A Maryland Tradition – Pan Seared Rockfish

Maryland is famous for several regional culinary delights. As a Pennsylvania guy I had some previous experience with the “imported” staples such as steamed crabs, Chesapeake Bay oysters, crab cakes, Berger cookies, Thrashers French Fries and National Bohemian Beer. However, it wasn’t until after I started working in Maryland that this delicious dish was first introduced to me.

Prior to my Maryland employment I had never even fished the Chesapeake Bay for the official State Fish of Maryland. You may hear the Monroe saxatilis, or striped Bass, called by a lot of different nicknames, but when you are in Maryland you better understand that it’s called a Rockfish here, Hon!

Here is my favorite way to prepare it.

Rick “The Butchers” Famous – Pan Seared Rockfish

Ingredients

  • 6 portions (3 – 6 oz.) Fresh Caught Rockfish Fillet
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Canola Oil

Tartar Sauce Ingredients

  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

 

Preparation

Rinse the Rockfish portions and pat dry with a paper towel

Put canola oil into the pan and heat to medium high heat

Mix the All-Purpose Flour with the Old Bay Seasoning and coat fish

Add the butter to the pan and heat until melted

Sear fish 2-3 minutes per side and remove from the pan

Add additional Old Bay Seasoning to taste

For the Tartar Sauce mix the Mayo, Pickle Relish and the Lemon juice together

Serve the Tartar sauce on the side for dipping

 

I hope that you enjoy this tasty recipe!

 

Rick “The Butcher” Bolinsky

Philly is for the Birds

Everyone has probably heard the city of Philadelphia referred to as the city of “Brotherly Love”. Philly is famous for its historic landmarks, its museums, the NFL Champion Eagles and its diehard sports fans.

In my humble opinion they also have some of the best food in the world. Be it fine dining, authentic ethnic eateries or out of this world markets it is just simply hard to top this town.

Below is a spin using wild game meat in place of the steak traditionally used in this local favorite, The Philly Cheesesteak!

I hope that you’ll enjoy this simple recipe and remember that I hold both the Cheesesteak and the city of Philadelphia deer (“deer” see what I did there?) to my heart.

 

Rick “The Butchers” Famous- Wild Philly Cheesesteak

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs. of Wild Game Meat (I like to use venison or Canada Goose breast)
  • 1 lg. Sweet Onion (chopped)
  • Cheese (Your choice, but if you want to go traditional it has to be Wiz)
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Steak Rolls

 

Preparation

Put the meat in the freezer for about an hour (this will make it easier to slice very thin)

Slice the meat thin (the Weston Meat Slicer is perfect for this task)

Bring the griddle (or a cast iron skillet) up to medium high heat

Add the butter and oil

Add the onions to pan and cook until translucent

Season the meat with salt and pepper

Add the meat to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes

Prepare your steak roll with some of the Worcestershire sauce and add the remaining to the pan

Top the meat and onions with the cheese

When the cheese is melted put the steak roll on top, slide a spatula underneath the meat, onion and cheese mixture and lift / flip your cheesesteak out

 

Enjoy!

Rick “The Butcher” Bolinsky

The Rut before “The Rut”

Early archery season can often be frustrating. Long hours afield, disappearing deer and lugging minerals often lead to frustration. Many hunters often find themselves in a personal rut before the November deer rut ever arrives.

I hear a lot of coffee table talk about a popular topic deemed by the experts as the “October Lull”. I’ve read about it in all of the major trade publications, blogs and online forums. I apologize in advance as I am not sure who coined the phrase, so shoot me an email if you know and I will be sure to give them the proper credit.

As an avid whitetail hunter I’ve have been busting my butt planting food plots of beans, radishes, clover and chicory as well as freshening up my mineral sites,  hanging stands and brushing in blinds.

Nowadays it seems like we live by our “trail camera scouting” through the early season. Constantly trying to pattern our hit list of shooters. For me personally it felt like I was putting a whole lot of stock in my trail cameras. I had to sit back and remember what a great hunting mentor once told me…

“A trail camera is a great tool, however, it only tells you where you should have been hunting yesterday.”  

So when your “Buckzilla” disappears from the periphery of your trail cameras don’t fret. Don’t lose patience and quit. Instead just sit back, trust in the work you put in and have fun. Accept that the natural patterns of wildlife are out of your control and know that good things will come your way.

Prior to the “seeking and chasing phase” brush up on your fundamentals. Think back to the lessons your father, mother, grandfather, uncle or another mentor taught you about hunting. Even with all of the advancements in hunting it’s the basics that build the foundation. Be sure that you are practicing good scent control, play the wind, stay quiet and keep your movements to a minimum.

It may seem like, as the frustration of going home empty handed builds, we feel some of the passion dwindling, but don’t lose hope.

Remember why we do this…. For the Love of the Outdoors.

Good luck this season and have fun!

Rick

Rick “The Butchers” Famous – Duck Blind Breakfast Mess

If you’ve ever spent a day in a duck blind, you’ll understand that waterfowl hunters love creative solutions and they love to eat. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a permanent duck blind, floating downstream in a canoe or in a makeshift blind on the banks of a lake avid waterfowlers will always find a way to feed their crew.

As someone that loves to cook and someone that loves to duck hunt one of my favorite duck blind rituals is to serve breakfast. I always have a big thermos of hot, black coffee and the “go to” breakfast is Rick “The Butchers” Famous – Duck Blind Breakfast Mess. This meal is usually pretty true to its name.

It is a super easy recipe that you can prep for the night before. You can use your favorite portable stove in the field or simply prepare it the night before and stow it in a small personal size cooler. If you decide to make it the night before simply fill the cooler up with hot or boiling water and allow it to heat up the insulation. When the food is ready dump out the water, place the food in a container and stow it away in the cooler.

  • 1 pound – Ground Sausage
  • 1 pound – Bacon
  • 1 dozen – Eggs
  • 10 – Medium Redskin Potatoes
  • 8 oz. – Shredded Cheese.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Loaf -Bread

The night before…

In a large skillet brown the sausage over medium high heat.

Dice the bacon and add it to sausage.

Cook for 3-5 minutes.

Cube potatoes to about ½ inch pieces.

Season the potatoes.

Add them to the meat and cover the skillet.

Cook over medium heat until potatoes are slightly tender.

***At this point you can refrigerate or place the container right into the cooler***

 

In the field…

Crack the eggs into a shaker or Nalgene type water bottle (I often do this the night before)

Heat up the meat and potatoes.

Shake the eggs to mix them.

Add the eggs to the meat and potato mixture.

Cook the eggs until scrambled.

Top with cheese and serve on a slice of bread.

Enjoy!

 

Stay warm, stay safe and have fun.

Rick “The Butcher” Bolinsky

What’s in your pack?

People tend to have different ideas and philosophies about what they take along in their hunting pack. For example, I carry a standard “day” pack with me that contains everything that I consider to be essential to my day afield. Some people go with less and some people pack in a lot more.

“What’s in your pack, Rick” you may ask?

Well my most prized possession is a roll of toilet tissue (I remove the cardboard and fold it down flat). It is much easier to be prepared, than it is prospecting for the perfect leaf, when nature calls and then hoping that perfect leaf isn’t near any poison ivy.   One thing to keep in mind during a firearm season is that a piece of white TP floating around your posterior may not be in your best interest.

The last thing that you want to be doing in the field is fumbling around in the dark, making so much noise that you’ll guarantee scaring everything in ear shot away. That said I have a very precise order to my pack and everything that I carry has a home.

Some of the essentials in my pack are my field spray, my range finder and my grunt call. When it’s hot my camo face paint is also at arm’s reach. I always carry spare batteries for my electronics, a flash light and a headlamp in the exterior compartments of my pack.

I always have plenty of knives in my pack. You do not need to buy the most expensive knives, but you should always have at least one spare. It is inevitable that you will lay one down, while field dressing an animal, and lose it somewhere. I strongly recommend having a spare or three.

I always pack a spare bow hanger with a cork attached to the screw. The cork will not only save your pack but your fingertips when you’re rooting around for the gummy bears you knew you had in there somewhere. I also keep a few of the cheap tree screws taped up with some camo cloth tape…Oh that reminds me there’s a roll of camo tape in the pack as well.

During the course of a season I may also have rattling antlers, scent control, wind checker and lure or cover scents packed. Field gloves and field wipes take up very little space and can literally be a lifesaver. There are thousands of uses for these and you are only limited by your imagination.

Speaking of your imagination you wouldn’t think in your wildest imagination that an archery hunter would forget their release, but it happens more than you’d imagine. When we get to rushing around the old saying “haste makes waste” will hold true. I always stow a spare release in my pack.

Safety is paramount to me and should be to you as well. So you probably guessed that in my pack is a spare tree strap for my safety harness. I also carry a pull up rope made of paracord with loop knots tied every 6 feet or so for grip. If you ever tried to pull paracord with gloves on this simple tip will make your life easier.

Remember that water is essential to life. We often become complacent about our projected time afield and forget that we are packing for unforeseen events not just to be sure that our morning hunt is comfortable. Something out of our control is always a possibility so be prepared when going afield.

Lastly, secure a place in your pack for your waste whether it be water bottles, bags or snack containers. Always pack out what you pack in. Remember to leave the area cleaner than you found it for somebody else to enjoy.

The contents of my pack vary slightly from season to season, but the constants are always there. I hope that you found this tour of my day pack interesting? Hopefully it will help you to prepare for your next day in the outdoors.

Be Safe.

Rick