Thanksgiving Wild Turkey

from SeriousEats.com and The Wild Chef cookbook

There is nothing like sitting down for a traditional family meal with a bird you brought home. Upgrade your feast this year with—what else?—bacon.

Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes. Serves 6 to 10.

Ingredients:

¾ lb. fatback, salted pork, or bacon (½ lb. minced, ¼ lb. sliced)
1 wild turkey, 11-13 lbs.
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, minced
3 ribs celery, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. toasted diced bread
1 c. chicken stock
6 sprigs sage, minced
2 sprigs rosemary, minced
8 sprigs Italian parsley, minced

Preheat the oven to 350℉. In a heavy saute pan, slowly cook half the minced bacon. Set aside and keep warm.

Dry turkey very well with paper towels. Using a brush, coat the outside with some of the warmed bacon and season well with salt and pepper inside and out.

Heat up the rest of the minced bacon on medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add celery and cook 5 minutes more. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add toasted bread cubes. Moisten with chicken stock and add minced herbs. Taste the bread cubes, adding more broth and herbs as needed—they should be moist and delicious.

Gently fill the cavity of the turkey with bread cube mixture. Cover the breast with the remaining slices of bacon.

Place the turkey, breast side up, in a heavy roasting pan. Roast in oven for 1 hour. Remove the bacon pieces, raise the oven temperature to 375℉, and continue roasting for 1 hour to brown the breast.

Remove the turkey as soon as it registers 160℉ on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone.

Let the turkey rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving across the grain with a sharp knife.

Serve up for your family and enjoy the holiday!

 

When hunting with companions, you want to bring home game and keep everyone safe. That’s why it’s important that you know your safe zone-of-fire.

Your safe zone-of-fire spans about 45 degrees directly in front of you. If a flushed bird flies into your zone, it’s time to shoot—but as soon as the bird crosses into another hunter’s zone, hold your fire!

You can identify your safe zone-of-fire by staring straight at something in the distance, extending your arms straight out to either side of your body, making fists with your thumbs held up, and gradually bringing your arms inward until both of your thumbs are in focus without moving your eyes. That span represents the outer edges of your safe zone-of-fire. Easy!

You keep your firearm in top condition … until you stumble in the mud. How can you quickly clear the gunk out of your gun barrel and get back on the hunt?

  1. First, get to safe footing.
  2. Open the action and unload your gun.
  3. Remove the barrel according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
  4. Pull the portable cleaning rod out of your hunting kit, and use it to push the mud or other debris out of the barrel from the breech end.
  5. Flip your rod around and use the other end to polish your barrel with a cloth.

Now that your barrel is clear, reassemble your firearm and get back to the hunt!

Remember, certain carry positions provide better protection against brush and other debris that could clog your barrel. Make sure you are carrying your firearm in a way that is safe for you, your companions, and the terrain.

Grilled Cajun Venison Bites

Food photography from user “gammy in tx”; recipe from from Food.com

These bite-size morsels make a great appetizer or a meal on their own. Serve on toothpicks or as kabobs.

Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:

1 lb. venison (backstrap or tenderloin)
1 lb. bacon
16 oz. Italian dressing
1-2 Tbsp. Tony Chachere’s Seasoning (or similar)
Toothpicks

Cut the venison into bite-size pieces. Cut bacon into 3- to 4-inch pieces (if using wide bacon, cut strips in half, lengthwise, before cutting down to size). Wrap each piece of venison with a strip of bacon, using a toothpick to hold the bacon in place.

Place wrapped venison in a plastic bag and cover with Italian dressing. Marinate overnight.

Remove meat from the plastic bag and sprinkle with seasoning. Grill over an open flame until bacon is crisp, turning often. (Tip: Use a fish basket or wooden skewer to turn all the venison bites at the same time.) Cook 15 minutes, or until venison is cooked through.