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    Chorizo to chili - wild game is “Mmm mmm good!”

    Trophy’s Steakhouse - A Review

    Well, yesterday was my birthday so my wife Karole came through (as usual) and had arranged dinner for the family. “Be home by 6:30″, she cautioned, but didn’t say where we were going. I was indeed home by 6:30 and arrived to find everyone spiffied up and ready to go. My daughter Mikaela even had donned a skirt, and was looking particularly pretty and all grown up! As it turns out, my wife had made 7:00 PM reservations for Trophy’s Steakhouse which I had been dying to try for a long time. Add to that the fact that it was almost literally around the corner and full of taxidermy - I was psyched! I don’t do many restaurant reviews, but thought that due to the hunting theme of Trophy’s, I would make an exception and give it a shot.

    We arrived a bit early, but were seated immediately. As you pass through the big wooden doors (adorned with animal carvings) you are greeted with a wolf, a mountain lion, and a moose. The main dining area is ringed with caribou mounts, along with elk, bison, pronghorn and more. The centerpiece of the room is a giant display containing 5 or 6 varieties of bear, including a polar bear. Toward the back of the area the bar is set-up, with sheep and a musk ox behind. there is also a room or two for private events, off of the main area. The decor (besides the mounts) is very well done.

    Our waitress Camille was awesome throughout. She didn’t hover, she didn’t disappear for extended periods of time. She was friendly and considerate, and helpful as well. So we started with the Elk and Buffalo Sliders. While we were waiting for those, the warm rolls were brought out, and they were great. The E&B Sliders were well presented, and yummy. Two loaded sliders were delivered - just enough for the 3 of us when divided into bite-sized pieces. My wife ordered the Shrimp Creole with salad, my daughter ordered a Trophy’s burger with fries, and I ordered the ribeye with sweet potato fries - led off with a bowl of Prime Rib soup.

    The soup was well done. Lots of meat, thick broth, and big chunks of potato. Minimal seasoning made it a great lead-in. My wife’s salad looked fresh and well done as well. The main course arrived, and we really dug in. My daughter went on and on about her burger, insisting that it was the best she’d had. My wife enjoyed the shrimp dish as well. My steak? Quite possibly the best I’ve had, rivaled only by the one I had at Ruth’s Chris several years ago - also on my birthday coincidentally, and at almost twice the price. Seriously, the steak was THAT good. The veggies (French-style green beans) were cooked al dente and pretty tasty. I liked the sweet potato fries, but they were a first for me. I kept thinking I needed something to dip them in, to offset the sweetness. I tried ketchup and mustard, with the mustard actually coming out on top. What I really kept thinking was something akin to that onion ring sauce that you get at Burger King. Anyway, the fries were cooked to perfection and looked great, the jury is just still out - on a “personal taste” basis…

    We were too full for dessert, but my wife and I did have a coffee. Coffee was rich and hot as well. The price was what you would expect for a steakhouse of this caliber. We only visit restaurants like this on special occasions, but we all agreed the quality of the food well exceeded the price. Long story short - be prepared to pay, but my family is unanimous - we think you’ll be happy. Our financial experience was “enhanced” by a gift certificate that my wife purchased on Restaurant.com.

    My only suggestion is to maybe have an avenue for people who want to try wild game to dip their toe in the water. I imagine that sportsmen and outdoors people that visit the restaurant don’t have a problem with buffalo burgers, but I think this is a great opportunity to introduce more people into the world of wild game meat. A sampler platter or something similar may be a great way to accomplish this. Some people may be intrigued by kangaroo medallions or antelope sausage, but may be leery of ordering the full entree, lest they don’t like it.

    You can find all of North America’s 29 Big Game animals at Trophy’s - it really is a sight to behold. They are located just east of Power Road, and slightly north of Germann. They are very easy to get to from the Loop 202 Santan freeway. I’m not sure about the economics of running a restaurant in this economy, especially one that is so hunter-friendly, and located in the southeast valley. That being said, I hope Trophy’s is able to flourish and prosper for a long time. They really are an awesome place to visit.

    More about the family behind Trophy’s:

    Trophy’s is owned by Kevin and Becky Dettler, who live in Gilbert, AZ at Power Ranch. Their sons, Kiel and Brett also manage the steakhouse.

    Our theme is the “North American 29″. Showcased here are all “29″ species of big game animals that inhabit North America. All of these animals were taken by Kevin. They were all taken with the same .300 Weatherby rifle. The name Trophy’s came about, as every animal here has qualified for the Safari Club International (SCI) record book of trophy animals. Kevin belongs to SCI, a worldwide hunting organization with more than 200,000 members. In their record book there are less than 120 members who have taken and registered the “North American 29″. In order to take the “29″, a hunter has to hunt Alaska, many Canadian Provinces, a large number of Western US states, and a few states in Mexico. This endeavor takes the hunter from
    glaciers, sea ice, tall remote mountains, deep canyons, deserts, and foothills. The weather ranges from -65 degrees below zero (hunting Polar bear or Muskox) to 90 degrees above zero (hunting Coues’ deer or Desert Bighorn sheep) Then there is rain, wind, and snow which seem to be a part of every successful
    hunt. Emotions range from elation, disappointment, anger, exhaustion, frustration, and great sense of accomplishment. This only covers feelings on the first morning of the first day, of what
    typically are 10-14 day hunts.

    The reason the “29″ is so elusive for many hunters, is because three things need to happen simultaneously for success. First, the hunter needs to be in great physical shape. It is not uncommon to be running six miles per day before a sheep or goat hunt. Second, a hunter needs to have the time to be gone for weeks at a time for each animal. In many cases, when trophy hunting, you come home without the animal you sought, and have to return again to hunt. Thirdly, a hunter needs the financial ability to cover the very high costs of hunting in North America. Kevin was very fortunate to have a very supportive family, including daughter Nicole, all of whom worked extra hard so he would have time to go hunting. Lastly, it didn’t hurt to have a somewhat understanding banker!

    Kevin, Becky, Kiel and Brett Dettler

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    Posted on 26th September 2009
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting, Products, Recipes | 3 Comments »

    A Great Dove Recipe

    Special thanks to Dr. Billy Griswold for this awesome recipe. He and his wife run the Priority Pet Hospital in Gilbert. They’re located on the southwest corner of Val Vista and Queen Creek. ~ DesertRat

    Dove Spread

    “You could call this pate, but you might run the risk of putting off your less-refined friends…”

    boneless/skinless breasts from 8-10 dove
    1/3 cup grated onion
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 cup dry sherry
    8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

    Rinse dove and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in skillet until smoking. Add dove and cook, undisturbed, until well-browned on one side, 1-2 minutes. Turn dove and cook until no longer pink. Remove dove from skillet and reduce heat to medium.

    Add onion, 1/4 tsp table salt, and pinch sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to caramelize. Deglaze skillet with water if necessary to avoid scorching of browned bits that stick to pan during cooking. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.

    Off, heat, add sherry, scraping up browned bits that stick to skillet. Return to medium heat and reduce until scant liquid remains.

    Combine dove and onion mixture in food processor and process until finely shredded. Add cream cheese and process until well-combined, scraping bowl sides as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Pack mixture into a small crock or terrine. Press plastic wrap tightly onto surface and refrigerate 24 hours. Spread on toast points, crackers, or crusty bread.

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    Posted on 12th September 2009
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting, Recipes | No Comments »

    Flavoring Your Fish & Game - From The WildCheff

    Another great newsletter from my friend Denny Corriveau - The WildCheff! The WildCheff is THE authority on wild game cooking, in my book. Visit his site, buy his spices and rubs, heed his counsel - you won’t go wrong. ~Desert Rat

    When approaching fresh or dried spices it is important to take into consideration a few key components in order to bring the greatest success to your cooking endeavors. Like a restrictive diet, Lord knows that food can be without flavor and have no life when we don’t inflect some type of seasoning. The key is to accent and never drown out what you eat by masking it with things like bottled marinades and other things that are loaded with salt and other unhealthy ingredients. You ultimately want to taste the quality of your fish and game and it needs to be the star of your plate, otherwise why bother eating it, right??? If you want to just taste soy, why not just grab a shot glass and have at it. For those of you who are soy lovers out there, I do use a special Japanese soy in certain dishes, I just don’t believe in drowning any meat or fish to where all you taste is the soy.

    As I teach in all my WildCheff Cooking Clinics, first and foremost you have to realize that every individual’s sensitivity for spice varies. Some like it hot and some don’t. Some like a lot of spice and some don’t. It is very parallel to the story of Goldilocks; you have to find that combination and amount that is just right for you . Additionally, you should take into consideration, if you have guests, what would matter to them.

    Take garlic for example. You can have garlic as an accent or a primary part of your dish. You can cook it raw, which, depending on how fine you chop it will determine the strength of flavor. If you roast the garlic in the oven and then use it in flavoring a dish, it can add a delicious sweet garlicky background. I particularly enjoy this in things like an aioli sauce or even in making roasted garlic potato salad to go with my fish or game during the warmer months. Garlic can also be used in its dried form and can accent meat, veggies, soups and side dishes.

    We all know that garlic is a great herb for our health and has been known to occasionally ward off things like vampires J Herbs like garlic can also have pros and cons. Depending on the individual, herbs like garlic can permeate through our pores, so eating it prior to a hunt may not be good or if you are looking for a kiss from your sweetheart you may want to hold off, but warding off mosquitoes may be a good thing if you are fishing.

    Other thoughts include the fact that certain herb combinations can create flavor profiles that can truly help you to cook dynamic recipes that yield tastes and aromas that make fish and game memorable.

    When you smell sage most of us associate it with Thanksgiving and rustic cooking styles. Spices like nutmeg can provide us with a hint of sweet and savory to certain recipes, while things like lemon zest or fresh basil can brighten a dish and bring a sense of freshness.

    I’m sure that you have tasted the combination of onion and garlic on many occasions and it is amazing how well that flavor blend works well together for many game dishes; yet when you add another herb to that mixture like rosemary or thyme it takes that taste in a whole other direction by adding additional layers of essence. Fresh lemon, when combined with sea salt, and fresh ground pepper and herbs can really add a lot of character to your fish. Then of course you can flavor your main course of game or fish with a few herbs and then season your side dish or sauce that accompanies it with other spices and herbs that compliment the main course and bring the whole meal together.

    Fresh dried herbs such as the WildCheff line of Spice Blends and Brines contain essential oils from the herbs that concentrate the flavor, which in turn will help you to accent and heighten the taste of your fish and game. Many of the spices that you purchase at the store tend to be somewhat outdated and have lost their luster due to having been warehoused and shelved for longer periods of time. Have you ever noticed when looking at them they often do not look fresh??? They also are in many cases, grown and treated with pesticides, and we all know what those due to our health. In addition, when you draw a comparison you will notice that 1/10th of an ounce will cost an average of $6.00 at your local market. The WildCheff Blends are all natural and organic ingredients and are a much higher value – costing an average of $7.99 for a 6 oz. jar (average of 13 tablespoons) vs. $6.00 for a couple of teaspoons of product that if often not very fresh. My blends are also hand-packed, ordered just in time to fill orders so they are fresh when you receive them. We also ship our orders within 24-48 hours of receiving your order so you receive your order quite often within just few days of when the order was placed. The Olive Garden liked them so much, they chose my Herbs de Provence to season two of their dishes nationally!!!

    Do yourself, your fish and game, and your dinner guests a tremendous favor the next time you want to cook your favorite species. Take a moment and visit the WildCheff website www.wildcheff.com and purchase a few Blends that appeal to you. There are 28 currently to choose from. I developed them so you can create any style, and apply any technique of cooking fish and game that you desire. We always include free samples of new blends to try – when is the last time your local market did that for you??? As outdoors enthusiasts, we want the best gun, fishing pole or equipment to enjoy our love of the outdoors. Why not look at how we cook what we harvest the same way???! Purchasing quality blends will make a noticeable difference in the quality of your fish and game cooking!

    No shopping for herb and spice ingredients that are hard to find, simply pick a blend for the type of cooking you want to do, lightly coat your fish or game with healthy olive oil and season it with your desired amount of WildCheff Spice Blends.

    They can also be used to season your veggies, create great homemade marinades, and flavor your sauces and standard meats too!!!

    Bon appetit


    The WildCheff

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    Posted on 26th August 2009
    Under: General, Products, Recipes | No Comments »

    The Wild Cheff Talks Turkey

    This recently sent to me by my friend Denny Corriveau, the Wild Cheff.

    Let’s Talk Turkey

    For many of you Spring turkey hunting brings about yet another opportunity to spend quality time in the woods. The challenge of calling in a sumptuous gobbler within shooting range without being detected is thrilling to experience!!!

    Ultimately your prize makes it to the table and there are so many delicious ways to slice up turkey recipes, here is one that can bring about a very special occasion for you to enjoy your feast and relive your hunt.

    All types of game are known to be lean, which is part of the health benefit. Have you ever thought of flavor brining your wild turkey??? Flavor Brining takes the magic of brining to a new level. Over time, the salt actually unwinds the complex proteins in the muscle tissue of the meat, making it tender. The salt solution infused with flavor from the addition of whole herbs, spices, and aromatics penetrates the cells of the meat, plumping them with moisture and flavor. Flavor Brining delivers moist and tender meat with great flavor.

    The WildCheff’s Brining Blends combine clean tasting ingredients such as California sea salt with Demerara sugar and whole spices such as star anise, green peppercorns, black sesame seeds, and chipotle peppers - all infused with aromatics like sesame oil, rosemary oil, and citrus oil. The result is layers of great flavor.

    Whether you intend to roast or deep fry your turkey, or just infuse flavor so you can create multiple tasty recipes from your wild turkey meat, flavor brining will get you even more excited about hunting this illustrious bird!

    The WildCheff has created 2 distinctive brines that will work extremely well with your wild turkey harvest:

    Downeast Farmhouse Brining Blend

    The Downeast Farmhouse Brining Blend yields flavor notes from garlic, rosemary, citrus and a hint of allspice berries. It’s a perfect fit for holiday turkeys and chicken. This Brine is great for slow roasting wild turkey that can be enjoyed for turkey dinner, wild turkey soup, wild turkey croquettes, wild turkey burgers, and even wild turkey grilled flatbreads.

    New England Smokehouse Brining Blend

    The Smokehouse Brining Blend relies on hickory-smoked salt and mesquite notes from chipotle peppers to deliver a pleasing, yet subtle smoke flavor accented with whole green peppercorns. This blend is a great choice for roasting or deep frying wild turkey, and works equally well with white fish.

    These Brines can be easily purchased from the WildCheff website. Brining guide included with all purchases.

    WildCheff has developed over 28 flavorful spice and sausage blends, as well as brines that are second-to-none for hunters, fishermen and outdoor cooking enthusiasts. They combine fresh and natural herbs and spices and will surely help you to take your fish and game cooking to a whole new level of taste sensation!!!

    To learn more, visit “The WildCheff” via his website at www.wildcheff.com and be sure to join his e-mail newsletter list to get relevant information on cooking your fish and game.

    Lights, camera, action!!!

    Be sure to be on the look-out as the WildCheff is currently being considered for his own cooking show series on the Outdoor Channel and The Food Network.

    I truly would appreciate your support in the pursuit of representing fellow sportsmen and outdoorswomen to these Networks – would it not be great to have a program that is specific to our interest in the outdoors, featuring fish and game cooking???! It would certainly shed a very positive light on the outdoors and educate the masses on the end prize of what we enjoy when we harvest all varieties of fish and game! More to follow….

    Bon appétit and happy hunting,

    Denny Corriveau
    Master Game Chef/Instructor
    National Pro-Staff Game Chef
    WildCheff Enterprises, LLC
    Amesbury, MA / Sebago Lake, ME


    “I’m Game if You Are!”

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    Posted on 6th May 2009
    Under: Events, General, Hunting, Press Releases, Products, Recipes | No Comments »

    The WildCheff Offers Great Cooking Tips

    My friend the WildCheff sent me this great article on game cooking. Some snippets:

    Now that you’ve shot it, how do you cook it? Sportsman’s Show features specialist in game cooking

    Staff Writer Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel 04/05/2009

    AUGUSTA — Scott Nadeau hunts deer, beaver, turkey and moose.

    He likes to eat what he brings home, so he spent some time Saturday learning new techniques from New England WildCheff Denny Corriveau.

    “It was very good,” he said after trying a bite of Tuscan venison flat bread. “I do a lot in the outdoors. I’m a pretty simple cook.”

    But, after spending an hour with Corriveau, Nadeau, of Limerick, said he now has some tips for doing things differently.

    Corriveau was one of many presenters at the State of Maine Sportsman’s Show, which continues today at the Augusta Civic Center. Now in its 29th year, the show features seminars on different types of hunting and exhibition space for boats, all-terrain vehicles, guides and others who love the outdoors.

    For starters, it’s important to be careful while removing the entrails so you do not cross-contaminate the meat, he said. He recommends bringing rubber gloves along on the hunt to keep things clean.

    Also, he likes to de-bone the animal and said it’s important to freeze the meat properly, making sure not to put away portions that are too large for your family to eat.

    And because game meats such as venison tend to be lean, he likes to cook with butter and olive oil to add fat and flavor. Corriveau has developed a line of seasonings he uses in different recipes and said sportsmen shouldn’t be shy about trying something new.

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    Posted on 5th April 2009
    Under: General, Hunting, Products, Recipes | No Comments »

    Frying The Thanksgiving Turkey

    I’ve had deep-fried turkey, and it was awesome! It’s definitely on my “to-do” list. If you’re ready to give it a whirl for the first time, fellow Blogger Mike Adams over at Hooks and Bullets posted a great “how to” article that lays out everything you need to know and do to deep fry a turkey.

    If you try Mike’s method, do me a favor - come back and post your results! Yummmm!

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    Posted on 24th November 2008
    Under: Recipes | No Comments »

    New Cookbook From The WildCheff

    Are You Ready for an Above Average Venison Food Experience???!

    The WildCheff invites you on a culinary journey of venison in his new and exciting cookbook – “I’m Game if You Are!” which features over 70 hand selected WildCheff signature dishes for all varieties of venison.

    The time is here now for hunting and harvesting; what better feeling can you have than knowing you have quality recipes “at-the-ready” so you can enjoy your venison with family and friends??!

    In this insightful cookbook the WildCheff provides you with delicious venison recipes for breakfast, appetizers, flatbreads (grilled pizzas), sausage recipes, main course and side dishes that will accent your game.

    Just like purchasing hunting equipment for a successful hunt, investing into something that will help you master the basics of wild game cooking is essential for you to fully enjoy what you have worked so hard to obtain!

    You are sure to impress yourself and others when you make these recipes.

    Order yours today at www.wildcheff.com as they are sure to sell out fast!!!

    Bon appétit and happy hunting,

    Denny Corriveau
    President/Master Game Chef
    National Pro-Staff Game Chef
    WildCheff Outdoors, LLC

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    Posted on 15th November 2008
    Under: General, Products, Recipes | No Comments »

    Fall News From The WildCheff

    WildCheff’s Fall Harvest Spice Pack & New WildCheff Spice Brines

    Fall is the time we concentrate on the harvest!!! Whether it is taking to the field in pursuit of your favorite game animal, or stopping by your local apple orchard for crisp apples and fresh pumpkins. There is nothing more reminiscent of Fall than those Fall flavors that fill the air in our kitchens. If you love to cook or eat quality food, we all know the flavors are generated by having just the right seasonings to fires up your passion for cooking, and eating!!!

    The WildCheff has made it simple by creating flavor packs that will truly make your recipes exciting!

    In this unique gourmet pack you will flavors of fresh herbs and spices that will elevate your savory recipes in a very attainable approach to cooking. Whether you are cooking any variety of game, or your family favorite recipes, these blends are sure to help create tasteful memories.

    The Fall Harvest Pack includes the following:

    1 – 6 oz jar WildCheff Sagebrush Blend

    1 – 6 oz jar WildCheff Tuscan Blend

    1 – 6 oz jar WildCheff Wild Onion Blend

    1 – 4 oz seasonal tin of WildCheff Mulling Spices

    1 - Seasonal 2.5 oz tin of WildCheff Pie Spices

    1 – Seasonal 2.5 oz tin of WildCheff Maple Sausage Blend

    Description of WildCheff Spices in pack:

    Sagebrush Outdoorsmen’s Blend
    is a savory blend of sage, thyme, garlic and other natural ingredients. It is a great for flavoring al types of game, meat and birds, as well as for stuffing and flavoring sauces and gravies.
    Tuscan Upland Game Blend is a soothing blend of fresh rosemary, garlic, lemon peel, green onion and other natural herbs and spices. Works very well with all types of game, red meat, birds, pork, lamb and fish.
    Wild Game Onion Blend is a compelling combination of 3-types of onion, Worcestershire, bouillon and other savory ingredients. Great for seasoning venison meats - making burgers, meatloaf and can also be used for things like roasted potatoes and dips.

    WildCheff Mulling Spices have a unique balance of cinnamon, allspice and cloves rounded with citrus notes from orange and just a hint of licorice from star anise. Great for mulled cider, homemade applesauce or poached pears.
    WildCheff Pie Spices add a wonderful flavor and aroma to holiday pies combining cinnamon, lemon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger for delicious apple and pumpkin pies. Also great for making apple crisp.
    New England Maple Game Sausage Blend is an addicting blend that combines “real” New England maple sugar with air-dried shallots, a hint of sage and other fresh herbs.

    New for Fall of 2008 – WildCheff Brining Blends

    WildCheff Brining Blends merge the WildCheff’s expertise in seasoning blends and sea salt. This is a convenient, all-natural, high-quality product that will enable you to easily create brines at home, resulting in pork, poultry and seafood with outstanding texture, moisture and flavor. With the leaves turning and Thanksgiving around the corner, now is the time to order. Find these in the Product Catalog at www.wildcheff.com

    $9.95 New WildCheff Brining Blends (come in a convenient 16 oz jar)

    New England Smokehouse Brining Blend
    relies on hickory-smoked salt and mesquite notes from chipotle peppers to deliver a pleasing, yet subtle smoke flavor accented with whole green peppercorns. This blend is a great choice for turkey and white fish.

    WildCheff Downeast Farmhouse Brining Blend yields flavor notes from garlic, rosemary, citrus and a hint of allspice berries. It’s a perfect fit for holiday turkeys and chicken.

    WildCheff Fiery Brining Blend has pungent notes from whole black peppercorns, jalapenos, and cumin with subtle additions from garlic and coriander. This is a versatile blend that works with everything from shrimp to pork

    WildCheff Oriental Brining Blend utilizes a wonderful combination of spices to deliver layers of flavor including sesame, garlic, coriander and ginger with a hint of anise making it a great choice for pork tenderloin or shrimp.

    Why Flavor Brining?

    Flavor Brining takes the magic of brining to a new level. Over time, the salt actually unwinds the complex proteins in the muscle tissue of the meat, making it tender. The salt solution infused with flavor from the addition of whole herbs, spices, and aromatics penetrates the cells of the meat, plumping them with moisture and flavor. Flavor Brining delivers moist and tender meat with great flavor.

    WildCheff Brining Blends combine clean tasting California sea salt with Demerara sugar and whole spices such as star anise, green peppercorns, black sesame seeds, and chipotle peppers - all infused with aromatics like sesame oil, rosemary oil, and citrus oil. The result is layers of great flavor.

    Please take a moment to check out the new flavors and “limited edition” WildCheff cooking aprons at http://www.wildcheff.com/id72.html

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    Posted on 16th October 2008
    Under: General, Products, Recipes | No Comments »

    Best Practices From The WildCheff

    here is a great article, reprinted in its entirety with permission from my good friend The WildCheff

    A “Best Practice” Approach to Wild Game

    What is Best Practice?
    A best practice is a technique or methodology that, through experience and
    research, has been proven to reliably lead to a desired result.

    To the best of my knowledge (which stems from over 25 years as a wild game chef) I have never seen or heard of anyone even attempt to create a “best practice” approach for cooking wild game. While there are no rules in my opinion when it comes to cooking, there can be various methodologies that are heavily influenced by where you live; some infuse your ethnicity or what you have personally experienced, while other practices are tied to what you know to this point in your life and tend to define your cooking style. There are in fact techniques that when put into practice, yield tremendous consistency concerning the preparation and outcome of your wild game. The goal of WildCheff has always been and will continue to be – to educate and inspire sportsmen and game enthusiasts on how to Master the basics of game cooking, and to help you develop creativity so you can fully comprehend and appreciate the diversity that wild game offers.

    Although many of us love all types of game, the majority of hunters that go afield every year for some type of venison variety; deer being the most sought after North American game animal - so, my initial focus in this column will be in helping you address learning some of the basic fundamentals of cooking venison in general.

    There are many ad-hock game cooks out there that simply get by with whatever method comes to mind at the moment. Some cooks throw a pat of butter in a pan and a bit of whatever seasoning is on hand; in many cases the seasoning is severely outdated and has been in the cupboard for a number of years, while others are of the belief that if they just throw some marinade, salad dressing or creamed soup over it, that it will at least it add some missing flavor they seek, or tame what they may consider the gaminess of the meat. Others like to use ingredients like salt pork to cook their game with; which is fine so long as you understand that it may adversely affect your health someday. I have to admit that I cannot make a quality pot of beans without it.

    Who is right, and who is wrong???! The best way to answer that question is to first ponder what a proper cooking method is vs. no established method at all. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I think we would all agree that in most cases some type of fat content needs to be added; this will ensure that your game stays moist; it also enhances the flavor which will make for a better recipe; bacon, olive oil and butter being the most predominant three choices.

    If you consider learning any subject, hands-on experience and repetition is the best teacher. The more you cook and try different methods, the more you will find out what works best and what doesn’t work at all. It is even better when you can shortcut the learning curve by gaining knowledge from somebody who has already made all the mistakes. Benjamin Franklin once made a statement that in order for him to invent electricity it took him over 1000 times of trial and error to find what method worked. I’m sure you won’t have to cook your game 1,000 ways to get it right, but I would make some suggestions, that if taken will yield you a consistency in your game cooking.

    Recently, a gentleman reached out to me as he was having severe challenges with cooking sea ducks (Eiders). He loved to hunt them, but stated that when attempting to cook them, he could not choke them down and he was ready to hang up the shotgun. I explained to him that you have to remember that you are what you eat, and you have to consider that game animals are subject to the environment that they live in. Sea ducks are one of the rare exceptions where marinating does help produce a better flavor so that they can be enjoyed. I prescribed a couple of marinades that are made with fruit juices, olive oil and the right herbs and he is now off and running again.

    My whole thought process for creating WildCheff Spice Blends was largely due to the fact that there has never been a series of products that I’ve known to exist in my 27 years of hunting that can help the novice or experienced game cook to produce consistent and diverse game dishes and flavor combinations that are of high quality. Yes, you can purchase the all-in-one powdered seasonings out there, but they are cheap and do not truly let your game shine. As with all things, you get what you pay for. My goal is to provide hunters and game enthusiasts with fresh herbs and spices, and a means to cook anything they could imagine with your game; by supplying you with customized herb blends that offer you clear direction based on the style of game dishes you’d like to enjoy; whether it be Tex/Mex or Southwestern, BBQ, rustic styled, stir-fried or any ethnic dish you can imagine – French, Irish, Italian/Tuscan, German, Swedish, etc.

    In my WildCheff – Wild Game Cooking Clinics I teach that venison is extremely versatile and can be enjoyed in multitudes of ways. It can be sautéed, broiled, grilled, roasted, stir-fried and stewed. It has a distinct and wonderful flavor that makes you yearn for more. Conversations tend to always focus on the tenderloin or back-straps, but you have to look at all venison cuts as worthy for some type of sumptuous recipe. When you feel challenged with the less desirable cuts, don’t get frustrated. Take the less tender cuts and make burger with them, which can be used in a host of recipes from gourmet burgers to meatballs, stuffed peppers, shepherd’s pie, stuffed cabbage, in Tex/Mex dishes, chili and in red sauce for lasagna and pasta dishes, as well as for making sausage, which can be enjoyed morning, noon and night in countless recipes. Lower end cuts of venison can be used to make great stews and braised dishes.

    When cooking venison steak, tenderloin and back-straps the key is to cook until it is medium rare or just a hair beyond and then pull it from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. This lets the juice redistribute throughout the meat so you end up with extremely tender and delicious venison.

    Never drown your venison in marinades, canned soup or things like Italian dressing. You can enhance the flavor of your game with wine, beer, and various brandy’s. Dried fruits like cranberry, cherry and blueberry can help add another dimension to your dishes. Fresh earthy veggies like onions, shallots and mushrooms, and aromatic herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme and garlic can also be of tremendous benefit to your recipes. It’s all about exercising some creativity. The key to remember is that you want to accent your game with flavors that help it to excel; but don’t replace the flavor of the game – your game should always be the star of your recipe!

    There is an old story of a woman whose husband asked her why she cut the end of her roast every time she cooked one. She stated to her husband that when she watched her mother do it over the years so she followed suit. They went to her mother and asked why she did it and the mother stated that was how her mother always did it. So, they went to the grandmother and asked her why she always cut the end of her roast off before placing it in the pan and the grandmother replied - “Because my pan wasn’t big enough!” When you are done laughing, you will get the point. Don’t just pour something over you game because that is all you have ever done or seen others do. Pouring things over your game is simply a way to get out of implementing methods and/or techniques that will make your game taste incredible vs. average. The bottom line is that you did not put in all that effort in harvesting an animal to not enjoy the taste of it. There will always be a segment of hunters that just like it plain and simple, and that’s o.k. – but many hunters and game enthusiasts desire to create food experiences that help them to discover new and exciting ways to enjoy their game.

    How do you eat an elephant??? One bite at a time! The next time you feel compelled to marinate your game steaks, medallions or loins - drizzle some olive oil over it and coat it with fresh herbs and spices that will accent it and not mask the true flavor of it. Let it sit in the marinade for 30 minutes to 4 hours and then set it on the counter and bringing it to room temperature before preparing it the way you like. Make sure it is always pink in the middle when you eat it and enjoy some great tasteful memories!!!

    Bon appétit and happy hunting,

    Denny Corriveau

    President/Master Game Chef

    Mossy Oak National Pro-Staff Game Chef

    WildCheff Enterprises, LLC

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    Posted on 2nd September 2008
    Under: Products, Recipes | No Comments »

    Denny Corriveau just keeps going “wild”!

    I took a minute to touch base with my friend Denny Corriveau, the WildCheff the other day. Wow! Denny’s business is going wild!

    Here’s what Denny had to say, when I asked him what was new:

    Marshall….lots going on….

    I was approached by the Editor of Ruffed Grouse Society as she wants to feature me and a couple of my recipes using my spice blends in their Fall magazine edition was also approached to do a co-authored piece for the NH Fish & Game featured in their Fall magazine about game butchering and game preparation

    I also was just asked to do a couple of events in Maine:

    1) Wild Game Cooking clinic, cooking demos and a book signing this October for Kittery Trading Post’s Hunters Gear up Weekend…and

    2) Also asked to be a judge and do a wild game cooking demo at a wild game cook-off for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (both are listed on my website)

    I also am going to be part of the POMA Speaker’s Bureau which will be launched at the Annual meeting (people will be able to hire me for speaking engagements)
    Mossy Oak has asked me to write cooking columns for them quarterly in their Mossy Oak Hunting the Country and Farming Wildlife magazines
    Northwoods Sporting Journal will be featuring “Cooking Tips” from me in their monthly magazine
    I just did a radio interview with Jim Ferguson (Great American Outdoor Trails) which will be Podcast and I believe on his internet site
    I also have 4 new Spice Blends that I have added to my line-up (they are only offered in a sample size currently - I also offer a sample pack now so people can try a smaller quantity to find their favorites/people can find it in my Product Catalog section of my website) The 4 new Blends are:
    WildCheff Lemon/Pepper (awesome for fresh or salt water fish, making Picatta or any lemon pepperecipes)
    WildCheff Sesame/Ginger (great for wild game stir-fry or coating fresh tuna or salmon steaks, as well as honey - sesame chicken, etc)
    WildCheff Jalapeno Flakes (awesome air-dried jalapenos to season any Tex/Mex recipe)
    WildCheff Chipotle Flakes (incredible smoked jalapenos that add a tremendous smokey heat to Southwestern and Tex/Mex dishes)
    I will be doing some filming soon for a couple DVD’s that I will be producing….

    Never a dull moment and much momentum happening….cookbook will be published soon.

    Keep in touch.

    Bon appetite,

    Denny Corriveau
    President/Master Game Chef
    Mossy Oak National Pro-Staff Game Chef
    WildCheff Enterprises, LLC
    Amesbury, MA /Sebago Lake, ME
    “We’re Game if You Are!”

    Denny also let me in on something very big that is brewing with Mossy Oak - more to follow on that!

    Venison Fajitas w/ WildCheff

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    Posted on 26th July 2008
    Under: General, Interviews, Products, Recipes | No Comments »

    Mmmm.. wild sausage

    I have had a lot of folks recommend Denmark Sausage Co. for having your wild game processed. One of their biggest fans is my friend JLG who posts over at the AZSJ Forum.

    From the Denmark Sausage site:

    The Very Best in Wild Game Sausage in ARIZONA is made by Denmark Sausage Co. from your boneless Elk, Deer,
    Antelope, Javelina, Bear, Etc. We make a large selection of fresh, frozen, or smoked sausages.

    Here at Denmark Sausage Co. we take pride in making the finest top quality wild game sausage out of your wild game meat. We use only the finest spices and the freshest pork (or beef) in creating a variety of wild game sausage items sure to please the whole family. With more than 32 years experience in making sausage out of your wild game you can be sure that the meat you bring us will be made into your favorite sausage items.

    Mmmm.. have a look:

    Summer Sausage (Hot or mild) 3lb. Sticks $2.29 lb
    Summer Sausage 1 lb. Stick
    $2.49 lb
    Jalepeño/Cheese Summer 3 lb
    $2.99 lb
    Slim Jim Sticks (Mild)
    $3.69 lb
    Pepper Sticks (Hot)
    $3.69 lb
    Jalepeño/Cheese Links
    $2.99 lb
    $2.19 lb
    $2.19 lb
    Ring bologna
    $2.19 lb
    Wieners (Skin On)
    $2.69 lb
    Bratwurst (Hot or mild)
    $1.69 lb
    Beer Brats
    $1.69 lb
    Italian Sausage (Hot or Mild)
    $1.69 lb
    $1.69 lb
    Bulk Breakfast (Hot or Mild)
    $1.69 lb
    Link Breakfast (Hot or Mild)
    $1.89 lb
    Jerky-Ground & Formed (Hor or Mild)
    $5.95 lb
    Burger with Beef or Pork
    $ .99 lb
    Gound Meat, nothing added
    $ .69 lb

    I have already decided that this is where I am heading, the next time I fill a tag!

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    Posted on 15th April 2008
    Under: General, Products, Recipes | No Comments »

    Kentucky Eggnog

    You know, with Christmas coming and all…


    24 Egg Yolks
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 Jamaican Rum
    1 qt Vanilla Ice Cream
    2 Bottles (fifths) of 101 Proof Kentucky Bourbon
    1 qt heavy cream, Whipped.

    Beat sugar into egg yolks until light and well aerated. Stir in rum and let mixture stand one hour until rum flavor has cooked the eggs. Add Bourbon. Just before serving stir in whipped cream and softened ice cream.
    Pour into well chilled punch bowl, or keep half in fridge and refill as needed.

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    Posted on 16th October 2006
    Under: Recipes | No Comments »