Jump to content


participating member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    Foothills of Alberta

Recent Profile Visitors

739 profile views
  1. sjemac

    Moose (Merged topic)

    Have you used pine smoke before? I have a ceramic cooker and I'm active on the Komodo Kamado forum (http://www.komodokamado.com/forum). There, I've long advocated putting wood chips or chunks in a cast iron dutch oven with a few small holes drilled in the bottom, and the lid sealed on with flour paste. (This is to place on a charcoal fire, temperature controlled like sous vide by a PID controller.) The idea is to "distill" the most pleasant part of the smoke, making it one more flavor in balance. Even then, I prefer apple to stronger wood smokes for most purposes. I'm having trouble imagining that pine smoke would contribute a desirable flavor. A very light smoking with pine does depending on the recipe. Maybe a half hour at most.
  2. Use a really big meat saw. I use this one on my homegrown pork and not a chipped bone to be found.
  3. sjemac

    Moose (Merged topic)

    Hey Alex, Depending on how the moose was cared for, it can definitely benefit from a few days in the fridge. Was it hung for any amount of time before butchering? Old or young moose? If I've been forced to butcher an animal before the optimal hanging time of 14 days (I had to butcher my moose two days after taking it) I take my roasts and after defrosting them I put them in a large ziploc with a huge wad of paper towel underneath and leave it in the fridge for a few days. This improves the flavour and texture somewhat though not nearly as much as proper aging on the bone does. Sous vide works excellently with elk and moose. I recently did an elk roast sous vide for 12 hours at 130 F and it turned out perfect. For moose I would not go past 135 F (140 max). It is a lean lean animal and temps of 145 and higher are considered well done. 48 or even 24 hours of sous vide is sometimes too much for game like moose and deer. The meat stays nice and pink but the texture can get somewhat mushy -- almost chalky. Moose loin is of a much finer grain than other parts of the animal and more susceptible to this effect than beef. The pic below is of the sous vide elk roast. I Jaccarded it (I would NOT do this for loin), seasoned with salt and pepper and vac packed it in a bag with chiles, lime slices, red onion and olive oil and cooked it for 12 hours at 130 F (54.5 C). Seared it with a torch afterwards. 135 F would give a lighter pink and 145 F would be bordering on gray. The beautiful thing about sous vide is that you could go for 12 hours and then check for texture and doneness -- if happy, chill and rebag and simply bring it up to temp on the day of the meal. If not, rebag and place it back in the bath for more time. Smoking lightly afterwards and then searing should be fine. I liken moose to really beefy tasting beef, you notice that it is not beef but it does not have the tang that deer does, the flavour is deeper and rounder than venison. Big red wines and dark beers were made for it.
  4. sjemac

    Dinner! 2012

    Sous vide elk roast on small white beans and split peas.
  5. sjemac

    Dinner! 2012

    Pheasant and kale soup. Broth from pheasant carcasses and the meat from the drumsticks of the pheasants -- normally interlaced with bony tendons in wild birds like these.
  6. sjemac

    King of the Ducks

    The Canvasback was long considered to be the supreme being in the waterfowling world. In the market gunning days of the early 1900's a pair of Canvasbacks would fetch $7.00 at the butcher shop (roughly $200 today). The birds were nearly hunted to extinction at the time but have rebounded to become relatively common throughout North America and particularly common in Alberta. Prime male Canvasback Young of the year Canvasback (far left perfect for eating -- colorful plumage does not develop until second year). I don't get very many of these every year so I made a point of using this one to it's maximum potential. I skinned it and removed the breasts and legs as well as reserving the heart, liver and gizzard. Pictured are the breast fillets, the liver (bottom right), and the heart (top right). The breast on the bottom left had a bit more damage fromt the bird shot than I was happy with so I thought to use it differently. The gizzard I confitted in olive oil with garlic, juniper berries, peppercorns etc. I made a small pate from the liver and put together a puttanesca style tartare with the heart. The legs were seared and braised in soy, mirin and duck stock made from the carcass. The shot-up breast, I carefully trimmed and then hand chopped with some pork fat to make a slider topped with a bit of blue cheese and red onions. Whith the intact breast I prepared it veryl simply by salting it and searing it in a super hot pan for a minute a side before resting and slicing. Clockwise from top left: Canvasback slider, Confit Canvasback gizzard on Canvasback liver pate, Canvasback heart tartare, seared Canvasback breast , soy and mirin braised Canvasback legs. A lot of work and prep but so worth it.
  7. Not Pastrami but corned moose tongue and heart.
  8. sjemac

    Moose (Merged topic)

    One of the "benefits" to living in the frozen north is the availability of local ingredients uncommon elsewhere. This year we had the opportunity to put one of natures great delicacies in the freezer and a LOT of it at that. Enter a 900+ lb bull moose. 12 hours of work turned that into abour 600 lbs of component parts and pieces -- all nicely labelled for packing. One of the first meals. A seared round roast that was finished by wrapping it in the rind of a freshly smoked slab of homemade bacon before cooking to an internal temp of 135. This week. Corned moose heart and tongue. Steamed on on rye with saur kraut and swiss. Flavour wise, moose is like a "beefier" beef. It is like the flavour of oxtails but through the entire animal -- even when med rare. The shanks make for an amzingly rich stew. Will post more as we empty the freezer.
  9. sjemac

    Wild Game Cookery

    Ringnecks have long been one of my favorite ducks to eat. Don't get them too often in my present location however.
  10. I actually used the pigs to clear up some of the underbrush on our place so I fenced them into about a 1/4 acre at a time to accomplish this. I simply moved them when they had ripped up the area to to my satisfaction. You can raise one in a 50 sq ft pen if you wish but this is not the best quality of life for the pig. By putting pigs on fresh earth (earth that hasn't had pigs on it for a couple of years) you can avoid having to give dewormers and antibiotics to the pigs. X 2 on the need for two pigs. They grow faster and are happier with a buddy. We kept one for ourselves and sold off the other to cover the cost of feed for the second pig.
  11. Now this is what I really wanted to raise my own pork for: Nice fat cap. Look at the marbling. After pan roasting: With some carmelized onions. Inside. A little on the overdone side for me normally but the marbling kept the meat moist and tender. Saved about 5lbs of uncured belly to use over Christmas holidays.
  12. Freezing should have no effect in the short term. In fact I just defrosted and cooked a moose loin that was vac packed in 2008 and it was just as good as the day I packed it. Med rare to rare is still the way to go. In my house if you want a steak of any kind well done -- you'd better order out for it.
  13. sjemac

    Two flavors of grouse

    I shot these myself while deer hunting (I carry a little shotgun in a backpack for such targets of opportunity). Usually we go after them seriously using dogs and better shotguns. I've hunted them all and bagged all of them but Blue Grouse who live quite high up in the mountains and are difficult get a bead on. After Ruffed grouse, ptarmigan are my favorite to eat (the famed Red Grouse of Scotland are simply a sub-species of willow ptarmigan that don't turn white in winter). The birds pictured are different species who can exist in the same area because they exploit different food supplies. The crop of nearly every spruce grouse this time of year will look the same as the one pictured. Same goes for the ruffed grouse. The legs and keel bone go into a stock pot (the tendons in the legs are so tough they are essentially bones). The innards, head, wings and back go to the cats. We also have partridge, pheasant and wild turkey but they are all non-native birds.
  14. There are 5 species of huntable grouse in Alberta with Ruffed Grouse and Spruce Grouse being the most common (the other 3 are Blue Grouse, Sharptailed Grouse, and Ptarmigan). I was lucky enough this fall to pick up a brace each of ruffed grouse and spruce grouse on the same day and decided to do a taste test. All the birds were hung for a week before gutting and cleaning. Ruffed grouse in foreground. Spruce Grouse Ruffed grouse breasts on the right, spruce grouse on the left. The crop of the ruffed grouse full of rosehips. That of the spruce grouse gives rise to its name: spruce needles and kinnickinnick berries. Breast fillets simply seasoned with salt, pepper and a little Szechuan peppercorns. Sauteed in butter for a couple of minutes a side and served with roasted carrots and parsnips and a simple vinagrette slaw. Ruffed grouse at the bottom of the pic and spruce grouse above it. Tasting notes: Ruffed grouse is definitely the milder of the two and the most like chicken (a chickenier, tangy chicken) that could easily go into just about any dish that features chicken breast. In fact a good chicken dish would be elevated into something great simply by substituting ruffed grouse for the chicken (much shorter cooking time though). I would rate it as superior to pheasant. Spruce grouse is often maligned around here as being "bad" tasting. It does not taste like ruffed grouse but is not gamey in any way. It has undercurrents of juniper berry in it (makes sense with the diet) and is more like a cross between chicken and duck in flavour. I served it on the med-rare side and that seems to be the perfect doneness for this bird. It would hold up quite well to sauces featuring juniper berries, rosemary and/or red wine. Ruffed grouse is usually the first game meat I introduce people to and then gradually move them on to birds and critters with more flavour.
  15. Chronic Wasting Disease: the deer equivalent of Mad Cow. No evidence thus far that it can transfer to humans but all jurisdictions are playing it safe. Here in Alberta, they've designated a 100 km buffer zone alongside the neighboring eastern province and intend to kill every single deer in that zone to keep the disease from spreading to our herds. If that sounds impossible, digest the fact that Alberta is completely rat free and is the only place in continental North America that can make that claim. We actually have an official "rat patrol" that cruises the borders and kills every rat they find sign of. Rats are a lot smaller and furtive than deer be.
  • Create New...