Monthly Archives: September 2013

Venison/Wild Pork Picadillo

Margaret portrait, Mary, picadillo 020Picadillo (peek-u-dee-yo) is a traditional savory Mexican dish that is easy to make and loved by all.  It is what people think of as the usual filling for tacos, flavorful ground meat with tomatoes, onions, garlic, comino (cumin), beef stock, and sometimes potatoes. I really love this recipe because it uses stuff that I always have around the kitchen.  It’s a relatively forgiving recipe in that it lends itself to substitutions nicely.  In essence, it’s nicely seasoned ground meat to be used primarily in tacos.  There are purists, I’m sure, who reel at the thought of leaving out any of the traditional ingredients.  Let’s be realistic, though. We must use good judgement and adjust all recipes with our loved ones in mind.   Well-seasoned ground venison and/or wild pork with some fresh corn tortillas or tostada shells, avocado, tomatoes, cilandro, and a nice cheese will bring love and admiration from any deerslayer family.  That said, let’s begin:


Margaret portrait, Mary, picadillo 016

1 lb. ground venison/wild pork mix (or just plain venison)

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

a glug of olive oil

1 tsp. comino (cumin)

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. salt

approx. 32 oz. beef stock

1 red potato, cubed

1 cup (or thereabouts) petite diced tomatoes

In a large cast iron skillet, saute onion in olive oil for a couple of minutes.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add ground meat.  Season with comino, salt, and pepper.  Cook on medium high heat until well browned.

deer in velvet, chicken enchiladas, picadillo, sorghum 014

 Add potato and canned tomatoes.

Margaret portrait, Mary, picadillo 018  Add enough beef stock to cover and simmer until potato is cooked through and liquid is reduced.

Use your imagination.  Add picadillo to tacos, use as a filling for enchiladas, sprinkle it over taco salad. Eat it out of a bowl!  Just know that it will be good and good for you, too.



Venison and Barley Soup

vail, rabbit, venison and barley soup, 9-13-13 098Okay, it isn’t officially autumn yet.  It sure as hell doesn’t feel like it here in the Rio Grande Valley,  But Fall is my favorite time of year, dammit, and I will be attaching a wreath to the door that signifies my love of the season.  I will be purchasing pumpkins in all shapes, sizes and colors to adorn my home and I will be drawing from my collection of pumpkin recipes that will fill my home with the heady aromas that ARE autumn.

I’ve already begun my regular autumn soup regimen.  I began by scouring the freezers for “Cook-all-Day” venison and pork.  These are the scraps of neck meat and sinewy forequarter bits that we didn’t grind.  When cooked all day, these “cuts” of meat are perfect for soups, stews, enchiladas, etc.  I always cook up about 10+ pounds at a time.  This cooked meat becomes so tender, it will shred easily and can be packaged up in one-pound amounts and frozen to be used in countless recipes. The broth and meat juices are a delicious addition to any soup.

I recently experimented with an old favorite, venison soup.  I wanted to make it just a little heartier.  I’d never cooked with barley before and was eager to try it.  It was a huge success.  Deerslayer loved it and asked for seconds and thirds.  Junior Deerslayer loved it, too.  So, here it is!   Prepare to be loved and appreciated!

Venison and Barley Soup

vail, rabbit, venison and barley soup, 9-13-13 086

1 chopped onion

olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. dried thyme

64 oz. beef stock

1 cup dried barley

1 pound cook-all-day venison and/or pork*

plenty of the gelatinous goodness (at least a cup taken from the roasting pan)

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1 cup frozen peas

corn cut from one ear (or about 2/3 cup canned)

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In a large soup pot, saute’ chopped onion in olive  oil.  When onion is transparent, add carrots, celery, bay leaves, and thyme. Stir for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add stock.  Bring  to a boil.  Add barley and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add meat, peas, and corn.  Simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes.  Serve with herbed mozzarella toast.

* See “Come and Take It

Herbed Mozzarella Toast

one baguette

several small mozzarella balls in herbed olive oil

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Cut baguette into several ovals.  Drain mozzarella balls and cut in half.  Arrange several on each baguette slice, about 3 depending on the size of the baguette.  Place baguette slices with cheese on a cookie sheet and place under the broiler until toasted and bubbly.  Serve with Venison Barley Soup.

vail, rabbit, venison and barley soup, 9-13-13 096

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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Hunting, Recipes, Side Dishes, Venison, Wild Pork


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Rock Doves: Good and Plentiful Eatin’

800px-Rock_dove_-_natures_picsI made an interesting and tasty discovery after my Doveslayer’s very successful dove hunt last week.   Limits were had all ’round. For the first time, rock doves were harvested. They are also called feral pigeon and are hugely plentiful.Sadly, when they’re called pigeon rather than rock dove, however, many people turn up their noses. I have to admit, I kinda felt the same way.  Sky possums?  What the hell?  Doveslayer brought them home, plenty of them, enough for a couple of meals so I figured I may as well find out for myself if they were any good. What if there’s a zombie apocalypse and there’s nothing else to eat?  Rock doves are everywhere!   I prepared them using the Special Occasion Whitewing recipe.  First of all, the birds are about 1½ the size of a whitewing, That’s definitely in their favor.  The rock dove has the same mild, dark-meat flavor as whitewing but with more meat.

For the skeptics, push past your prejudice.  I give rock doves two-thumbs-up.  I think the larger size and mild flavor are really what sold me.  No limits!  Way plentiful! Zombie apocalypse-proof!  What’s not to love?  Find out more about rock doves at:

After the big hunt, it was rewarding for the hunters to sit down to a huge whitewing feast.  Plucking and gutting went well into the night.  It was hard, hot work, but rewarding. (Do not get the mistaken impression that I was part of grueling task of cleaning the birds.  It’s times like this that it really comes in handy knowing how to rustle up God’s bountydriving the lease, bird hunt 9-13 053.)  I was glad that I was able to reward the hunters with a feast of Special Occasion Whitewing which  I’d cooked in batches earlier in the week.  Since I prefer to cook in a large,covered cast iron dutch oven,  I prepared approx.18 doves at a time over three days.  The doves went into rectangular Rubbermaid containers and into the fridge.  On the day of the feast, the doves were separated from the gravy and placed, breast-side-down in a big restaurant-sized pan.  I collected all the congealed gravy goodness into a large cast iron skillet, added a little chicken stock and reheated it until a good gravy consistency was achieved. I poured the gravy over the birds, added extra stock until birds were almost covered, I covered the whole thing with foil, sealed around the edges and placed in 350º oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Done.

It’s really good to know that birds can be prepared ahead of time.  They can even be cooked, frozen, thawed, and then reheated.  My doveslayer’s uncle LOVES whitewing and takes some Special Occasion Whitewing back to Colorado with him every time he visits.  It’s good to be loved!



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Favorite Whiskey BBQ Sauce Update

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI mentioned in a previous post that my favorite BBQ sauce is made by a Texas boy in New Braunfels.  I love to showcase local products and this is a truly outstanding one. Skipkenny Whiskey BBQ Sauce has a wonderful flavor that compliments any wild game. It’s great with pulled wild pork, ribs, cook-all-day venison, and chopped bbq sandwiches.  The whiskey flavor is bold enough to count!  I really think you’ll

I first came upon Skipkenny Whiskey BBQ sauce at a farmers’ market in San Antonio.  I fell in love with it and ordered a case (since it’s not currently available in the Rio Grande Valley).  I’m thrilled to say that Skipkenny is now available on and at   I’ve heard that two new varieties will be available soon.  Yay!


Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Uncategorized


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