Blackened Alligator Tacos with Maque Choux Salsa and Remoulade Sauce

Finally getting the opportunity to work with alligator, I wanted to do a Louisiana mash-up that only a kid from Ontario would dare. Blackened gator, maque choux, and remoulade sauce all seemed like good bedfellows, but I decided to go further and jam them all into corn tortillas for Bayou-style tacos. These totally untraditional tacos are a bit wacky, but they taste great and are a wonderful way to enjoy the very unique alligator meat!Note: some blackening spice blends can be very salty, so taste it before you coat your gator in it.

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Shaved Venison Bagels with Horseradish Cream Cheese

These bagels make for a hearty handheld meal and are truly delicious. If you’re into a high stack of meat on your sandwich, allot ½ lb of venison per person. If you’d prefer a normal amount of meat, do ¼ lb instead.
If you’re going to be making a bagel sandwich this special, it is well worth it to find a bakery that sells freshly made bagels. I find the smoky woodfired Montreal-style bagels go particularly well with the venison, but it’s up to you.
A meat slicer would be very helpful with this recipe, but if like me you don’t have one, just strive to slice the meat as thinly as possible. If you happen to have some flaky finishing salt around, knock some over the venison after you’ve shaved it to amplify those meaty flavours even more!

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Venison Steak and Mushroom Miso Ramen

This hearty and delicious soup was inspired by Japanese miso ramen, one of the three types of basic ramen soup in Japan.
I made my version by adding white miso paste (available in most large grocery stores these days) to venison bone broth along with aromatics, and water used to reconstitute dried shiitake mushrooms. Dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid add something special to the dish but if you can’t find them feel free to use fresh, though you’ll have to sauté them first. I must say, the flavour of rich meaty venison broth mixing with the freshly seared venison steak was phenomenal and a nice change from the more common braised meat you find in soups.
Have fun with the garnishes. You’ll definitely want a jammy egg in there, but customize the rest of your ramen by adding any or all of the garnishes I’ve suggested, or you can come up with some of your own!

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Vietnamese Style Lake Trout Salad

This vibrant salad was inspired by Vietnamese gỏi xoài, a dish usually made with green mango and shrimp. 
Swapping the shrimp for pieces of poached lake trout works wonderfully with the piquant dressing; the fish’s strong taste shines through without overpowering. Using ripe mango instead of green adds a nice sweetness to the dish.
Use a large assortment of colourful root vegetables and mixed fresh herbs to create a breathtakingly vibrant salad that will impress everyone who sees it! 

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Country Fried Goose Gizzards with Sausage Gravy

This is an absolutely delicious way to enjoy those goose gizzards you brought back from the hunt. Simmering them for 3 hours (or overnight in the crockpot) will result in tender meat that bears no resemblance to the chewy gizzards you may have tried in the past. Frying them until crispy and smothering them in sausage gravy only makes them better. I served them with a vinegary coleslaw laced with horseradish to cut through all of that savoury richness, but you could do something like mashed potatoes instead. After trying this recipe, you’ll not only be sure to bring every gizzard home with you from now on, you’ll be begging your friends for theirs too!

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On Cooking Ducks and Geese

As I peruse social media hunting groups and online threads, I continually see a constant stream of confusion, misrepresentation, and disinformation about cooking wild ducks and geese. Every thread or comment section looks a little like this:

geese are gamey; ducks are greasy; just throw it all in a crockpot; they’re too tough; tastes like liver; aren’t worth eating; carp of the sky; best roasted whole; turn it all into jerky; just leave ‘em in the field; pukey face emoji; cover them with salt and pepper, cook on high, put on a plate, garnish with parsley, dump it into the garbage, and eat the plate.

Most of these comments are patently false or misleading, and I’d die a happy man if I never heard that lame, unoriginal joke at the end there ever again.

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Summery Noodle Salad with Canada Goose

Goose often gets relegated to autumnal meals, full of heavy sauces and rich flavours, but it can also shine in a light, summery meal like this one. This is also a great way to help clear your freezer of last year’s goose in preparation of this year’s hunting season. Use whatever vegetables you have that are at their peak of ripeness; this time of year it is tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and basil. You can find packages of dried ramen noodles at any Asian grocer or many large grocery chains, but if you can’t seem to find them, just use the packages of instant ramen soup available everywhere. Simply set aside or discard the seasoning packet (try it on popcorn!) and use the noodles for the salad. This meal is best enjoyed eaten outside in the sun!

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Nashville Hot Pike Sandwiches

This was honestly the best fish sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Using a slightly modified take on the now-classic Nashville Hot Chicken recipe, I subbed in pike fillets (tasty and tender, yet firm), and put it all on a bun. I used sorrel instead of lettuce because I like the way the tartness cuts through the richness of the fried fish and sauce, much like the lemon or vinegar you get with fish and chips, but you can use regular iceberg or romaine lettuce instead. This isn’t a healthy recipe by any means, so make it a treat and go all in for the heavy oily goodness of the hot sauce that the fried pike gets smothered in!

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