By Tyler Mieden | PUBLISHED January 17th, 2022
We have a lot of mottos we follow around here. Its your tag and your hunt. Shoot what makes you happy. And many more. Making memories in the field is what we live for and our mottos are all based off that.
After all that time spent chasing your shooter buck or eater doe, and filling your meat freezer, we are left with the off season. What is there to do in the off season you ask? Cooking and eating all that delicious venison, turkey, elk, duck, pheasant, or whatever other game your freezer is full of.
Despite growing up hunting and eating venison, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed eating it in the preparations my dad used. Fast forward to the last 5-10 years, and the growth of shows like MeatEater that put an emphasis on the handling, preparation, and cooking of wild game have opened my eyes to the possibilities.
The possibilities have led me on many new cooking adventures. While these adventures aren’t quite as good as sneaking into my stand before legal shooting hours or the anticipation of letting an arrow fly, they are still a ton of fun. Just last week I made a pheasant chili recipe I found online that I want to make again. The next time I make it, I’m going to modify the spices to add another layer or two of flavor. I’m currently not sure what those spices are yet. I’ve tried and modified a venison stew recipe from the MeatEater cookbook. Backstrap on the smoker is oh so delicious! There’s a bevvy of options at your disposal and the resources to help you create a delicious meal.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve failed nearly as much in the kitchen as I have in the stand. I’ve overcooked venison steaks numerous times. My first iteration of deep-fried pheasant had an incredibly crispy and delicious exterior combined with some of the toughest and stringiest meat on the inside. These failures have all taught me lessons though, and I’ve continued to evolve in the kitchen much like I’ve continued to evolve as a hunter. Am I a great wild game cook? Absolutely not. Am I an okay wild game cook? Definitely.
I’ve had a lot fun in the kitchen and plan on continuing that over the next 7 months. Unfortunately, I didn’t fill a tag this season so my freezer is a lot more empty than I’d like. I won’t be cooking any venison, but there’s still enough pheasant & goose to keep me busy. More experiences will be had and I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two while screwing up another recipe.
Your season might be over, but the fun is just beginning. Let’s get cooking.