Growing up as a sixth generation Moabite with the dual four figure income of a uranium miner and an elementary school teacher in the furthest reaches of southeastern Utah meant the only “fresh” food my family enjoyed came from the garden we grew, the lakes we fished, or the animals we hunted.
I don’t remember the first time I had a trout dinner by a lakeside campfire or the first breakfast of elk steak and eggs because these moments weren’t memorable experiences. They were just an essential piece of everyday life in a rural town. My father treated the outdoors with the same approach a city dweller takes with the grocery store. Shortly after graduating college, I returned to my roots of the southeast Utah, with its bounty of wild game and fish, because the unique tastes, smells, and even sounds cannot be replicated, or even simulated, in even the finest restaurants.
I started my website, huntingandcooking.com, as a personal journal for documenting my own wild game experiences.I spent a lot of time watching cooking shows to learn about how to properly use a knife, how to mix spices, herbs, fats, and more to create flavor profiles that enhance the protein you are working with, and how to properly cook items (I was, and will say I still am somewhat, notorious for drying out chicken). I have focused my efforts on the value creating unique flavors and using cooking techniques that flourish with color and sound. My favorite sound in the world is a steak hitting a hot skillet.While I primarily share my recipes with my family and friends, and have developed a desire to introduce wild game to my friends who tell me “no thanks” because they find deer “gamey,” I have started to share more on social media platforms and work to continually grow my audience. I also started a radio show in my local town where I share recipes, cooking techniques, and hunting and fishing techniques.
Cooking wild game also sparked my curiosity about hunting. When preparing wild game recipes, you develop a desire to mix the flavors you find in the wild, such as berries, herbs, or mushrooms, with the game you are working with. This then leads to a wondering about processing your meat. I started asking to be part of the cleaning and processing step of a hunt, and learned how to skin, debone, and clean different animals such as elk, deer, pronghorn, birds, and fish. After a few years helping clean and process other’s harvests, I strongly wanted to do partake in the entire process. The thought of hunting was scary to me, I didn’t know how I would react, but I wanted to see. Hunting has taught me so much about myself. It isn’t easy. It isn’t always fun. I fail a lot. But I love it!