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Hunting seasons are ending across the country and it has me thinking about all of the high quality meat that is now filling my freezer, and the freezers of hunters across the country. Here at Harvesting Nature we enjoy cooking our wild game just as much as hunting for it.
It doesn’t take much to create some amazing wild game dishes with the equipment that is in a normally stocked kitchen. But there are a few essential pieces of equipment that I recommend every wild game cook should have in order to take their meals to the next level.
One of the most important pieces of equipment in a wild game cook’s kitchen is a good set of knives. A dull knife is not only ineffective and frustrating, it’s also dangerous. One knife does not do it all, so make sure there is a knife that is properly suited to handle the specific tasks needed. Whether it’s a fillet knife, a boning knife, or a chef’s knife make sure it’s the right tool for the job. Having a good, sharp set of knives is necessary to easily fillet that walleye or salmon, skin and debone that whitetail, and carve that wild turkey. Knives are an item that lives by the saying “you get what you pay for,” so spend a little more to save some time and frustration later.
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Enchilada Fries! Venison sausage! Wild rabbit chili! Hungry yet? What do these meals have in common? A meat grinder. If you are a wild game cook it is a must to have a quality meat grinder. With it, you have the ability to exponentially expand your wild game menu. Many meat grinders on the market also come with sausage stuffing attachments, so they are a worthy investment.
There is a sense of satisfaction when I look in my freezer and see nicely sealed packages neatly stacked up. Having a well-organized freezer ensures that there are no cuts of meat that are left to be forgotten in the bottom of the freezer. A vacuum sealer helps accomplish this goal, while keeping that hard earned wild game protected from freezer burn.
Enamel Coated Dutch Oven
From venison chili or squirrel noodle soup to fried perch or Osso Buco, an enamel coated Dutch oven is a must have in the kitchen for a wild game cook because of its versatility. I recommend the enamel coated Dutch oven because it is much easier to clean and maintain, and doesn’t require the necessary seasoning that an uncoated Dutch oven must have, while still providing the benefits of cast iron.
If you really want to up the ante with your wild game cooking repertoire, then a smoker is essential. There are many different types of smokers available, all with their own benefits and draw backs. For a beginner, I would recommend an electric smoker. It is one of the easiest to operate, with almost a “set it and forget it” ease of use. The temperatures are very easy to manage and maintain, and they have the ability to smoke at low temperatures. Pellet grills offer a similar ease of use as electric smokers and are becoming more popular. Traeger’s line of wood pellet grills are a great place to start.
Charcoal smokers are a little more difficult to use but can provide amazing meals with excellent smoke flavor. I personally have a Kamado Joe ceramic grill for most of my smoking needs. There is a learning curve when it comes to dialing in the temperature of a charcoal smoker, which can be frustrating at times. But, the time it takes to learn the process is a small price to pay for the amazing wild game dishes that can be created while using it.
Having deliciously prepared wild game meals is one of the main motives we take to the woods. This equipment helps elevate our hard earned protein. So get stocked up, get in the kitchen, and start cooking!