Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Best Ideas for Home Cooks and Wild Game Chefs
Ten suggestions for the wild chef on your list
The greatest hunting or fishing trophy an outdoorsman can bring home is the bounty of delicious wild game and fish to cook and share with friends and family. And while we all have our favorite, go-to recipes for venison, ducks, game birds, or trout, it’s always fun to experiment with new recipes and cooking techniques. Fortunately, there’s an endless list of wild game recipes out there, as well as new kitchen tools and grilling gear that’ll take your cooking skills to the next level. So, if there’s a Wild Chef on your holiday gift list, we’re here to help. This list of cookbooks, secret ingredients, cooking gear, and barbecue equipment is sure to satisfy the tastes of just about any home cook. Best of all, you might just get a delicious home-cooked meal as a thank you. So, win-win.
Burgers are one of the all-time best comfort foods, and making them out of wild game takes them to another level. The Burger Press with Patty Ejector allows the home chef to make restaurant quality patties, which are uniform to ensure consistent quality and cooking time. The spring-loaded ejector prevents the patties from sticking and helps them stay together on the grill. The unit can be set to adjust patty thickness from ¼ to 1 ½ inches, with a 4 ½-inch diameter.
Scott & Tiffany Haugen
Cooking waterfowl and upland game birds can be tricky, but with some creativity and proper handling, you can produce some of the most flavorful wild game you’ll ever enjoy. Cooking Game Birds by Scott and Tiffany Haugen is a complete guide to handling, aging, and cooking all types of fowl. This Oregon couple provides insight for novice to expert chefs and uses ingredients most people will find in their cupboards. The recipes are diverse, with flavors that will inspire any Wild Chef.
Sous-vide cooking continues to grow in popularity, as it provides the ultimate in temperature control. When wild game is cooked to perfection, it offers the best in tenderness and flavor. The SV1 makes it easy to lock in the flavor, tenderize the meat, and cook your favorite game to the perfect temperature—every time. With a water bath capacity of 7.9 gallons, all you need to do is set the temperature and timer and let the unit do the rest.
The Sporting Chef
If you have a passion for cooking venison, you’ll appreciate this compilation of the Sporting Chef’s 100 favorite venison recipes. It covers everything from main dishes to soups, salads, and appetizers. This is the perfect cookbook for a Wild Chef of any skill level wanting to expand his or her culinary expertise. Give the best gift of all: the ability for a chef to convert doubters into venison lovers.
Whether you like to grill, smoke, sear, bake, or barbecue, the Woodwind pellet grill offers the best of all worlds. Temperature control and easy clean up makes this grill enjoyable to use and maintain daily, and you can experiment with assorted flavors of wood pellets that automatically feed into the Woodwind. The sear box allows even the most particular chef the opportunity to finish meat with perfect grill marks for textbook presentation every time.
There are lots of seasonings available for the Wild Chef, but there are only a few that really pack a flavor punch and stand out. The Bearded Butcher, from Ohio, makes outstanding seasonings that are gluten and MSG free and contain no sugar. Their variety pack includes Chipotle, Original, Cajun, and Hot seasoning blends, and would make for an excellent gift or stocking stuffer. You can use these spices on everything that hits your table—from meat to vegetables to eggs, and definitely on French fries.
A Jaccard meat tenderizer works magic on any meat to, well, tenderer. The single-handed operation makes it easy to depress the unit onto your favorite meat, as the 48 blades cut through long muscle fibre, tenderizing even the toughest cuts. The tiny holes from the blades are not seen but do allow marinade to penetrate deeper into your wild game.
Every Wild Chef makes jerky of some kind, and if you’re a fan of whole-muscle cuts, then slicing even strips is often the biggest challenge. This cutting board has it all, with two guides for cutting ¼- or 3/8-inch strips of meat. Simply lay the meat on the board, then slice with the grain for the entire length of the muscle. Get creative and use the cuts for dishes like rouladen, or other meat roll-ups. The board comes with a knife and finger guard and is dishwasher safe.
As a chef, you often have a lot going on in your kitchen at any one time—which is often the reason meat gets overcooked. This setup allows you to monitor two different foods, from up to 300 feet away. Set up the transmitter with probes in your culinary masterpieces, and keep the receiver close by while working on other things. Pre-set temperatures and alarms make cooking foolproof.
Growing them yourself is the most satisfying way to enjoy fresh herbs with you meals, but if you’re not a gardener, you can have live plants shipped anywhere in the Lower 48. With about 200 plant options from the Growers Exchange, there is an endless supply of new ideas. Basil, mint, and even lemongrass are available for order and shipped seasonally.