Upping Your Upland Game: Part 1

Upland and small game is some of the most popular hunting in North America. Most hunters start out in the field with their parents hunting upland birds and small game. In this podcast we will share the knowledge we’ve all learned over the years. Share with you the tips and tricks, the do’s and don’ts and how to’s of hunting, cleaning and cooking. Not only will we be sharing all these nuggets of knowledge with you but also be bringing you our favorite recipes. Recipes many of us created because we were tired of the same old meals.

Holding a small single shot shotgun or .22lr we would stand next to our Dad or Mom and absorb every word spoken. The knowledge we learned while waiting for a Pheasant to flush or sitting still watching and listening for a squirrel jumping limb to limb, made us better hunters.

Listen to the podcast by searching Tasting Wild on the following apps


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Below you’ll find the three recipes heard in the podcast, each recipe was created by our very own Tasting Wild chefs. Let’s go ahead and look at those recipes.

John Wallace

Sweet Savory Spicy Sugar Glazed Dove Rumaki

Submitted by: John Wallace

Wild Game Creations

Instagram @wildgamecook

FACEBOOK /wildgamecreations

Marinade: 1 tbsp. Soy Sauce (low sodium preferred)

3 tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce

3 tbsp. Honey

½ tbsp. Lime Juice

½ tbsp. Ginger Powder

½ tbsp. Garlic (Minced)

1 tbsp. Green onion (Finely Chopped)

1 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar (optional)

1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ – 1 tbsp. of Crushed red pepper flakes or 1 Jalapeño (diced or sliced) (Seeded for Mild…not for HOT!)

1 Dash of Salt & Pepper

Place dove and marinade into Ziploc bag and place into refrigerator for several hours (10 hours or more is recommended) TIP: Stir well to incorporate honey and sugar (10 seconds in Microwave may be helpful) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°. Open package of bacon and slice pieces in half. Drain marinade in colander. It is recommended to pick jalapeño seeds off of each breast before wrapping it with the half piece of bacon. Feel free to stuff a piece(s) of jalapeño into each wrap. Once wrapped, thread a toothpick through the top of the bacon so that it goes down to the breast and then bring it back up through the top of the bacon to secure it around each piece. Place “poppers” on a cooking rack (so that drippings fall away from bacon and onto cookie sheet). Place toothpick side down.


Cooking:

Place in oven for 12-15 minutes checking often for crispness of bacon, additional minutes may be necessary (a few minutes on broil may speed up process). Once bacon is at desired crispness on top, pull the rack out of the oven. *Place oven on Broil (if not already). Flip the poppers over so that the toothpick side is now up. Align all poppers in a straight line, so that they are touching one another. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the poppers. Use as little or as much as you would like (“a pinch a popper” is recommended). Place the cooking rack back into oven until brown sugar is melted thoroughly and bacon is crisp. Pull the poppers out of the oven and place them on a serving tray. Allow a minute or two to cool down (if you can wait that long!). Remove toothpick and enjoy!! Remember to share… *This step should be watched carefully, as each oven may broil differently and chance of burning the poppers is high. It is recommended to crack open the oven door when broiling.

John is a mastermind when it comes to re-creating and elevating the traditional recipes. Give this recipe a try and let him know what you think of it.

Next we talked about Quail and Justin brought us an amazing Recipe that’s not only simple but absolutely delicious.

Quail: Justin Townsted

Harvesting Nature

Roasted Quail with Sage and Squash Cornbread Dressing


To celebrate the opening of quail, dove, and other game bird hunting seasons, I wanted to share a delicious recipe that can be prepared with any upland game bird. For this recipe, you can also substitute store bought quail, Cornish hens, pheasant, etc. Dove and Quail seasons are usually pretty popular amongst hunters for three reasons. One, dove season is the first hunting season to open of the year so many are itching to get back into the field. Two, birds are in greater numbers in comparison to larger game. There is a definite adrenaline rush when you are out hunting and there are birds flying all around.

Personally, I love the flavor of dove and quail. They have similarities in taste but are slightly different depending on the area they reside and the food they eat. Usually they have a mild earthy flavor with hints of a butter and nuts. Pheasant, to me, tastes like a higher quality chicken that has lived a wilder life. Upland game birds are pretty popular to eat for many because they lack the heavy “gaminess” that many people fear.

This recipe require an additional step prior to cooking which is to semi-debone the bird. This can be a little difficult as the birds get larger but it is totally worth it once you sink your teeth into the finished product. Basically, to semi-debone the bird you will use some scissors to cut on either side of the backbone. This will leave you with a now “U shaped” bird. You will then remove the wishbone and use your fingers to separate the meat from the rib cage. You will then snap the thigh bone at the joint. After this, feel all around the mead to make sure you don’t have any little shards hanging around. If you are completely unsure of this process then you can search the internet for many resources and video on how to semi-debone quail.

Ingredients:

6 semi-deboned quail, dove, chukar, or pheasant

Cornbread from 1 box of jiffy corn muffin mix (prepared following ingredients and instruction)

½ white onion, minced

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced squash or zucchini

2 cups of chicken or turkey stock

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp minced fresh sage

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Preheat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat
  3. Melt the 1 tbsp butter in the pan
  4. Add the onion, celery, squash
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vegetables to a large mixing bowl
  7. Crumble up the cornbread in the bowl
  8. Add the stock, sage, and half of the seasonings
  9. Stir until thoroughly mixed
  10. Use the remaining seasoning to coat the outside of the quail pieces
  11. Use the remaining 2 tbsp of butter to coat the inside of the pan, if not too hot
  12. Add the mixture the pan, top with the quail pieces, and bake for 20-30 minute or until the quail and the bread are a nice golden brown color.

(For larger birds, cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. This may require partially cooking the larger bird first then adding the dressing)


I love Justin’s classic and rustic take of his meals. Simply amazing.

Next let’s change gears and talk about Rabbit with our very own Chef Randy King

Chef In The Wild

Rabbit:

Canned Rabbit Meat


Confession Time – I shot three jackrabbits on a Sunday, forgot about them in the fridge and got on a plane to Denver. This resulted in a problem. Bless my wife but she sure as heck is not going to gut and skin a rabbit. Nor are my boys, yet. But they could freeze them. As instructed my oldest son grabbed the bag the rabbits were in, and set them in my chest freezer.

And there they stayed for six months. I know, terrible. But the skin actually acted as a protective barrier and kept the meat quite nice. When I did get around to clearing out that part of the freezer I thawed the rabbits for a few days; they were perfect.  I was thrilled to get the sizable amount of space the rabbits took up back.

In order to get my freezer “fall ready” I make it a goal to utilize all my scrap from the previous season. I’ll make sausage or jerky or even confit stuff. But this time my goal was to get “camp meat” for the fall. I wanted a “no refrigeration needed” meat that I could haul into the backcountry with me. Something other than jerky. I knew about canning meat, or jarring meat to be more specific, but I had never done it. It requires a pressure canner – something I did not own.

Luckily for me a quick look on craigslist and I came up with an inexpensive pressure canner. The variety I ended up with is a “Victory Model” from World War 2. It is simply amazing. Sure, a new canner would be cool but this old school model was all a guy needs.

With thawed rabbits and a new to me pressure cooker I set out to make meat. First I deboned the rabbits, then I cubed them, then I browned them in hot oil, then I tossed them in “taco” seasoning. Next I added them to jars with a little stock and canned them. It was super easy, I was pleasantly surprised.

As with all preserving – keeping sanitary is a must. Clean hands, clean jars, clean lids – clean everything. With canning, and all preservation really, you are trying to defeat the forces of nature that rot food. A hard project and one that if not done right is downright dangerous.

When I was don canning the meat I could not wait to try it out. The next afternoon I opened a jar and made myself a quick quesadilla out of the meat. Unreal, I basically had shredded rabbit meat in a jar ready to eat whenever I am hungry. I am going to be canning meat a lot more in the future.

Canned Rabbit

2# cleaned rabbit meat, diced

¼ cup canola oil

1 packet “taco seasoning”

2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ onion diced

1 cup chicken stock or water

Place a 12 inch heavy bottomed pan on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add half the canola and carefully add the rabbit meat a little at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan, the meat will not brown properly. Add more oil as needed to keep the pan from being dry bottomed. When all the meat is brown add it all back to the pan and toss with taco seasoning. Remove meat from pan to a plate. Add garlic, onion and chicken stock to the pan.

Bring the pan to a boil, scrape the bottom for all the good chunks of brown. This is called “fond” by the way. Remove pan from heat.

Next pack the meat to clean wide mouthed jars. Then add the pan drippings to each jar, distributing them evenly. But make sure to leave at least a ½ inch of head room on the jar. Top each jar with a clean lid and clean ring. Place into pressure canner and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to follow all instructions for canning very carefully.


Who else thinks randy knocked it out of the park with this dish?

Stay tuned for part two of upping your Upland game where we will hit ya with more recipes, tips, tricks and of course all the knowledge we have.

In the meantime remember to get outdoors and start Tasting Wild for yourself.

Jeremiah Doughty

From Field To Plate

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