Candied Bacon

This has to be one of my favorite uses for delicious, cured bacon outside of simply just eating it straight out of the oven.

It’s a nice treat any time of year, but it’s especially great around the holidays. This can be done with any type of bacon depending on your tastes; hardwood smoked, apple wood smoked, sugar or salt cured…your choice.

One of my favorite uses for this little delectable is garnishing an Eastern Shore Bloody Mary. It’s also a great item to sit out on the snack table.

CANDIED BACON

Prep time: 5 minutes  – Cook time: 25 minutes

You will need a baking sheet, some aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and a cooling rack for this recipe.

Ingredients

1 lb. Thick cut Bacon (¼ inch or more thick)

2 cups light or dark brown sugar

1 Tsp crushed red pepper  (or you may substitute – ½ Tsp ground cayenne pepper)

1 Tbsp Kosher salt

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line the pan with either aluminum foil or parchment paper. This is to catch the sugars and fat that drip from the bacon.
  • Mix the brown sugar and hot pepper (or cayenne pepper) together thoroughly.
  • Dredge and press the bacon into the sugar mix. Make sure that it is lightly coated and not crusted.
  • You may sprinkle additional sugar on your bacon during the cooking process.
  • Place all of the strips of bacon in a single layer on the cooling rack with a little space between the strips.
  • Place that rack over the lined baking sheet. It doesn’t matter if it fits exactly. Just make sure nothing will drip onto your oven or the heating element.
  • Place the rack and tray combo into the oven on the middle rack. Cooking for about 10 minutes then flip the bacon.
  • Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture on the bacon and place it back into the oven for at least another 5 minutes

The goal is to get the sugars to melt and caramelize on your bacon as the bacon renders and crisps. The time will also depend on the thickness of the bacon, oven type and heat source.  Remember that the bacon will carry over cook after you remove it from the oven. This means that you should remove it a little earlier than your desired crispness as it will continue to crisp up as it sits.

Weston – Reconnect with Real Food

We recently teamed up with the folks over at Weston (www.Westonsupply.com) to bring you some new and interesting ways to “Reconnect with Real Food”.

Over the next 12 months our team from the “Hunt, Fish, Forage, Farm” series will be asked to live up to that series’ name. They will put their talents to the test in order to procure the ingredients needed to provide you with an “outside the box” meal that can be prepared in a commercial kitchen, in your home or even at your hunting cabin.

Each episode will feature equipment from Weston that is intended to showcase their corporate mission to…

“…fuel a movement of hunters, gatherers, and locavores with the enduring, well-built products needed for a self-sustaining approach to food. We deliver the know-how to bring those products to life”. 

Keep an eye out here on the Chasin’ Whitetails website and on social media for our teaser videos that will introduce the featured monthly dish, as well as, the equipment that was used to prepare it. Then check back for the full length cooking demonstration and an article that will include the recipe.

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

Introducin’ The Pit Barrel Cooker

A bunch of guys warming themselves around a flaming, black barrel while drinking beer doesn’t necessarily summon up feelings of serenity. In most cases I’d probably cross the street in order to avoid being shanked. Don’t get me wrong I’m no angel and I’ve sipped from more than one brown paper bag over the years, but until I caught a whiff of the Pit Barrel Cooker in action I probably would have been a little hesitant to walk up on that sort of a crowd.

It was late in the 2017 college football season and the Penn State home crowd was doing what they do best…they were tailgating Happy Valley style!

I was doing what I do best…sipping on an adult beverage, snacking and people watching when I caught a whiff of something intriguing.

As I followed my nose I came across a group of guys standing around what looked to me like a 55-gallon drum. They were drinking beer and having a pretty good time so I struck up a conversation. The guy that owned the Pit Barrel Cooker couldn’t stop talking about it. He kept mentioning that the ribs he was cooking were the best he’d ever prepared. I must have dropped enough hints as he finally opened up the lid on the PBC and pulled a rack out.

The first thing that I noticed was the beautiful color that he had accomplished on the ribs. At virtually the same moment I noticed the Pit Barrel Cookers unique “Hook and Hang” system that allowed the ribs to be treated to a steady convection cooking process. As he slapped the ribs down on the cutting board I had a funny feeling I was in for something special. He invited me to try a rib prior to saucing them. He had used the Pit Barrel Cooker Company’s own All Purpose Rib Rub. That rib was absolutely delicious.

He then sauced the rest of the ribs and put them back on the PBC to caramelize the sauce. I evidently lost track of time, as I listened to the PBC gospel being preached by this true Hang Time convert. In what seemed like just a couple of minutes he took the ribs back off of the PBC and offered me another bone. Truth be told I enjoyed the rib better “dry” (which is not unusual for me) then “sauced”, but it was still a darn good rib.

Those ribs were so good that on the following Monday morning, I started to investigate the Pit Barrel Cooker Company. They have a very user friendly website with plenty of recipes and helpful tutorials on how to use their products correctly. What I was able to find out about the company, and the product, truly impressed me.

This is a hands on, family run business and the founder is a Military Veteran. They were tremendously responsive to my inquiries for information and were more than happy to allow me to test drive some of their products. I’ve been fortunate enough to experiment with both the Classic Pit Barrel Cooker and the Pit Barrel Jr. and I can tell you that the advertised price is more than fair for a product of this quality. There is nothing chintzy about the PBC, the rubs are really good and all of the accessories make cooking easy.

Both the Pit Barrel Cooker and the Pit Barrel Jr. have delivered some very impressive results. I tend to be a huge fan of cooking over charcoal and this set up has helped the members of our Chasin’ Whitetails Media “Hunt-Fish-Forage-Farm team” accomplish some very solid results on everything we’ve thrown at it including kale (yes kale), stingray, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, pork shoulder, London Broil and even a Thanksgiving Day turkey.

As the holiday season approaches keep the folks at the Pit Barrel Cooker Company in mind. If you have a BBQ aficionado to shop for, and you’d like to win them over, I’d strongly recommend giving the folks over at the Pit Barrel Cooker Company (www.pitbarrelcooker.com) a chance to impress you as much as they’ve impressed me

Earth to Table (September – Stingray Salad)

If you read my last article you may remember that I prepared grilled stingray filets. When I made that meal my wife and daughter were out and about and missed out on dinner that night.

 I was left with a couple extra filets and came up with this recipe. It is now my “go to” recipe for leftover grilled stingray. When you tear the leftover stingray apart, it has the same flaky texture as tuna.

 

 Grilled Stingray Salad

Yields 2 to 4 sandwiches

 

  •  2 – six ounce grilled Stingray filets (freshly grilled or leftover)
  • 3 Tbsp. – finely chopped carrot
  • 3 Tbsp. – finely chopped celery
  • 3 Tbsp. – finely chopped onion (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. – lemon or lime zest
  • ⅓ cup – mayonnaise

 ** Optional addition – 1 Tbsp. Thai basil or mint (chopped)

 

Using 2 forks shred the filets

Place the stingray in a mixing bowl and set it to the side.

Dice all of the vegetables and add to the bowl with your meat.

Mix together thoroughly.

Add the mayonnaise to the bowl and mix thoroughly, but lightly. You don’t want to pulverize the meat.

Add the lemon or lime zest,

Add salt and pepper to taste

Serve on your favorite bread, crackers or a bed of fresh greens.

 

 

Eat Local, Eat Organic! Three Reasons to Add Venison to Your Diet.

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I find myself baffled when people reject consuming, let alone even trying venison. Aside from the delicious taste, the top reasons I consume it is because it is nutritionally healthy, environmentally friendly, and more ethical to consume than the beef and chicken found at grocery stores.

For those who are uneducated about hunting and perceive harvesting a deer to be cruel, I challenge them to look at their plate and think long and hard about how the meat they consume is raised and processed. Although the portrayed image is farm fresh, the slaughter-intended animals live a not so ideal life. The industrialized nature of the meat industry directly affects the short lives of these animals, and the fast production has the profit of meat sales, not the animal, in mind. This factory farm style affects growth, health, living conditions, and the overall life of the animal. Deer on the other hand live a free, natural life. Born into nature, they are raised in the mountains, forests, and fields. There are no cages to confine these beautiful creatures. And unlike factory animals that have a predetermined destiny for your grocery store, a deer does not-its harvest is up to chance and up to the skill of the hunter. Don’t be deceived into thinking I don’t eat meats other than venison. There are no “Meatless Monday’s” in my house y’all! I simply intend to point out the ludicrous nature of meat-consuming persons that are prejudiced against consuming venison by calling out their hypocrisy.

Health experts encourage you to eat local and eat organic. Well y’all, the deer on your plate is not only local, but it is organic as well. It’s environmentally friendly because there is no need for hundreds of miles of transport since a deer is sourced locally. In a deer’s lifetime, it is never pumped with growth hormones to expedite the process to your plate. Living conditions are not cramped or filthy since they roam the forest, mountains and fields, so antibiotics are not necessitated. Venison is a high quality meat because it is unpolluted, in addition to it being nutritionally sound. When looking at venison from a nutritional standpoint you find that for a red-meat option it is one of the healthiest choices available. Deer is wild game so it spends its life foraging for food, constantly on the move. The diet and lifestyle make it low in saturated fat, high in protein, and rich in iron and B-vitamins. Venison is an extraordinarily healthy meat option and I can’t encourage people enough to incorporate it into their diet’s more.

venison

If you hunt like I do, then you are familiar with the satisfaction of being able to harvest a deer and provide healthy and delicious meat for you and your family. If you know anyone who is on the fence about trying venison or vehemently against it, I encourage you to share the aforementioned reasons as to why they should make it a part of their diet (or at least try it).