You can tell when people like meat. Their eyes light up at the mention of mallard and they smile and ask, “What’s this?” as they reach out for a mytery offering.
I appreciate people who have an adventurous appetite.
My wife will not eat game meat, except pheasant. She likes fish, but even fish often take a back seat to anything Safeway.
When I hunt, I prefer to shoot stuff. Bringing home a prize is part of the fun. I enjoy preparing game to eat, but without eaters I’m at a disadvantage.
That’s why my freezer fills up.
When that happens, it’s time to get to work.
On my Idaho trip I came home with 50 pounds of pure meat and also found a great Jerky and Sausage Supply store in the small Idaho town of Kooskia. I went a little overboard purchasing seasonings and cures, but I’m having fun with them. The company has an online store: www.eldonsausage.com.
Over the past week, I’ve made three batches of jerky. The first two were with venison and I tried Eldon’s Original and AC Legg’s Maple Style. I prefered the Eldon’s original. While brining meat in Eldon’s Premium Ham Brine in preparation for smoking, I threw in some duck breasts from non-mallards. I often make jerky from the likes of spoonies, cinnamon teal, wigeon and gadwall.
Another good brine for jerky is a 50/50 mix of soy sauce and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. With these, overnight brining is enough.
On the other hand, the ham brine recipe calls for several days of soaking. After 5 days I decided to check out the meat. It was ready for smoking while the breasts were ready for the jerky maker. Yesterday I fired up my water smoker and sliced the breasts in preparation for the dehydrator. (I use a NESCO, American Harvest Food Dehydrator and Jerky Maker. It works well.)
After a day of smoking, the meat (ducks, geese and venison) came out of the smoker looking quite good and tasting great. I have to watch myself while I’m doing all this because if I eat too much of the product I swell up like a balloon. You don’t want to take in too much salt! That’s why you need eaters!
The “ham-brine” duck jerky also came out excellent, but the Eldon’s Original is still my favorite.
Last weekend I made a big dent in the venison by producing 15 pounds of summer sausage with High Mountain Seasoning’s summer sausage kit. It came out perfect. I highly recommend their product – just follow the directions.
My grinder is a Cabela’s Heavy Duty Grinder that I purchased for about $70. It will produce two pounds per minute and that’s fast enough for me. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ve already got my money’s worth.
Now my freezer has some room, but (hopefully) not for long.