Son of a Blitch

Ep. 43 Lance Lewis: A Culinary Master’s Take on Hunting and Cooking

November 16, 2023 George Blitch Season 1 Episode 43
Son of a Blitch
Ep. 43 Lance Lewis: A Culinary Master’s Take on Hunting and Cooking
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, George Blitch sits down with Lance Lewis of Tagged Out Kitchen, a professionally trained chef and seasoned hunter, who blends his passions for the wilderness and the kitchen, to deliver unique hunting and cooking experiences. 

From sharing his personal journey from his roots in Louisiana to living in Colorado, Lance provides a fascinating glimpse into his journey to becoming a well know Wildgame Chef and running his company, Tagged Out Kitchen.. 

We further delve into the science of cooking, the benefits of experimentation, and the nuances of meat preservation. From discussing the art of smoking to offering tips for aspiring chefs, Lance shares his invaluable insights. He details the butchering of a bison that was well over 2,000 pounds, and how he did everything with a 6" knife. 

George also asks for a handful of recipes with some wildgame in his own freezer, including cottontail rabbits, quail, hog and more. 

Join us on this riveting journey as Lance Lewis extends his knowledge, making the great outdoors a little more accessible to us all. And make sure to follow Lance and his company, Tagged Out Kitchen:

www.TaggedOutKitchen.com
IG: "taggedoutkitchen"

Speaker 1:

Hey everybody, welcome back to the Son of a Blitz podcast. I'm your host, george Blitz, and I am here with a special treat. I had a wonderful conversation with Lance Lewis. You guys might know him by his company, tagged Out Kitchen. He is a wild game chef and just a phenomenal one at that. He basically kind of talks about his idea of taking things from field to table. He has a lot of clients that he's worked with. They'll have a hunt and he'll go out there and maybe someone takes an animal and he's like talking about okay, once it hits the ground, what do you do? And then how are you butchering it? How are you preparing this meat, what are you saving these for? And then giving the recipes and kind of just walking you through A to Z. He works with a lot of different organizations, talks about that, some of the different people he goes out and does these demonstrations with with Tagged Out Kitchen, and he's had some amazing wild game dinners that he's prepared. So my friends have gone to. I wasn't able to make the last one there in Denver, but hopefully the next one Meg and I will make it out to. But you know I got to see some of the recipes that he had on there and just, oh man, some phenomenal dishes. Really looking forward to going and learning more about that in person someday and how they suggest you guys look into that at taggedoutkitchencom. You know we covered all sorts of bases. He gave us a bunch of recipes for different types of wild game Obviously, being in hunting season right now, we talk a lot about that and he also talked about the buffalo, the bison, that he ended up butchering recently. It was over 2000 pounds and he talked about. You know, what do you do? How do you get an animal like that into an area that you can go ahead and butcher? And, man, it was an incredible conversation with that. We talked about all sorts of fun stuff. You know, lance is just a really great guy, great energy and is just has so much knowledge to share about cooking, about wild game, and I just think you guys are really going to enjoy this. Had a wonderful conversation. So, without further ado, here is the podcast with Lance Lewis with Tagged Out Kitchen. Enjoy, hey, lance, how you doing today. Man, doing great. George, how are you? Fantastic man. I'm excited to chat about all the different things you got going on and you know I figured best way to start is always at the beginning. Will you please walk me through your introduction to the outdoor world? Maybe some of your mentors and who kind of got you into your hunting and your and then cooking, you know lifestyle and just kind of maybe give me the very beginning. We'll go from there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I guess the very beginning would be. Growing up in South Louisiana we were a hunting family. My dad was a member of a hunting camp. We had really long hunting seasons for big games. So from a very early age I think I got my first year when I was like nine or 10. And you know, it came from my dad putting me on a two by four up in a tree with a 20 gauge shotgun. And it was the 80s. We let it roll.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I know exactly what you're talking about.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and then and then, you know, I did that up until the time I left for the military. During my time in the military I wasn't really able to hunt. And once I got out of the military I started working, got a job out here in Colorado and moved out here 23 years ago and and, of course, once I moved to Colorado I had to pick up on it again. Yes, and, and I've been Western hunting now for 20 some odd years and I try to get out and hunt anywhere else I can get out and hunt in the process. So you know, I've, really I've, you know, that Western hunting lifestyle really kind of read, read, lit a spark and I really just you know it brings back fond memories of being a kid and also new adventures as an adult.

Speaker 1:

So so when was that a big, pivotal change going from Louisiana to you know Western big game and run around the mountains and stuff for you? Was that something that was easy for you to kind of acclimate to that new environment or was just like was there some challenges involved with that?

Speaker 2:

Oh no, it was huge challenges. First and foremost was just learning to shoot out West. I mean to most Eastern hunters, if you say anything over 100 yards, it's like that's far, that's a long distance Two yards yeah. Yeah, but you know you get out West and even the planes, the planes are massive, you know if, if you can't shoot 300 yards, you can't shoot a yard. Basically, if you're out on the planes, same, you know, same with the mountains. I mean, you, you need to be comfortable with taking those longer cross-canion shots because you've already hiked two days to get to where you're hunting. And and if your comfort zones 200 yards and the herd is 300 yards, you know, and there's no way to close that gap, you know, so, so that definitely was a big change. That, and also equipment wise was a big change. I mean, growing up, stand hunting, you know, if you pack the wrong gear you had a cold afternoon in the West If you pack the wrong gear, you could die. So true, I mean. Or if you get wet, you know, yeah, yeah, yeah. So so, definitely, understanding the gear, understanding the terrain being in shape, yeah, you know, a lot goes in, a lot goes into Western hunting, so yeah, yeah, no, it's a lot to train for.

Speaker 1:

I know friends of mine who like they'll, they'll, they'll, uh, drill milk tag and like six months before their training, and they got that one guy who's like I don't need to train and it's like get the feeling you're going to spend a lot of time at camp. My friend, yeah, gotta be prepared.

Speaker 2:

That's that's the cook.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's the cook. There you go. Well cooking. I'd love to kind of hear about, you know, when you kind of started cooking wild game yourself. Was that something that was very common for you when you're growing up in Louisiana? I mean, I know the culture of Louisiana and like cooking and you know wild game go hand in hand, and so I figured that that's something that's you know you were probably indoctrinated into at a young age. When did you kind of take that and start running with it yourself?

Speaker 2:

Um, really, all of that started once I was at an adult, on my own and was hunting. I would come home after a successful hunt and have to figure out what to do with stuff. But with that said, I also had wild game interchangeable with domestic proteins my entire life. So it wasn't that much of a stretch, which you know, not to get too far ahead of myself. But I get a lot of those kind of questions along the way about like what do you do with this protein? Or what do you do with that protein? I had come to find out people most people it seems grew up with that one family recipe for deer that usually involved cook it, cook it till there's no jiggle in it and eat it. The terrible, the terrible liver taste as part of the deer right, or that gaming flavor you know that's just part of the deer, that's you know. But not again, not to get too far ahead. But no, I always grew up with an understanding of how game was interchangeable with domestic proteins. And you know, especially growing up down south, there wasn't much. We were afraid to try to cook and eat Right. So as a culture we're pretty adventurous with our food.

Speaker 1:

No, I being from Texas, I understand, and Louisiana all my friends same kind of thing. It's like have you ever tried this? It's like it's easier to make the list of what you haven't tried right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, pretty much. I mean, you know, there's a couple of things that I've had. I'm not a fan. I don't know if I could necessarily just dive in wholeheartedly. I've yet to have that one magic dish to change my mind, but hey, I'll try it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, no, I remember the wild game cook offs that they used to do here in Fort Bend County outside of Houston, and you go around and there's just every single thing imaginable. And you know as a kid that cat was just. You just tried it and you're like what are you eating? What's a Rocky Mountain Noiser? No, don't worry about it, you just try it out. You know, try to give it out and like my dad would be like you don't want to try that one. I'm like, okay, cool. So as a kid I'm like, but I remember like raccoon and armadillo, just things that like you would never normally think of. I tell my friends up in New England about those things. Like you ate what? Yeah, you tried it. It's like roadkill cafe, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, like one of my nuggets of wisdom I like to give out is, if it has a hoof, you can cook it medium. If it has a foot, cook it well, there you go.

Speaker 1:

There's a t-shirt there somewhere I feel like there's probably. So let's talk about, like your decision and your kind of background and like moving into, you know, really being in that professional world as being a chef and your training. You know, traditionally like what is it that? Your culinary experience? How is it that you decided to, kind of, you know, eventually do taggcom Kitchen? But you know, talk me about how we got to that point there and you know, your journey in that world.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So prior to my culinary life I worked in industrial controls and installed high-end electromechanical systems throughout airports throughout the country and stuff like that, and decided to change things up and was doing a lot of cooking and smoking at home and everybody was like, oh, this is great, you should open a place. Realize, in every field restaurant started with, you should open a place. I understood there was more to the craft that I needed to know beyond. I could be a good home cook. So I sought out a local culinary school. I went through their professional program. Upon graduation I was asked to stay on as a chef instructor. So for me that was great, right, like I was a little bit older, I was not going to dive into the kitchen world or the professional kitchen world as we know it. You know that's a young man's game or young person's game. So I was happy to stay on as a chef instructor there and you know, it kind of helped me as a chef, think differently, right Like I was responsible for writing courses and writing the menus for the courses as well as the recipes, and I had to think of them as the student in putting this stuff together. So it really kind of changed my mind on how do I simplify things, how do I make it not as intimidating to get behind the stove and be creative, right? So I mean that helped me out quite a bit. Also, and kind of here's where tagged out kitchen kind of comes into play, part of what I did was I taught recreational butchery classes, like whole hog butchery and those sorts of things, and I quickly realized that a lot of the people that were taking these classes were hunters, you know, because where else do you learn how to butcher? Sure, you know, and unless you, unless you have that uncle that took you under his wing or whatever right Like there's no sure there's no shortage of YouTube and internet resources out there, but how do you get a hands-on to it? You know? So in talking with the hunters that were taking these classes, I understood where they were coming from as a hunter and maybe where I could help as a chef, yeah, so at that point I started to kind of look into, as an industry, what's going on with this. Right, Like the outdoors industry is huge. It's a multi-billion-dollar industry, but very little of it is focused on hunter education.

Speaker 1:

It's all about selling, hunts and selling gear, but not.

Speaker 2:

But when you look at the piece of the pie that actually involved the hunter, piece of the pie that actually involves training, there's nothing there really. So I mean it's a pretty wide open field in that regard, which you know, I you know, primary focus of a tag and I'll kitchen event obviously is food, but you know, I also like sprinkling in all the other aspects as well to kind of create one cohesive event.

Speaker 1:

Well, let's jump into that too, because I feel like we're talking about it. But I want you know listeners to really be able to understand. You know, let's lay out exactly what Tagged Out Kitchen is. Your events kind of give you know not just the broad strokes but kind of let's put some color into that and let's talk about that so that people can understand. And I think then we can kind of jump into some other you know conversations and questions about it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely so. First and foremost, tagged Out Kitchen is an outdoor experience company, right. So with that, what I do is either I could do something as simple as a personal, as a private dinner with chef instruction, and create more of a chef table experience, or I could broaden that out even to a full hunting experience where we undergo basic mark under or tackle basic marksmanship, shot placement, then follow that up with post-arvest care butchery around the sausage and then conclude that with the chef's table experience where, as a guest, you're cooking alongside me, I'm teaching a culinary class for with you and you really get that full hands-on 360 approach to it. Sure.

Speaker 1:

That's amazing, I mean for people who are starting at zero, and that now can have somebody like you be able to walk them through every single step of the way. You know that's something that wasn't, you know, common for the longest time and I know it's still not common. There are some people, and you know you and I have talked about some chefs that we know, who do this as well, you know all around the country, but it's still few and far between, and that accessibility and affordability used just not be there. And you know your course is to have someone come in. It's, you know, it's well worth every penny, but it's not every penny that they're going to have in their bank to go and have that experience. And I'm sure there's more things. Hey, you want to do a four-course meal and over four different times. You want to do these different animals sure they can add up and things like that. But you know what is somebody? If somebody wants to come in and you know maybe let's just pick something, for example, we're going to go ahead and you're going to do one meal, maybe consistent, of a few different wild game and somebody wants to come into one of these experiences, you know how do they get involved in that and what kind of cost are they maybe looking at to be able to be a part of that and kind of, you know, have it kind of from, maybe not from all the way from the field to the table. But you know it's been butchered and now here's what you do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so typically how I work my events is I get with, I will get with landowners, ranch owners, and really I try to focus it around a call hunt that they offer you know. So say, for instance, if you have a herd of access, at some point you need to call your dose right you know. So I will try to work it around an existing call hunt that they have and then I add a fee per person to be there and create it. That way it helps sell the hunt, for the landowner it helps and also it helps bring new blood to their ranch. Right, you know, you get a client base that goes out and starts to associate with one with a ranch. Well, when they are out there and happen to see this Ibex walk it around and they go home and go. Man, I want to go get an Ibex. They already know a place to call. Yeah, for instance, if you search Ibex Texas, you get pages upon pages upon pages of places that are selling Ibex hunts in Texas. So I mean for the landowner that ends up being a good thing, because they are introducing people to their property and establishing that first contact relationship, and also for the participant, by doing it at a place with a high success rate. They aren't spending their entire time trying to harvest their animal. They are harvesting their animal and then they are learning what to do with it beyond that. So I really think of it more as a culinary event that involves hunting than a hunt that involves culinary yeah, well said. And, from an industry standpoint, sometimes it's difficult to change people's minds on that right because, well, you own land, you know how it works.

Speaker 1:

Sure, there are many hunts you go on that you're going to be unsuccessful. But if you're there to be able to teach that next process after the hunt, it's good to have a high success rate.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. But you know, I mean that's why Texas is great, right, whether it's hogs, whether it's a coal hunt on a species, on a different species, you know you have options. Sure, you have the ability to also kind of use these as a starter hunt. So you did finally draw your Western elk tag in another state and you have a pre-hunt that you can do before you go and do that hunt and kind of like a little warm up, a little preseason shake down. Yeah, yeah, you know, I mean obviously there's a million ways that you can point out the positivities of these sorts of things. Sure sure, with these events it helps change perception because it shows people that hunting, when done right, is not blood sport and mayhem. It's actually a very ethical, clean way to harvest an animal. I try to tell people a lot like nature's cruel. You know, yes, I have. As a hunter, I have one job and that is not to be as cruel as nature can be. You know, there's this video I saw recently and it says golden eagle standing on the back of an antelope eating the back straps out of it while it's walking around. You know nature's, nature's harsh.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, oh yeah. No, I think, like nature is metal or whatever it's on Instagram, like there's always something coming up, or I'm like dang, like that's a tough way to go out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. So. So you know, I think that I like to think that I have a small piece in that, in that puzzle of changing perceptions, changing minds, making, making the outdoors not as intimidating, you know, and really just kind of broadening the outdoors to a whole different group of people.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you know, I think you kind of touched on it a minute ago when you were talking about like Cole. You know, for people who are listening who maybe this isn't part of their you know lexicon and this lifestyle, there is a. You know there's a reason why wild game biologists have jobs and there's a reason why they give you particular harvest numbers. So there's a certain amount of tags that are issued because you're trying to keep a healthy herd of whatever animal for future generations. It's never to be like let's try to decimate the entire herd, right, so like. One thing that people need to understand is that you know I can't tell you a single hunter that I know who's not a conservationist, who doesn't want to be able to keep this for future generations. It's something that inherently in our system. The money that's, you know, our taxes from the Pittman, robertson, robertson, pittman I always say it backwards, I can never figure that one out, but you know the money that the excise taxes to go to be able to have. You know our public land, state public and open for everybody, state parks, national parks, wildlife refuges you know all these places that are existing come from. You know the people who are sportsmen and women out in the world. So when we're talking about these kinds of things, I just want to make sure that anybody who's listening you know here's these terms. It's like we're talking about something to be able to keep this way of life and the wilderness wild and to be able to make helps of staying that habitat and that environment for future generations. Just making sure that we're saying that Because I think it's and it's a responsibility for us to act as both right.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And you know again not to, not to like get on a moral high horse or point anybody out or anything like that, but hunters are the only group that utilize public lands that actually pay for the right to do it. Hikers aren't charged at a trailhead. Mountain bikers aren't charged at a trailhead. You know I mean, but in essence, who is? It's your hunters. They buy a purchase in their licenses, their stamps, paying to take hunter safety courses, all of that.

Speaker 1:

Fishermen and women as well. Right the outdoors users, sure, sure.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so. So there's a, there's a, there's a lot of value there, you know, and like the changes I've seen living in Colorado for as long as I have, and the effects that have been that have affected the outdoors industry or the outdoors here, you know, are just mind boggling, I mean.

Speaker 1:

Let's talk about that, because I obviously I know a little bit on the peripheral but, like you know, being an insider and someone who's been involved in that and now has an industry in that, let's talk about that. What are you seeing? What are you feeling about? You know what's happening these days. What are some changes?

Speaker 2:

So you know, a big thing is is like our current governor and our current governor's husband are huge supporters of animal rights groups. So the past three commissioners we've had for the Department of Wildlife here have all come from anti-hunting lobbying groups. You know that's part of the wolf re-introduction, you know so. You know, instead of allowing hunting, let's just reintroduce an Apex predator and give it, and give it. You know, an endangered classification. You know so.

Speaker 1:

Right. Right, so they're off the list, that there's nothing you can do about them. You see them if they get to a certain number, I mean, maybe they would change then, but at the moment, free reign, there's no hunting right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean the official re-introduction hasn't happened yet. It's happening very soon though, but realistically there are already wolves here.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

I mean there are already wolves. They've naturally migrated in. They only acknowledge they only officially acknowledge the first wolf packs after the election, ah, okay, but they've already been here. You know there's more than enough ranchers and outdoors folks and whatnot that have seen them. You know, also, over the past few years. I mean, like there's of your western states, colorado has the highest percentage of non-resident tag availability. So we're, per the state guidelines, we're supposed to be at 25% non-resident to resident tags Okay. Or like your next highest state's, wyoming, which is like 11 or 12,. Montana is like three or four percent, idaho, utah, same thing. But because of our draw process and preference point system, if you have a certain number of preference points, you either say you're using your preference points or you have to apply for a preference point first in order to not use preference points. Okay. Well, if you have preference points and you don't have enough to say maybe get into a better unit, you're going to by default forfeit your first draw and hope to pick up something in the second draw by applying for a preference point first. Well, the state has taken that data and certain units went oh no, we don't have enough resident participation in this unit, so we just need to open it up to non-residents. And now certain units in the state are over 65% non-resident hunters.

Speaker 1:

And again for people who don't understand, there's a huge difference in your state tag price and your non-resident state tag price. So do you find that this is just the big money? Grab for them.

Speaker 2:

What does that look like for you? I mean, look, I'm only speaking on this topic as the man on the street. I'm not, by no means am I in any capacity or in some secret club of knowledge. I just know what I'm seeing as the end user man on the street.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, that's what I'm curious about.

Speaker 2:

And yes, the non-resident bull tag is like $760 versus $65 as a resident. But as a resident I can't even put myself in that $700 tag pool. If I want it Right, Like I can't say, well, you know what, Let me try to buy a non-resident tag and see if I can draw a tag that way. There's not even an option on my team. And yes, I pay taxes to live in this state and part of my taxes should entitle me to not have to pay $700 for a tag.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, or at least not go up against a staggeringly high number of non-residents you have to compete with for that, as far as that.

Speaker 2:

I mean, it's the equivalent of you're living in a neighborhood that's an HOA. You pay your HOA fees and part of that is you get to use the community pool. But you can never use the community pool because they're always leased out for people that don't live in the neighborhood to have private parties.

Speaker 1:

And they never invite me? Yeah, they never invite me.

Speaker 2:

Again, this is a whole rabbit hole discussion, but again I think it kind of circles back to with what I do and with what others in the outdoor industry do with the process of recruiting and retaining and keeping hunters engaged is to make the more people that are a part of it see that like oh wow, it's really like that. Well, that's not fair. It makes it harder for states that may or may not have an agenda to push an agenda if you have more participants willing that are that are wanting to be a part of it.

Speaker 1:

So well, that's our voting power, right. Like that's something that's very important. You see it, every year there's something that comes up where there's some kind of legislation, where you know people who maybe aren't aren't as focused or aren't thinking that they're going to go out there. It's like, no, it's important you go and vote on this because if you want to have this particular way of life or you don't want this thing to change, you want to be able to have this for your kids. Like it's important to pay attention to those as they come up, because there's a lot of different things that come up every single year and it's super important. So I'm glad we kind of dove into that for a minute, because I'm curious too, just always about hearing about other states and how things are run and what are the challenges there of you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and again, you know by the means of. I saw myself as an authority on the topic, but you know, do a little research, you know. Yeah, I understand where, if you're looking at doing a Western hunt you know Wyoming and Montana it might take you a lot longer to draw a tag, but trust me, it'll be a much better hunt.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

You will actually end up in those places that aren't the Sea of Orange, that are out there, you know.

Speaker 1:

Well, let's talk about some hunts that maybe you got coming up. What are some things that you put into draw for this year? Are there some hunts that you're going out, I mean you know? And then maybe what are some tagged out kitchen events that are maybe happening this fall that are kind of maybe related or unrelated, and just kind of lay out on what's happening, because we're on the edge of the hunting season and it's begun in a lot of areas and it's exciting time. So, you know, walk me through what you got going.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So right now this year I'm doing a lot of private gigs. I have a lot of those scheduled coming up around the holidays. I'm going to try to get out and hunt as much as possible. I have some Eastern Plains Whitetail tags this year which you know. Most of those are like mitigation tags. Whitetail, if you're not familiar, whitetail out west aren't typically out here so and they're doing a lot of harm to our resident mule deer population. So I've been able to pick up several Whitetail tags that I can archery hunt as well as rifle hunt and I feel like this year not only am I going to be doing a lot of hunting for Whitetail but I'll also be hopefully be doing some good for mule deer population by that.

Speaker 1:

Indeed.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and then in a couple of weeks I'm actually doing an event out in Beaver Creek for an event called Elevation. Elevation is a big invite-only country music fest that they do up in Beaver Creek. Tagged Out Kitchen has been invited back to sponsor a ski shooting event for them. So we're going to have some people out and going to have some people out doing some ski shooting and I'm going to be cooking a whole lot of barbecue for them, Nice. And then in December I'm also going to be working with a veterans organization putting on a field of table for a veterans event out in Oklahoma.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's great man. What good is that going to be with?

Speaker 2:

It's with the True Warrior Initiative. My friend, Ryan Long, who is an Oklahoma State Police former Marine, him and his wife started this group a few years ago and they did it because they really wanted to get back to our military and law enforcement community and this is the third year doing this event. It's been a lot of fun. Every year Great guys come out, get to give back a little bit, get to send them home with new skis and always get to meet some great people.

Speaker 1:

That sounds wonderful. Yeah, that sounds wonderful. So then, is that kind of the main part of me. It sounds like you're going to be working a lot, so you'll be getting out there a little bit too. Anything else, you need any hunting that you got going on besides those ones.

Speaker 2:

At this point, not right now. At this point I'm really trying to keep my schedule open as events come up. I am in early 2024, I am going to get out and get a chance to do a little herd mitigation for a private elk ranch. Oh nice, so I'll be able to get a little meat in the freezer and hone my elk butchery skills a little more so.

Speaker 1:

Well, speaking of honing your butchery skills, I mean, I already know you're a super talented man, but you just had a recent test of your butchery skills. You know I'm going to put this picture in here so people can understand the size, but recently you went and you butchered a buffalo that weighed between 2,000 and 2,500 pounds, and bison, if someone want to call it that. We can get into that later, but this picture here, I think it speaks a thousand words. You had quite the task ahead of you. Talk me through how this opportunity came up, and then talk me through the butchering and then what's the what do you got planned here? I can only imagine how much of a process this was, and I am just dying to learn more about it.

Speaker 2:

So I've been having some talks with a local group. Out here is the Fort Macintosh grasslands conservation area and they have probably the largest herd of manitoban elk in the country as well as 50, 60 head of buffalo out there and basically about 10 years ago they took farmland out in Eastern Colorado, did all the research and reverted it back to the native grasslands and created this habitat for the manitoban elk as well as the buffalo. So it's roughly like six square miles fenced in of just blue sky and Eastern plains and they sell off hunts over the year for elk and their bison herd to help fund the project and everything. And I spoke with their ranch manager about the possibility of maybe teaming up and doing some work together and as I left he called me and said that he just noticed one of their trophy bulls had an abscess or possibly a hernia, and if I knew anybody that wanted it he could let it go at a great price, which was basically pennies on the dollar of what one of their trophy bull hunts go for. So I reached out to a contact. Of course he was like I've always wanted a massive buffalo hanging in my living room and he drove out from Tampa and we connected, we went, we found the animal in question and we harvested it and after it was on the ground, I've done smaller buffalo over the years. Oddly enough, out in Eastern Colorado there's a lot of places you can just go and buy a buffalo relatively inexpensively. So I've had quite a bit of experience with smaller ones, but never won this size. This animal was probably 10, 11 years old. I mean, they just don't get any bigger, Right, I mean? And so yeah, with the use of some farm equipment and a couple of cranes and a front end loader, we got this thing to the skin and shed and got it out and hanging in the meat locker and honestly, I just approached it like a, like a. What a deer. I pulled off, pulled out the inside tenders, I've quartered it out. I hunter quartered it out, not butcher quartered it, but I hunter quartered it out.

Speaker 1:

Explain that real quick for people who don't know any of the difference. What is hunter? Quartering it out?

Speaker 2:

So a hunter quarter is you remove all four legs, you pull the back straps, you get your inside tenders, carve off your rib meat, that sort of stuff. Where, like a actual butcher quarter is you split the animal into four pieces. You know, starting, basically your hind quarter runs from just past the ribs, split the spine down the middle and you have your two hind quarters and then, you know, split that again and you have your four quarters. So so yeah, I really just kind of dove in like a big deer, did it all with a six inch boning knife and and just whittled away at it and pulled out, pulled out the cuts and everything as I know them, on a deer, you know. So on a deer or elk or any other, for like a critter with that body shape, you know.

Speaker 1:

Wow. So, aside from the inevitable carpal tunnel, it probably came from such a process. What kind of timeline did that look like for you? Was that something you guys took over a couple of different days, or is that something you just kind of tacked with all at once? What was that?

Speaker 2:

like so. So we got the animal down it was probably about 637 PM got it back skinned out by 830, nine o'clock they have. They had a giant walk-in freezer so we were able to put the whole animal in the freezer and get it cooled out. Then the next morning it basically was just one long day, yeah, from about 10 AM to about 1 30 in the morning. By the time we had everything cut up and packaged, ground up and packaged and on our way.

Speaker 1:

So then, what happened with that meat? Is that something that he took back with him? I'm sure there's some that went to your freezer too, yeah, yeah, of course Some of it came to my freezer.

Speaker 2:

I took a lot of the ground. With an animal that old you're not gonna get a big rib eye, but it's not gonna be succulent. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, age plays a role. But no, I took probably 100 pounds of ground meat. I think after it was all said and done, we had probably 6, 700 pounds of meat processed. On the grasslands conservation area they actually save all the bones, make huge amounts of stock, so every hunter goes home with like five gallons of stock when they go out there. I mean it's one of the most complete operations I've seen as far as whole animal utilization. That's excellent. That's excellent.

Speaker 1:

There's something to that too, as far as like we were just kind of talking before the podcast the idea of like the buffalo and what that was for all the native people here and using every bit, and so it's nice to see that that is something that is all of its utilized in that fashion.

Speaker 2:

Still, yeah yeah, and truthfully I think that's really. I think that's again circling back to the food tie, that is your full circle, right? Your hunt and harvest is only half.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

The other half is what do you do after? Right? Unfortunately, far too many people put stuff in a freezer and then next September, when hunting season comes around, again out with the old and with the new. But it's just. I firmly believe, though, it's just because a lot of people don't know any better and think that they have to do something special with it or save these proteins for a special occasion. They are everyday proteins, if you have them.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

You know, believe me, hunting, you don't hunt for the economic effect of getting deer Right. You're like, beef in the store is way cheaper, Like I mean, if you think about it, what dove meat must be about a thousand bucks a pound. You know, I mean, you know. So you have this stuff, use it, Don't be afraid to, even if you're just making hamburger helper, don't be a venisonal work. Just fine on that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

You have it, use it.

Speaker 1:

It reminds me of like. I don't know if you ever seen Jeff Foxworthy's skit where he's like talking to his wife about like the meat that he goes. He's like you know it cost me $5,000 a year for the lease, plus we get the four wheeler. I'm not even including ammo in my new shotgun. He's like he's in it and goes that's the most expensive meat on the planet. It's $98 a pound for that venison Cause. I want the best for my family. You think I like getting up in the morning. It is the best skit. But if they talks about like that economic portion, like yeah, it actually is very expensive meat.

Speaker 2:

Look, look, america is the only place that hunting wasn't just for the Royals, right, I mean throughout. I mean if you look at your years, yeah, yeah. I mean, when you look at European hunting, that was your top 10%, you know. But I think, just out of need and sustainability, I think if you aren't familiar with it and you come from a place that hunting is a prevalent, you're more inclined to think it's the lower 10% that hunts Right. Right, you know. So I mean it's places that show you and courses that show you how to utilize this whole animal. Is you've got gold in the freezer?

Speaker 1:

No, you totally do. I use it for so many different things, man. I mean, just this week I've done burger, I've done ground for, you know, spaghetti. There's. It's just so many different things. You can utilize breakfast sausage, and I find that that's something that I try to utilize, especially as the new season approaches. I'm like okay, now if I have some leftover, I really gotta do something with that. Yeah, so, lance, I actually wanted to talk to you. I know you got some bison to cook, but what are some other things that are in your freezer now? What are some meals that you have prepared soon for, you know, your family and your friends?

Speaker 2:

So I definitely have some wild hog in the freezer and I actually have a wild hog bolognese that I made this summer. So I always try to make all of my hunting camp meals real far in advance and have them packaged and frozen. So I have some Canada goose, have some white tail and some mule deer and a little bit of elk. I always end up doing all of the, all of my favorite cuts, which are the shanks and necks first. Well, you know, I just think those cuts of meats whenever they're slow, braised and you make a traditional stew or a gravy, you know it's just so filling, it's so versatile, and can I mean it could be that Sunday eat all week meal or that make on Sunday, eat on Wednesday, freeze and pull out in February. I mean there's just so many options with those things. I have a few. I have a few steaks and some inside tenders that I'm saving for a special occasion. So but that is I don't know, but when you know it'll be there you can utilize. Exactly exactly. Yeah, I happened to catch a show today. It was about being up at the Arctic Circle and this guy like kills the moose, and I heard the most poignant line ever out of that show and he, he had, this guy kills his moose and he's talking about bringing it back to the elders of the Inuit village and he said that his uncle, who I guess is the head elder, always likes the stew meat and he's like stew is for we and steak is for me. And I was like that is genius. Never thought of it that way, but it really sticks. Yeah, yeah, so, yeah, so I like cooking, I like mostly cooking with the we meats. Yes, that's no man. Good point good point.

Speaker 1:

I hadn't really thought about that, but that is, that's true and it's I've heard someone recently talk about the same kind of thing too is like whenever you have that gathering, it's like that is something that go in there and put whatever you want in your bowl and you know it's not that is. I'm gonna use that myself now too. I like that. Yeah, it's a good thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I wish I could. I wish I could remember the gentleman's name who said it on that show so I could properly cite him.

Speaker 1:

but you know we can look that up. We'll throw in the comments down below, you know. Yeah, there you go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but yeah, it was one of those like every now and then you hear a good comment and you're like man, I wish I would have thought of that, yep.

Speaker 1:

Yep, no, I did so many times I'll be in the middle of conversations. I'm like hold on, like texting myself or you know, put in my notes and stuff like that was a really good one. I'm gonna keep that one. Use that again.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but yeah no. So getting back some of the favorites I really like to do I do a shank or neck braised in Guinness and Guinness with leaks. That's really a favorite of mine. I definitely like to go into, like a lot of the classic Italian sauces they utilize in the wild proteins, you know, and obviously there's no shortage of different gumbo and jambalaya and all of my classic home comfort flavors.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was gonna ask, is that something that you're bringing a lot into that? Or do you kind of have if someone was gonna talk about, maybe, what your signature style is and how you could pinpoint it, is there something that you could kind of point to and say, yeah, it's kind of this, or do you feel like it's just influenced from all around the world and maybe, or do you kind of have something that's honed in Cause I know you take the boy out of Louisiana. You can't take Louisiana boy, you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I mean, actually that's a great question, you know, and truthfully it's one of those things like you never think about till you're asked. Yeah, but if I had to put a spin on it, I would say I draw from all of my life influences, right Like. I have a dish I do utilize in quail and duck quail, duck and pheasant likes, and it's kind of a hybrid of a classic French dish and a jambalaya, kind of how my mind worked, right. So, in essence, there's a French dish that's called cocoa van, I'm sure pretty common one. Well, in Northern France, because of the wine that's available, it's cocoa reisling, so they use a white reisling wine. So I started experimenting with making cocoa reisling and then doing that with duck legs and pheasant legs, and liked where it was going. And then one day just need to make dinner, I had some barley, I threw that in and that's made, made it in the style of a jambalaya, but using all the French flavors, and it sounds a little funky, but it was so delicious that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Well, I mean you it's the experimentation that you know comes up with certain different things Like I was just kind of curious, you know, like, is that something like your approach when you're creating new dishes? I mean, it sounds like this one is a fusion of different ideas and you brought things together and you found out what worked. Is that something that you are experimenting a lot, or are you kind of you found what's worked by your experimentation, or are you always going to try to find that next thing and that you know whatever else you can kind of bring in and fuse together?

Speaker 2:

So I'm a firm believer. The classics are the classics for a reason.

Speaker 1:

Yep.

Speaker 2:

You know, all your food trends at some point go from a classic to getting way out of bounds and finally make their way back to a classic, right? So I really try to stick with that mindset, but I try to think of coming at it from a place of a teacher. So if I'm going to do this, how how could I, how could I get the same result but make it less complicated to the end user, make it less intimidating, right? So like like if you made a classic beef bourguignon, right, it's just, it's three pages in a cookbook. Well, I've kind of dummied it down, simplified a little bit of the you know a little bit of this and really condensed that by more than half now. And it's, and it's something as a home cook you're willing to tackle, right, right, you know. So I think that's where my experimentation comes in is like, how do I take something from a level 10 and get it down to a solid 6.5,? You know, as far as difficulty, you know, and I've had some successes, god knows. I've had failures, you know. I mean, but with every failure is is another nugget of knowledge. So you know it's, it's definitely, definitely a labor of love in that, in that aspect.

Speaker 1:

Sure, well it's. You know, I think you have to kind of test those boundaries sometimes to you know, like and just I guess that's kind of a generalized saying too of like the failures is where you learn the most. You know your successes you don't really. You can have your own accolades and things, oh, that worked, but it's, you're not really learning, you're not pushing past another boundary. And sometimes you have to find that out and like you're experimenting with the dish that, hey, you're trying to utilize something a little bit different and you've finally found out what worked. And you know, I can't tell you how many times I've cooked something where I'm like, yeah, I'm going to try this. And it's like I am not going to serve this to anybody. This was just, this was not a winner. I'm going to chalk this up that that recipe's done, you know, or whatever I might have tried to do. And my buddy, matthew Mitchell and I were always joking about it, like I go off script. He'll go buy the recipe and I'm like I'm going to try to add this into this. And he's just like, what are you doing? Like that's the one I told you was good as it is. And now, like there's some that I will follow to a tee, one of Jesse Griffith's the Smother Chops. That's like anybody who I know who wants to try wild hog for the first time, I found that that is the one for me that I know, and I'm sure there's many other ones I just haven't learned yet, but that's the one that I know. I'm going to stick to this one because, tried and true, if I do it the way that it says it, it's going to be something that most people find very palatable. They really enjoy it and it's something that I know that I can be. I can turn people. You know I've had people big hogs are horrible, you know 200 pounds or you know whatever that is, it's anything bigger than that's bad and I'm like that was 250 pound, boring, just take. You know it's like, yeah, if you do it the right way, it's like you can make you know even something like that that is unpalatable, you know, very enjoyable.

Speaker 2:

So Well, so much of cooking. I think a lot of cooking and cooking education overlooks the fact that cooking is simple science, right, you, you've, you've applied heat and you're trying to make a chemical change, or you know. So I I get frustrated sometimes when, like when I write my recipes, I really try to write them of do this for five minutes, or your best judgment, right, or added like. As far as like salt and pepper, I always just do salt and pepper to taste.

Speaker 1:

Right, Like yeah.

Speaker 2:

I, because my, my tolerance for salt and pepper and your tolerance for salt and pepper may be two totally different things. So I I try to, I try to approach it more from the science of it as opposed to the mechanical, robotic side, if that makes sense. Yeah, and try to teach people like, how do you teach? Feel, right, that's, that's a really tough thing to teach. But you know, I think you have so many recipes that will say like, oh, cook this for like nine minutes, and I can't tell you how many people would pull that at nine minutes, whether it can still get up and run off the pan or as a lump of charcoal, like at no point during that nine minutes did you look at it and go, wow, that's going a little strong there. Maybe maybe I could pull that off now, right, so so I always try to like circle those things back to like understanding what, why you're doing what you're doing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Right, like, like, if you're, if you're getting a, if you're going for a sear, that's one thing, if you're going to, if you're going for a poach, that's another thing. You know, and really kind of focus more on the method and what that means, as opposed to the, the, the time no, that's a good point.

Speaker 1:

And that's something too that it's again sometimes that comes from your failures. I can't tell you. There's been a lot of times where, man, I remember the first few times I tried to fry a turkey, and there's a lot of difference in a wild turkey and a store bought, and there's a difference in the time that you have to do that, and I was like, oh, the other ones I would do for this long. Some do the same thing. I pull this up and I'm like it looks like a burnt tire and probably tasted like it, and I was like I did it just to try it and like, yeah, no one's getting this one.

Speaker 2:

It was like that turkey and Christmas vacation where they cut it open and just exactly and actually like with with game meets, when, when you overcook on that, where you get like that funky liver note, you know it gets tough, it gets sinewy, but more so than domestic game or more so than domestic proteins, I should say yeah. So a lot of again, a lot of times when I hear people say oh, I don't, I don't like wild game, it's usually because you just had it prepared and properly. You know, I'm big and like pointing out to people on the butchery side of things like that is a gland, get that out of there. Yeah, you know, I, I, I have heard, I have heard, and from very reputable people, that you know venison, fat, glands and all that. It doesn't matter if you cook it right. I, I can't agree, but I've personally never seen it myself. You know yeah. So so yeah, you're, you're, you're caring beforehand. That's so much to affect flavor.

Speaker 1:

Well, what are some maybe tips you have for people? Because this is, you know, during the fall, when I'm interviewing chefs, I like to have some tips and tricks and one or one, two or two, whatever it may be, do the advanced things. What are some things that you feel like, maybe when you're teaching your courses that there's people are like those aha moments of people get, that you're giving them stuff, that it's like, oh, you know, you, you really, if you do this, this and this, you're going to have a better overall experience at the end, whether that's maybe in the field or maybe that's in butchering hey, point out the gland or maybe it's in how you're packaging. I'm also curious, too, how you're packaging a lot of the different things. I've seen so many different methods. Maybe if there are some things there you can dive into and give me some of the things that you would tell people that were in your course.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So people in my course, first and foremost I would tell them, for meat preservation I keep on all the silver skin. I'll take glands out, but for the most part, keep on the silver skin. That's a barrier against frostbite. Basically, yeah, that's the way I see it. That and good quality vacuum sealer. If there is air in the bag you are going to get freezer burn. I have had some successful with some Saran wrap and butcher paper, but for the most part, your average hunter that's going to tackle this process at home. A good vac sealer is worth your weight in gold. Yeah, Recently I've been doing some work with a company that does vac sealers and chamber vacs and I'm a huge fan of the chamber vac. Now, yeah, oh my God, I chamber vac everything.

Speaker 1:

I haven't jumped in there, but I've seen it and it's very appealing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, with that said, the cost of equipment, a suction bag is cheaper than the chamber vac, but the material for the suction vac is like 10 times the cost of the chamber vac bags. Right, so if you use it a lot, you very easily can recoup a difference of price. But not turning this into a suction vac, chamber vac, commercial, right, right.

Speaker 1:

But it's something that people need to know, these things. I've seen people that they've wrapped it in foil. I've seen people who have gone the whole Saran wrap and then the butcher paper route. I've seen people just on butcher paper. I've seen people do chamber. You know, vac seal. There's been so many different ways that people have prepared it or they're like my uncle taught me to do this. That maybe isn't the best way to do it for long term storage, or maybe that might work for X many months as opposed to a year or two. So I think that's an important discussion.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no. My rule of thumb is the best way that you can afford to create a barrier between air and the frost in your refrigerator, in your freezer, from the meat you're trying to save, Whether that is Surandrap and Butcher Paper or Surandrap and Wax Paper or whatever, or a suction bag or a chamber bag. Just be cognizant of whatever method you use. You draw the air. There's no air pockets. Or try to minimize the air pockets around your meat as much as possible.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I know personally. I pulled stuff out of the freezer and been like oh well, it's three and a half years old, well, it's Wednesday, let's go for it.

Speaker 1:

I can do this on a Thursday, but Wednesday.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, wednesday is a busy week. It's a busy week in my house, though, but I mean and depending on what it is, it's like ground. I've shaved off a little freezer burn and it's been fine. I mean, is it ideal? No, but is there a hard? Oh, that's been in the freezer too long. No, it's your comfort level. If you pull it out and it shriveled up and has freezer burn and then, yeah, toss that, but there's just a little around the edges, you're fine. You kind of know. Yeah, you'll know. I mean, because I mean really, what you're talking about is the texture of your end product, more than like it going bad Like it's in the freezer. It's not going to go bad in terms of become poisonous or anything overnight. I mean it's just going to have bad texture, and if it's gone too far, the texture will be less ideal.

Speaker 1:

It depends on who you're serving it for right, you're serving it for family, or you're serving it for that buddy who's been on the couch for too long. You're like here, you need this yeah exactly.

Speaker 2:

But I mean, as long as your freezer stays frozen and you keep air away from your proteins, they'll ride a while.

Speaker 1:

Yep. A lot longer than some people think. I mean I've even heard Renele talk about it. He's like I'm not going to give the exact many years that it was in there, but there's more than recommended to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, like I'm not advocating it as a new method.

Speaker 1:

Yes, However, if it fell to the very back of the freezer, you could pull it back up.

Speaker 2:

It was under that pile of frost back there.

Speaker 1:

It was encapsulated it was fine, it was fine. Do you do any dry aging?

Speaker 2:

I do not. I would, truthfully. I would love to. It's just a matter of having the space to do it. Yeah, yeah, you know if I will let stuff hang as long as I can, you know, provided I have a place to safely put it. But you know, I've looked into the dry age, freezing heat, because actually I would love to do cured sausages.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Because basically it's the same equipment.

Speaker 1:

Sure.

Speaker 2:

And, weirdly enough, a little mini fridge dry age or is about three grand. I'm like, ah, not that excited about it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, making that much better. Talk about expensive meat, yeah.

Speaker 2:

If anybody listening makes a dry aging meat fridge, please reach out.

Speaker 1:

Here's our phone numbers Call us, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I wasn't you got a new.

Speaker 1:

You got to have a new sponsor in about a month. Right, there you go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm lucky, but no, I mean seriously, though. I would love to have a place to be able to do that, yeah, and dive in a little more into like your cured sausages, like your salamis, your traditional Spanish chorizo's and that sort of stuff.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, that's it. I got a buddy who does dry age in my buddy, matthew Metro, and he'll do it in some in an outdoor fridge and he's gone about a month or two. We've done some, some steaks that he's pulled out, and I mean it's just amazing. And we got a buddy, larry White, wild Game Gourmet, who's on the key. And he's he was kind of walked us through some stuff last year on what to do and we tried them out. So I'm always down to try, you know, some different dishes and different preparations and everything and just kind of. You know as far as sharing that too with the listeners. So you know speaking about wild game and learning from different people and you know talking to different chefs and getting some ideas. You know this is part self-serving but I think it'll. It'll benefit every listener as well. You know Matthew Mitchell and I have a list of different types of wild game and art freezer and you know I would like to ask you some of the things that maybe you would do with that. You know, maybe I'll just start with some of our small game stuff. You know we've got Cottontail. Every year we get at least a hand, a handful of rabbits and I just want to know, you know, what would you do with something like that?

Speaker 2:

So funny you mentioned Cottontail. One of the life-changing food experiences I had was with Cottontail.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So let's hear it. While I was in the Navy, my ship ported in the South of France and my buddy and I signed up for this whole like adopt a sailor thing where, like, local people would like take you in for take you in for a couple of days, and we got adopted by this couple that lived in. They lived within the Kingdom of Monaco.

Speaker 1:

OK.

Speaker 2:

And so they they connected with us told us to, we were porting in Marseille and they told us to take the train to Monaco. So we, they pick us up and it was this wonderful older couple that, ironically enough, they lived in the Houston area post World War II, had a French restaurant in Houston that was around for years and, when they retired, moved back to. Because they were Monaco citizens, they're entitled to basically live there for free. I think is kind of how it works. So after they retired, they went back to. They went back to Monaco to ride out the rest of their life. Well, this wonderful couple picked us up, made us this phenomenal meal with langoustine and shrimp and all these, all these proteins. I've never I'm 22. I've never had this stuff in my life. Right, it's delicious. Well, the next day they want to take us up to their house in the in the Alps above Monaco. So we go up and they have this just gorgeous little hobbit house on the side of a mountain and they had all these rabbits run it around the yard and the older gentleman his name was Louis goes and grabs this little 22 and he like, shoots, like three of the rabbits and brings them inside. And what they made was the most divine thing I've ever had in my life. It was they clean these rabbits and, just with a little simple flour and butter, pan fried them. They made a pan sauce with some limiting caper and then and then serve that over just like a simple green salad on a plate. And to this day, I don't know if I've ever had better food in my life. Wow, yeah, what a treat. Yeah, no, it was, and honestly, for me that was. I think that was when I first got the food bug.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

As far as like really thinking of food more as something more than just a commodity item.

Speaker 1:

Right, right.

Speaker 2:

Like that, like for me, that was that first meal that I was like oh, this, this is something special.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, this is an experience, not just something.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, you, yeah. So what that said, if you have some white wine and butter and a simple fan sauce and some capers, let me make an excellent cocktail with that.

Speaker 1:

Nice man. Yeah, We'll try that out. Moving on to some other ones too, I guess, if you wouldn't mind it, maybe let's jump into quail. We've got a bunch of whole quail that we have that are still left over and we're about to be going again. It's a lot of these. We have some left over from last year. We've tried a couple of different things, but love to hear it because we're also going to be going and putting more in the freezer here soon.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So for me personally I love the traditional quail just a little salt and pepper, hot, hot oven and 10 to 12 minutes, Like to me that's the best eating in the world. But I mean you, you can kind of elevate that by by spatch cocking them, yeah, Smoking them for about 30 minutes until they hit like that medium that you like, and then from that give them a quick flashing, flashing a pan with hot butter, just to kind of see, just to kind of crisp up the skin.

Speaker 1:

Yep.

Speaker 2:

And then you kind of get the best of both worlds with the fried and smoked quail you know getting hungry over here. Yeah, definitely definitely do that. Serve that maybe with a little fig jam and whole grain mustard.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

And you know, I bet that'd be delicious.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I'm in, and is that something? Do you do a lot of smoking? I mean, I was going to ask you too, like, as far as with your wild game things, is there certain stuff that you put on a smoker, or is it? Is that something you don't, you know, maybe utilize as often?

Speaker 2:

No, I do. I do a lot with the smoker. I actually really enjoy working with a traditional stick burner.

Speaker 1:

Yep.

Speaker 2:

You know, I think, I think pella grills are great. I think pella grills help people make make a lot of really good smoked food. But there's something about the artisanal effect of understanding the fire.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah For me at least Sure, no, I grew up with, you know it was. It was mesquite and just because that's what we always had and we've thousands of acres around us, but that was what it. And then, then, when we got, you know, I started hunting a little bit more in Central Texas, moving into Live Oak and really kind of learning that. So I've got a big old smoker that you know company I work with Horizon Smokers. It sent it down to me and so I'm really learning that it's been too hot in Texas because I feel, like, you know, I want to be comfortable when I'm cooking, at least you know it's been like 110 degrees in the shade. I'm like I don't want to sit next to a smoker right now, like it's the last thing I want to do at the end of the day. But you know, now, as the temperatures will hopefully be, you know, decreasing, that's something I'm going to be using a lot more. I love learning and having something about live smoke and putting the wood on yourself and so like again, like again. It's it's for those who use pellet and that's that's great. I prefer to use you know that that live wood method myself.

Speaker 2:

Hey you know, sometimes, depending on what I'm cooking and how long I've been doing it, I question like why haven't I got a pellet smoker? You know, somewhere around hour 18 of every 30 minutes throwing a log you know so tired.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you mean, you could Bluetooth this in. Yeah, exactly Look at him, buddy, he's, he's like out of his house, he's like, or he's at the beach and he's got a beach house and he's like telling me, he's like you know, just turned it up to whatever and I'm like from the beach, I was like, okay, this is, this is going. This is maybe something that I might need to check out, for just like those times you were saying hour 18. Yeah, what are you doing?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so oddly enough, we we're actually in in my man cave smoke hangout room. I this this project originally started out I needed a shed and I wanted to have like a little lean to to put my smoker under. So in the winter, you know, I wasn't fighting snow and wind and cold temperatures, and then I ended up with this and my smoker's still outside, so you know, but uh, it's all good, but now I have a much. But now I have a cool place with cable TV and then and it's climate controlled for, uh, smoking on a football Saturday.

Speaker 1:

So it makes those 18 hours not as difficult, then you know you have a place to come into for that, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Of a kitchen to mess up outside. Yep that my wife is in complaining that I'm messing up the kitchen inside.

Speaker 1:

Yes. So yes, this is important man. This is important as we grow and we're able to do those things. It's very important.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, no, but, um, yeah, with the game meets, though I I I find sometimes with the with the fat content of game meet, I will, um, um, start with some smoke and then end in more of a slow, braze kind of kind of wet, kind of wet method, yeah To to keep it from drying out so much. You know, yeah, Um, whether you're smoking a brisket or cooking venison shanks, it's it's that sweet spot of 180 degrees to 200 degrees that all of those connective tissues start to render out, and that's when you get that fall off the bone. Uh, tenderness of of those tougher cuts is in that window, and the longer you can hold it in that window, you know, the more, the more, the more, the more, the more tender and the more of those connective tissues are are going to render out and start adding flavor and collagen to like your different pan sauces and that sort of stuff. Sure, so, so, yeah, so I like to start a lot of that stuff on the smoker and the as kind of like a pre-cooked flavoring method, yeah, and then and then finish it off and, uh, something that's a little more composed, that can hold up to the amount of time that you have to cook it to achieve that result.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, great points, man. Great points. Um, I get, let me, let me throw maybe two more at you and then and then, uh, you know I'll kind of let you go on that one. But, um, I know that we talked before and that you enjoy a good pate. Is there anything besides pate that you're doing with venison liver?

Speaker 2:

Um, you know, I'll cut it into some grind, I'll, I'll. I typically save it for when I make it like boot. And you know, I love, I love adding liver to love adding liver to boot. And, um, you know, but like the country paté, a composed paté, head cheese.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

All of all of those are very similar with with the cooking methods, a lot of a lot of the seasonings and that sort of stuff. So I mean, as far as like just making a big old pan of some venison, liver and onions, I can't do it yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'm not a fan with it either, myself.

Speaker 2:

No, I love it. I love the flavor, notes and parts, but as far as just pulling on up and taking a big old bite and I can't, I can't do it, it's fair man.

Speaker 1:

I'm in the same boat man, I'm in the same, like even paté. There's a certain amount, there's only so many crackers I can have of it, but you know, the boot in is something I hadn't really. I hadn't integrated that as, and that's something that I really want to get into a little bit more of this year is kind of doing that Cause that's just something I I didn't grow up having that, so it's something that I'm I'm interested in.

Speaker 2:

So I mean, if I guess and it's simple, maybe it comes from previously working in the engineering field, but I process, I break down everything in a process, right. So in my mind I had cheese, paté, country paté and Boudin start off here and then at 1.1 goes this way, then at 1.1 goes that way, like, like they all kind of come, like there's an element of them that all kind of follow that same origin until you know it's, it's pulled off in a different direction by the addition of this ingredient or that ingredient. But you know you're, you're still working with the same parts.

Speaker 1:

Yep, yep.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you know. So, like when it comes to Boudin, like if you look up a Cajun head cheese recipe and a Cajun Boudin recipe, they're virtually identical in kind of with your addition of the liver and how you poach out the hog head and how you the ingredients you use, and then at some point you take what you allow to chill and become a block of head cheese and then you incorporate rice into it and stuff it into and stuff it into a natural hog casing and it's Boudin. Yeah, so, so, yeah, so I love, I love experimenting with stuff like that and kind of breaking that stuff and again, just kind of breaking that stuff down, and I also like kind of thinking of things I knew and grew up with.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And how do you like, how do you, how do you make, say, for instance, so, living out in Colorado right, we green chilies are huge here, right? Like, yeah, it's fire roasted chili season, right?

Speaker 1:

now, yes, big time.

Speaker 2:

You know, like New Mexico is known for their red chili, colorado for their green, there's some parts in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado that get in the full blown fistfights about who have the best chili. So so a few years ago I was like, how do I take? I had a bunch of wild, I had a bunch of wild hog, and I was like you always have pork and green chili. So I'm like, how do I make like a sausage with wild hog? Well, it's got all the flavors of green chili. So I started experimenting with that and then threw in a little pepper jack cheese and out comes this fire roasted wild hog green chili sausage. And it works well with venison. And I mean, how could it not work well? Yeah oh, with just shy of a flip flop. I mean you can kind of make anything with that flavor profile. It tastes pretty good, you know so. So my mind definitely kind of works a lot in the in that space of I like this, but I need this. So how can I? utilize bring in, use these. How can? How can I bend, how can I bend this to make it work with this sort of thing, right? And I think that's also kind of what lends. I think that mentality lends a lot to work with wild game, right, like like you aren't working with your fat ratios of domestic proteins, so how? So yeah, I think outside the box a little bit, maybe go a little atypical to get wild game to work as you would through 80, 20 ground beef, right.

Speaker 1:

Right no. I mean a lot of times the venison will add some like brisket fat or something that you know, just including something else, it might bring in a little bit of a different flavor profile. It's like that's people who are like, yeah, use a little bit of duck fat or just something that you know berries, different things that you may utilize to just try to see what kind of flavor profile that can bring and bring in in those other elements. You said the different types of cheeses or different types of peppers, and it's really just a fun you know experimental board to work with until you find out what you know flavor profiles you like or that you know those you're cooking for. Like it's just I this is the time of year that we're always just trying different things and new recipes. So much fun.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but with that said, not all ideas are good ideas. There's some ideas that are just hot garbage from the start. You know, probably you have a new. You shouldn't, you shouldn't go down.

Speaker 1:

There's definitely some filtering you can do as you grow your stuff, Like that recipe. I'm just going to skip that page altogether. I'm going to go to the next page.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean for the most part like I. Yeah, I experiment with two gnomes, but but yeah, there's. There are just certain things like licorice and lamb. Right, like you've never heard of anything with licorice and lamb. You know why? Because it doesn't work.

Speaker 1:

Maybe some green jelly go with what's known right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, like go with it, you can experiment, but the mint jelly, that's what I meant to say. The mint, yeah, yeah, yeah I mean, yeah, definitely feel free to feel free to experiment, but you know, you know, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, I've got one more that Matthew had sent me over earlier today. He's got some wild hog bottom round and he wanted to know what you would do with that if you had some of that at your disposal.

Speaker 2:

Oh, geez, wild hog bottom round. I would definitely go in and probably do like a little brie with it, you know, like braise that down and red chilies and then and then make, and then shred that up, make, make tacos with a little pico and have myself a nice little dipping jus with it. You know, actually right now the, the birria is something I've been experimenting with quite a bit, Like I've done it a few times just with whole venison shoulder, just just basically lop the hook, lop it off the knuckle, the knuckle just above the hoof, the whole thing in a hotel pan and just let it go. It comes out phenomenal, Wow, you know. And then and then also, you know, from a teaching standpoint, there's definitely, it's definitely a fun cooking method to include people up, bring them to the flat top and actually have them cook off their own tortillas and get that experience of working with that piece of equipment. You know, it's, it's a lot of fun, it's a great, great group meal, for that for sure, oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, have you done any full hog roast before? I mean, or you know cooking, where it's like you got throwing on a table and everyone's just kind of picking off their own.

Speaker 2:

Well, I did one like before, before I actually knew what I was doing. There was a, there was a restaurant in my hometown that would do like a wild hog cook off and and my buddies and I became friends with the owner and if we helped them with his whole hog day we didn't have a bar tab for the day, kind of deal, Nice, Nice, so well, yeah, so we went out.

Speaker 1:

we helped them, which that could actually hurt the end product potentially.

Speaker 2:

Well, exactly, I mean give yeah, don't give to like 24 year old guys an unlimited bar tab.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, come on in at nine boys yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's six am type deal. You know, yeah it it didn't bode well but but no, that actually that's been my only whole hog experience. But from that, I mean, I did learn a lot as far as the prep of the hog beforehand, because obviously we had not started the open tab before with the prep and I think that was the real work of it. So so I did learn how to like go in and and like cut the ribs and inject and and different injection blends and that sort of stuff. So it was pretty cool. It's something I've always been intrigued by. The times I've had it like you go out to South Carolina and you get it with, like the crispy skin but it's so tender and juicy in the middle and the vinegar sauce. I'm like I got to do that, yeah, but but yeah, it's a, it's a, it's a whole thing, right, like, like you're investing into a vessel that is good for cooking a hog and that's about it, yep. So, with that said, I haven't personally done done one to that capacity, but I have taken some, some little guys out in Texas and you know it started out with, oh yeah, this guy will fit on my smoker. And then by the time it was all said and done. I think I ended up parting it out and grind it and then yeah, yeah. Yeah, but, but. But the plan was always there and I know one day I'm going to bring that to fruition.

Speaker 1:

Nice. Well, you have to call me when you do. I've got a. I got my big, my smoker. Now that I have, I've got this whole last season where there's hogs on camera all the time and I couldn't wait to go and get one. And then, of course, whenever it came to them stepping out, it was always a 190 or 200 pound hog and I'm like I cannot fit that and I could probably you know I can get a shoulder or a leg on there, but I really had been waiting for that. You know, 50 pounder, that I can be able to do that. So my goal this year it's one of those is I want to get the whole thing on the smoker and do it that way, and you know we'll have to see how how that works out, but that's that's one of the goals there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, actually, the first hog hunt I did I was I was out near, near Abilene and we walked up on this tank and there were like all these hogs and I'm like, oh man, look at them. And I I just opened up and boy, the ground shrinkage I had when I walked up on them. They were all about that big I I could have sworn they were just massive hogs.

Speaker 1:

They could have been alive, they're just for this lawn.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the teeth, you know, and yeah, they were like this. I would like boy, all right.

Speaker 1:

That's not what I had planned, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I don't look so cool now.

Speaker 1:

Hey, but it'll fit on the smoker, so there you go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. And actually with that one I think we ended up cooking most of those at the ranch, just quartering them up. Yeah, I'm a, I'm just like cooking chicken quarters. You know, we just see these and I'm up and just had them on the grill, like that. It came out really good.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's I've done a few like that that the first time I ever cooked for my now wife I think we're dating at the time and in our I forgot exactly even how I did it. I did it on the grill and I just remember I think I finished it in some kind of sauce, but it was like it was the best thing. It was the best pork I've ever made, which, you know, there may be even astrics there. I've had some good ones I've made, but I was like wow, and of course there's no time or rhyme or reason of like exactly what I did, but that's something I've been working on recreating. And so I got a couple, got a couple shoulders, got a couple of legs and things. I'm going to try this here, but I'm definitely always down to, you know, learn. So I might be hitting you up on some ideas for some recipes. Oh, absolutely, thank you, yes, I will. I will definitely. You know I'm always open to good suggestions and trying different things out. So you know, before we leave, I did have you know. Two last questions. One is about your legacy. I want to know you know, in your professional and your personal, you know life. What is it that you look at as your legacy and what you want to be remembered as and for your contributions, and just kind of, maybe you know if you want to dive into those together or you know a separate. However it is, you see that, but you know, talk to me about your legacy.

Speaker 2:

You know, wow, that's a big question. It is, See me for the end. I'm like you know, ultimately, you know, I just would like to be known as an advocate that made the outdoors approachable. You know someone that was someone that was willing to share my knowledge with anyone who asked. You know I, there's definitely definitely truth in the statement. Knowledge is power, and you know, as I think of how much my access to the outdoors has changed just by the shifting of those that are entering, hunting behind me, I mean it's yeah, so 10 years from now, who's going to pick up this torch? Right? Yeah, 20 years from now, you know so well, yeah, I, I, I hope to, I hope to leave hope, to leave behind a bank of knowledge that and share enough of bank of knowledge that makes people curious to explore it for themselves. Yeah, but yeah, wow, man, how do you answer that question and not sound arrogant?

Speaker 1:

You know it's a tough one, man. You know I haven't been asked that one myself yet on any podcast and I I haven't even put the thought into. So it's a tough one, you know it's. It's, I think that you know I've heard a variety of answers because I've thought that that's an interesting question just to get people's mindset. But, like, I think, like you're talking about, like being able to, you know, you know be able to help facilitate that next person or that next generation or whatever it is that you're learning and make things a little bit better, you know, make things accessible. Obviously you're teaching and you're leaving, so much you know. I think you look at like your courses, right, someone comes in there. You have then taught them, you've empowered them with some bit of knowledge which they can springboard and learn more of. But until you've maybe opened that door, they didn't even know there was a door open or you know you didn't. You're just showing them a few colors, like someone was talking about the other day, like the idea of, like the crayon box. It's like you might have. They might have thought they had eight crayon colors to work with and all of a sudden you've opened it up and you got that 164, like whoa, and it's like, yeah, yeah, you guys don't even know there's a 256 box yet, but like you know, like you, whatever it is like you have this, you're opening up a love that will then it could be exponential. They could be showing their friends and their family and teaching them all the things they've learned from you. So you might not even ever know that extent of what you've done and how you've helped empower and change and enrich and have maybe introduced people to the outdoors and wildlife standpoint. You might be helping to inspire future photographers or videographers in the outdoors or conservationists. You just don't even know what you've done, but by you doing and by you sharing, you're helping create that potential legacy that could be, you know, exponential. So you don't know really right, yeah, you can only hope that you, you know inspired and yeah, I think you've done a lot of that. So I think that there's that's a wonderful thing. I mean, I know I'm excited for people to learn more about what you're doing, get involved in your courses, you know, follow you, and I guess that you know. Let's go ahead and tell people where can they follow you, how can someone sign up for when your courses in your classes if that's something they want to do. You know where are you posting about. You know how can, how can those folks come and be a part of this journey.

Speaker 2:

So for right now, the best way to follow me is either on Instagram at tagdow kitchen or on my webpage at tagdow kitchencom, as I have events open up that are that are available for sign up, and not so much of the private corporate stuff. But as I have events that I'm booking, that I'm opening up for sign up, they'll definitely be posted about either on Instagram or on my personal webpage. So anything I'm doing is going up there and we'll also have a little more comprehensive photo spread of the Buffalo processing. Awesome that interests you? Yes.

Speaker 1:

Should interest everybody. Yes, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So that's a story in the. That's a story that's currently in the works right now, so great. By the time this plays it'll probably be old news, but that's something you everyone will have to go and revisit.

Speaker 1:

even so, I, when you send me the picture of that thing hanging and you're next to it and you're not a small man, you know, and like it's not this, it's like. One of my friends was like ah, it's a, is that a photographic you know? Kind of trick, and I'm like I do not believe. So I was like, look at that again. That is a massive animal, massive.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and actually the head's like down to like it's so big I'm like, oh yeah, the head's right there too.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I was showing, I was showing my little one that last night too, and she's like wow, I'm like yes, yes, yeah, definitely.

Speaker 2:

What a challenge it was a lot of fun. I have got some reports back that the inside tenders were a little tough.

Speaker 1:

I can imagine it was a very, very old animal. But yeah, it's what do you come to expect, you know?

Speaker 2:

exactly.

Speaker 1:

Well, Lance, thank you so much for joining the podcast. I love watching your journey and just kind of. You know, I cannot wait to get to one of the events. I know I couldn't make it the last time there through my buddy. You know, our mutual friend, Michael Savva, told me all the wonderful things and kind of sent me pictures throughout it, so I was extremely jealous and it just made me look forward to the next time. So looking forward to you know, having that experience to you Everyone. Go visit Tagged Out Kitchen, follow Lance and Lance. Once again, Thank you so much for coming on.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, george, my pleasure.

Speaker 1:

All right, you take care, man.

Speaker 2:

You too, thanks, bye-bye, bye.

Wild Game Cooking and Hunting Insights
Tagged Out Kitchen
Wildlife Department's Hunting Approach and Tag Availability
Utilizing Wild Game Meat
Experimentation in Fusion Cooking
Meat Preservation and Storage Tips
Smoking and Cooking Game Meat Techniques
Cooking Methods and Aspiring Chefs
The Legacy of Knowledge and Inspiration
Podcast Interview With Lance

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