Monday, February 10, 2014

It is no secret so many that I like good food and less surprising is that fact that I much rather make my own food at home than go out to a restaurant to dine.  At the center of my love for creating the perfect home dining experience is creating the ultimate dishing for the holy trinity of  Big game animals,  Elk, Deer and Wild Boar.  I know there are others that would be included, Big Horn Sheep, Red Stag, Axis and a few others, but this is my Sacred 3, because it is what is available to me easily. So enough with the diatribe on to the food.

First all game animals have their place on the table, but not all cuts are created equal.  Some are for steaks, some are for the crock-pot.  Elk is by far my favorite of the meats and I prefer to have it medium rare with a strong pairing of sauces that are either Ginger, Teriyaki or Berry Based. Today it is Blackberry sauce. Because of the generosity of my friend Al at SoCal Bowhunter I came into a few pounds of elk.  So here goes one of my favorite elk recipes.  Its pretty easy and tastes really good.

What you will need-

  • 2 lb Elk Steaks cut to 1" pieces
  • 2 cups Blackberries
  • 2 cups Polish Vodka
    • Plus 1 Cup to drink while cooking, I prefer mine with a twist of lime.
  • 1 1/2 Tbls Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 2 Tbls Kosher Salt
  • 1 Medium Shallots Cut to strips
  • 1/2 Tbls Chopped Garlic or 1 Clove
  • 2 Tbls Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbls Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Dry Red wine
    • I prefer either Cabernet Frac or Cabernet Savion
  • 3 Tbls Olive Oil for Browning Steaks
    • Butter works as well
The Instructions-
  1. I am using an Elk Roast sliced to 1/2" Thick Slices and then let set to room temperature, it is easier to slice when it is cold, but needs to start cooking at room temperature.
  2. Preheat your oven to 500 Degrees
  3. Add Garlic, Red Wine, Worcestershire Sauce, Pepper and Salt to the Elk Steaks and set a side.
  4. Cut onion in half and then cut into strips, set aside.
  5. Put blackberries into bowl and add Vodka and maple syrup, give the berries a head start and with a fork lightly smash a few of them so that the vodka turns purple and the flavors start to infuse.
  6. Heat cast iron skillet with medium-high heat with 3 Tbls olive oil.
  7. Add steaks to skillet and brown on one side 4-6 minutes, depending on range.
  8. Once Elk is browned on one side turn over and place in middle rack in the oven.
  9. 5 to 7 minutes later remove cast iron skillet from oven and place on place in warm area to rest.
  10. Turn heat to medium and add shallots to cast iron pan till semi-translucent.
  11. Once Completed add vodka, berries and maple syrup to skillet and reduce to low-medium heat till it reduces by half.
  12. Blackberries sauce should be still be a liquid and not reduced till a heavy sauce.
  13. When done its time to plate and eat, parable side would be A Mushroom and onion with raw goat milk sauce and a Garlic-Potato side dish.

Give it a try and enjoy, one of my favorite Elk dishes, if you don't have elk try venison or any antlered big game.  Also save your mushrooms and extra meat and save for an tasty omelette the next morning.


Tony the Bearded Boar

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Building an Archery Range.....In My Back Yard

  My first archery range at my house was a small hay bail in the front yard that I hid behind my wooden fence that was about 20 yards.  Then I graduated to a block target when my new Mathews Reezen started to punch through that hail bail on a consistent basis and would slam into my concrete wall. For some reason concrete walls and Easton St. Axis arrows don't play well together. So as I started to move around the house I was able to get out to 35 yards if I set the targets in the corner of my property and then shot from the other side of the yard.  I don't think my neighbors knew what was going on and if they did I am sure they would not have liked it very much. Fast forward to the present day and my new home in the mountains.

I went from a 1/4 acre rental to my current spread of 4 1/2 acres. By no means huge, but it works for me and my family.  I have toyed with all sorts of lay outs for a range, a traditional firing line and then a walk around course.  But, with the possibility of the SoCal Bowhunter and the Strother Archery Rep coming up for a visit and field shoot I had to make some changes.  Then it donned on me, I did not have a good place for my Kids to shoot either. And given my last post , I Almost Gave Up Hunting, it was fitting that I made some adjustments for the others shooters in my family.

So Que the A-Team theme music, get the Honda quad and my kids in tow.

After a quick dismantling of the current setup I went to a new format of range.  A firing line-Course mixed layout. Both kids helps gather the course markets, hay bails, block targets and were cutting pads and building platforms in the new areas.  They were really keen to help, though I just think they wanted to ride atop the hay bails on the quad, and in an hours time we had ourselves an new range with positions set up at 10, 20, 30, 40, 45, 50, 65, 80 and really on out to your wildest reaches if you shot over the corral. A "Please don't shoot the Goats" sign will need to be put up though.

Best part of the day was the very end where my son and I were able to have a great father-son shoot.  And though his bow is not the greatest, do yourself a favor never by the Bear Archery Kids bows, we had a great time working and teaching the kids how to set up the range for shooting.  After the chaos subsided I was able to sight in my new HHA Optimizer XL5510, but that is for another post.
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