds meat consistently without mushing it up?
The background: I have done quite a bit of sausage making when I was in my early 20's learning how to hunt big game, all of it was hand ground. I don't mind the work, but that grinder flat out kicked ass(and made my arm bigger). Since then, I've used 3 grinders, a 1/3hp power grinder, while it worked well, it did heat up more than I like, and it wasn't mine since I didn't make that much money, and I myself didn't make 100 pound lots of sausage. I had an electric cheapie given to me, and the only way to get the meat to come out the end was to force feed it with the plunger. The meat was not ground, rather just mush, and again heat was an issue. I went and got a hand grinder from sportsman's warehouse, since a hand grinder is what I wanted anyway, and this thing was the same was the electric cheapie was, it just created meat mash. I did not pay attention to the original hand grinder, but the cheapie and sportsman's warehouse grinder both had channels running down the length of the grinder, so the screw did not fit tight against the cylinder. the best cut I got was when I over tightened the front nut that held the blade against the plate at the front and then it would not operate without way too much force. I'm ideally looking at making 15-20 pound batches at a time and a hand grinder is the way I want to go.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SMC1986 wrote 49 weeks 8 hours ago

What is your best ground venison recipe that is not tacos, meatloaf, burgers, spaghetti, chili or any other ordinary dish. I end up with 100's of lbs of ground venison and make bologna, sausage, pierogies, tacos, spaghetti, burgers, jerky, etc but am always looking for something new.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gungnir wrote 49 weeks 8 hours ago

What are some of your favorite waterfowl recipies using a good ole Dutch Oven? And what method of heat are you using with your DO (charcoal, gas, household oven, etc)?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gungnir wrote 49 weeks 7 hours ago

I forgot to add with my last comment on Dutch oven waterfowl: What beverage of choice are you pairing with some of your recipies?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 49 weeks 7 hours ago

What are some good resipes for wild offal? Specifically waterfowl and venison offal. I want to use as much of the animal as I can. Perhaps a good way to prepare venison sweetbreads?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 49 weeks 7 hours ago

What are some good cuts of venison for braising? I have braised shanks and they turn out really great but what about a front shoulder or other cuts??

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 49 weeks 6 hours ago

Oooh...stay away from venison sweetbreads if you're in an area affected by CWD. I realize that the human/animal bridge has not yet been empirically established, but still -- why go looking for trouble? Just sayin'. -Bob

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fruguy101 wrote 49 weeks 4 hours ago

I love to eat fish. Baked, fried, grilled, almost any way goes for me when it comes to fish. What is a good recipe for frying fish? I ask this because my wife doesn't like any fish other than cod. I've tried crappie, tilapia, and catfish, but she doesn't like the taste. I can't figure out how to cook another type of fish in a manner that she'll eat. I may never win that battle and will most likely have to make her something different when I cook fish, but it never hurts to keep trying.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Neil J. Selbicky wrote 48 weeks 6 days ago

Is there anything you've eaten that you will never eat again?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bobby Nipper wrote 48 weeks 3 days ago

How about a comment on any of the comments or questions!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmaster94 wrote 48 weeks 8 hours ago

What is your best recipe for crappie? I do a lot more crappie fishing than most people do in the summer, mostly because my best fishing buddy fishes primarily for them. So I've tried lots of recipes, and all of them have been pretty tasty. But is there one recipe that stands out from all the others? (And it doesn't have to just be crappie. It could be walleye, northern, bass, bluegill... any freshwater fish commonly found in the northern states).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmaster94 wrote 48 weeks 8 hours ago

What is your best recipe for crappie? I do a lot more crappie fishing than most people do in the summer, mostly because my best fishing buddy fishes primarily for them. So I've tried lots of recipes, and all of them have been pretty tasty. But is there one recipe that stands out from all the others? (And it doesn't have to just be crappie. It could be walleye, northern, bass, bluegill... any freshwater fish commonly found in the northern states).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmaster94 wrote 48 weeks 8 hours ago

(Sorry about that second post, my ipad was being slow and it all went downhill from there)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment