wild chef gift guide 2018

This time of year is the best time to be a Wild Chef, because hunting seasons are open—and will stay that way for weeks to come—giving you chance after chance to restock your freezer with fresh, delicious game. And with that bounty comes the perfect opportunity to experiment with new recipes and improve your butchering skills. To help you become an even better Wild Chef, we’ve put together this holiday gift guide of kitchen tools, cookbooks, and more. Take a look at the list, maybe check it twice, and then leave some not-so-subtle hints as to which ones you’d like to unwrap in December.

One of the newest additions to the Camp Chef line is the VersaTop grill, which has a 247-square-inch flat-top, non-stick cooking surface. The VerstaTop cranks 15,000 BTUs per hour and has a matchless ignition. There’s a grease tray and grease cup (don’t forget to save that bacon grease for eggs), and the unit’s compact design allows for easy storage and transport. Tailgating and car-camping menus just got a lot more appetizing.

If you prefer your whiskey chilled—but not watered down because of melting ice—you’re probably familiar with whiskey stones. But are you familiar with whiskey bullet stones? The set of six, which stores conveniently (and awesomely) in their revolver-chamber case, are made of FDA-approved stainless steel, and each bullet measures 2 ½ inches, which provides a decent-size surface area to keep your drink cool. If the whiskey connoisseur in your life has been especially good this year, consider also getting him or her this .308 Whiskey Glass as a package deal.

I’m far from the only outdoorsman who thinks Steven Rinella’s MeatEater is the best hunting show on TV, but my favorite part of every episode isn’t the hunt—it’s when he cooks a meal at the end. While few of us will ever get to embark on some of the more far-flung adventures he takes on the program, we can at least now experience some of the flavors. His newest book, The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook, is packed with recipes as well as smart tips for cooking and butchering. It deserves a spot on the bookshelf of every Wild Chef.

Every cook loves knives, and here’s a specialty blade that the Wild Chef in your life might not own. A cimeter (more commonly spelled, scimitar) is a big blade designed for big cuts. Whether you’re carving a roast or slicing a backstrap into steaks, there’s something undeniably satisfying about using a knife this large. The blade on this model is made of carbon stainless steel for maximum sharpness, and the textured handle prevents slips and has an ergonomic design for balance and comfort.

Hunting-camp kitchens aren’t always the most equipped. Which is what makes a slow-cooker a godsend at camp. As long as you’ve got a working outlet, you can drop a roast and some chopped vegetables in the pot before you head to your stand in the morning, and by the time you come back in the evening, you’ll have a warm, comforting meal waiting. And since this is hunting camp we’re talking about, you can’t go wrong with camo. When it’s time to christen this cooker with its first meal, here are some next-level recipes to consider.

The First Lite Furnace Henley • $135 First Lite

I know what you’re thinking: Why the hell is there a shirt in a gift guide about cooking and butchering wild game? Umm, I did wear this henley while cooking venison burgers at deer camp, so that sort of counts, right? No, not really. Well, too bad! This is my list, and this shirt is dynamite gift material. Made from First Lite’s Merino-X 350g EXP fabric, this top is the perfect garment to wear over your next-to-skin base layer in cold weather. Yet for as warm as this piece is, it’s incredibly light and has the silent and odor-free advantages that come with merino wool. And, as I said, it’s great to wear back at camp.

OK, fine. Now I see why you wanted to include it here.

It’s a Christmas miracle!

For more Holiday Gift Ideas, see our Holiday Gift Guide.

This tool has “stocking stuffer” written all over it. Made from ultra-light and strong aircraft aluminum alloy, this spork won’t add much weight to your pack and it’ll last you forever. It’s also extra-long, which means you can scoop those last good bits of freeze-dried fuel from the bottom of the bag.

Here’s something for the true food nerd (and I mean that in the most complimentary way): a massive (nearly 500 pages) tome dedicated to fermentation. My experience with fermentation is still in the beginner stage, but what I love most about fermenting stuff is that you’re tackling a project more so a mere recipe. I’ll admit, this stuff can be intimidating: There’s no small amount of science involved, you’ll need to invest in some specialty equipment (nothing too expensive), and these recipes take a long time (a year or more in some cases). But when it all comes together, the end result is incredibly rewarding. This brand-new book, written by chefs who work at what many consider to be the best restaurant in the world, has been greeted with rave reviews—and with good reason. The recipes are fascinatingly inventive, and the processes behind those recipes are written in a style that makes a novice like me feel like he could give it a go. You won’t find recipes for wild game in this book, but you will find recipes for things, such as misos and garum, that can take your favorite wild game recipes to bold new places.