Cooking wild game in the field brings the hunting experience full circle. Whether you cook a fresh piece of wild game meat or bring along a previous harvest, it’s hard to beat a warm meal cooked on your tailgate. I love hunting first light through mid-morning then returning to the car for hot coffee and breakfast. Your hunting buddies will also appreciate a round of tailgate snacks and beverages and it’s a great opportunity to fill up while recapping on the day’s hunt.
Organize a Portable Kitchen
There are a number of ways to go about cooking in the field. A small charcoal grill works well but requires time to prepare and heat coals. Propane is ideal for instant heat and heat control. I used an old Coleman 2 burner for years and it never failed. I recently upgraded to a Camp Chef Rainier Camper Combo model. The combination burner and griddle is perfect for heating beverages while simultaneously cooking on a flat-top surface. The griddle and grease trap reduces the amount of dishes to clean and is easy to wipe down in the field.
I keep a plastic storage container with a portable camp kitchen. It transitions easily between boats, vehicles and campsites. The container has a bottle of olive oil, salt and pepper shakers, hot sauce, a set of lightweight nesting pots/pans designed for camping trips, utensils and a small cleaning tub with steel wool, a sponge and dish-soap approved for camping and greywater systems. Paper towels and a dish towel are also a helpful. This system is simple and easy to keep organized.
Quick Wild Game Recipes
Advanced preparation and simple recipes are perfect for the field. Premake meals when possible and consider doing your slicing and chopping the night before. Making vegetable and potato foil packs in advance is perfect for cooking over fire or on a hot charcoal grill.
Salted and Seared
Fresh game requires very little to cook in the field. Pull a prime piece of backstrap, tenderloin or turkey breast meat, add salt, pepper and sear it in butter or oil. Rare to medium rare is perfect. I like cooking sliced mushrooms in a small pot with butter on the side. Ideally morels or another wild, edible variety.
Bacon Wrapped Snacks
Time to get rid of meat from last year? Bacon is my first choice for the tougher cuts and meat that needs to be eaten. Lay out half strips of bacon, cut up chunks of meat and roll it up with jalapeno and cream cheese. Peg everything together with a toothpick and add your favorite marinade if desired (mine is teriyaki). You can cook these in a pan, on a griddle or grill. They always seem to disappear quickly.
Soup, Chili and Stew
These are easy and work great for cold weather cooking. I like to cook large portions in advance and freeze 1-2 meal portions. There are plenty of slow-cooker game recipes that are filling and delicious. Heat it up for a quick lunch at the truck and fill a thermos with the leftovers before you head back into the field.