Three Recipes with a Unique Twist

Now that duck season is underway I want to share a very simple, yet unique way to prepare the wild fare you’ll bring home from the field. A second recipe will turn your deer camp into a bunch of coffee-loving connoisseurs. Finally, a third recipe will help turn gamey-tasting meat into a gourmet delight. All three recipes are proven winners and will leave your friends wondering how in the world you did it.

7-Up Duck
First off, 7-Up duck is not so much a recipe as it is a method of preparation. To begin, you will need several cans of 7-Up on hand (and we’re not talking the diet variety here). Once your game birds are perfectly cleaned and ready to marinate, you simply take enough 7-Up and pour this soda into a pan that contains your meat. Ideally you want the meat to be completely submerged into the marinade, but it’s perfectly acceptable to turn the meat periodically, as well.

The main goal of marinating fowl with 7-Up is to add a slight citrus flavoring as well as slightly sweetening the meat. Personally, I also add a little salt to the marinate as this helps to draw out some of the blood and other undesirable substances in areas where pellets may still be in the meat. Although I haven’t done it…there would be no reason not to further experiment by adding some seasoning to the marinate mixture. However, the first time you try 7-Up duck just use the soda as your marinade…chances are you won’t want to mess further with something that is so perfect and simple.

Leave the meat in the marinade overnight in the refrigerator. Then when you are ready to cook, discard all liquids and prepare the meat in your favorite manner. The key here is the meat needs to be in the marinade at least overnight. This recipe is provided courtesy of my good hunting buddy, Jeff Flood, of Mankato.

Scandinavian Egg Coffee
Okay, I know this sounds awful, but believe me…if you follow this recipe carefully you’ll be glad you took the risk. I first came across this recipe one fall when I was working as a park ranger. I approached a campsite where an older gentleman camper had a large (32 cup) coffee boiler hanging on a tripod over an open fire. It was one of those crisp fall days with the smell of leaves burning in the campfires. But the smells from this campsite were particularly enticing. The camper invited me in for a cup of coffee and how could I refuse.

WOW! One sip and I quickly declared it the best coffee I had ever tasted. I’m not a big coffee fan, but this brew was some special and out of the ordinary…and the anonymous camper was mighty proud of it, too. He gave me the recipe for his concoction with the caution that you must follow each instruction carefully or it will not turn out.

In a 32 cup coffee boiler (that would be a coffee pot with no innards) bring the water to a rolling boil in the pot. While the water is heating, take a separate container and mix one egg (the entire egg—shell and all), one cup of coffee grounds, and one-half cup of water. Essentially you will have a paste like mixture that looks much like potting soil.

Once the water is boiling in the pot…add this entire mixture of coffee and egg into the boiling water. Let it boil for an additional two minutes then remove the pot from the fire. Finally, take one cup of COLD water and throw into the coffee pot. The cold water will settle the coffee grounds to the bottom of the pot, if everything was done correctly. If there are still some grounds floating…then skim them off carefully before serving. The result is a coffee lacking some of the bitterness (removed by the egg) but with every bit the full flavor.

I guarantee hunters in your camp will be impressed by your newly discovered expertise in coffee brewing. HINT: Remember; when boiling the water you will be adding more volume to the pot so do not completely fill the pot initially with water. Also, if you choose to make a smaller batch simply cut the proportions in half, but ALWAYS use an entire egg.

Venison Roast with Coffee Seasoning
Okay, sticking with the coffee theme…I also suggest you try seasoning your next venison roast with coffee grounds. Simply do this: Prepare your venison roast for the oven or crock pot as you normally would do. Now when it comes time to season it, take and wrap the roast with bacon strips using toothpicks to hold each strip in place. Then, take a tablespoon of INSTANT coffee grounds and lightly sprinkle over the entire top of the venison roast. The result will be a roast that imparts a delicious flavor with no hints of gaminess. And no, just to answer your question…guests will NOT think the meat tastes like coffee…but they will want to know your new culinary secret. This recipe is provided courtesy of my cousin, Gary Urness.

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.

Do Your Housekeeping…in the Woods!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll do whatever it takes to avoid doing housekeeping chores. It’s boring…it can waste a good portion of your day…and let’s face it, the work is not easy, either. Still, I think we can all agree on the importance of keeping our house in some semblance of order.

But today I’m not talking about keeping your house clean…I’m talking about doing your “housekeeping” chores out in the woods. There is no better time of the year than to spend some time now out in the deer woods doing some of the putsy things that need to be done. Furthermore, I’m convinced that with anything in life…you get out of it how much you put into it. Investing a few hours around your deer stand now can pay big dividends later this fall.

This year my schedule is just too busy to find time to bow hunt…so I’m focusing all my energies on the November firearms deer hunt. That doesn’t mean I must wait until late October to get serious about the hunt. Now is the best time to accomplish the following:

1. Check over your deer stand. Has any of the wood become rotten since last year? Perhaps a board or two is missing and needs replacing. Now is the best time to disrupt the woods so that the deer have at least four weeks to get used to those changes you’ve made before firearms season begins.

2. Locate your deer lanes. Where are the deer trails? Not only will it help you anticipate where you might see a deer this fall when on stand…but maybe you can make it easier for the deer to travel thus increasing your chances. I always bring a saw and pruning shears with me and make the little cosmetic improvements necessary. I figure if I can move more easily on the trail…so can the deer. Hint: Try not to walk directly on the deer trails, if possible.

3. Bring a broom. You probably think I’m kidding…but I am completely serious. Once you have “improved” your access trail to the deer stand take the finishing touches necessary by sweeping the trail. Get rid of all those little sticks that go “CRACK” at the most inopportune time when you are sneaking into the woods.

4. Mark your access routes. There is nothing more frustrating than walking carefully into the woods and then getting disoriented in the darkness. I use biodegradable flagging material making little trails by tying pieces to twigs every 6 feet or so. Alternatively, you can buy the little reflective pushpins that will reflect light from even a small flashlight.

5. Avoid making one of my biggest pet peeves in the woods. Don’t spit, don’t pee, don’t do anything that is going to unnecessarily serve as evidence that you spent a few hours in the area. Nature has such acute senses that it could literally take weeks for your scent to completely dissipate. Take a lesson from a trapper who owes his success on odor management. Most trappers use rubber gloves and NEVER touch any of their trapping equipment with bare hands. Likewise, they wear rubber boots when they walk their trapline and would never think of wearing tennis shoes or leather boots. Why then does it make any sense to urinate next to your deer stand when you are taking all these special efforts to fool one of the wiliest critters in nature? Well, it doesn’t!!!

I’m not saying that housekeeping in the woods is any more fun than it is in your living abode. But I can assure you one thing…that party I’m throwing the first weekend of November (Minnesota Firearms Deer Opener) has some special guests on the invite list…and I’m not taking any chances that some little detail might go wrong.

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.