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​Recipes and Grilling Ideas

Bacon Wrapped, Apple Smoked Steaks/Chops

Cut 2" steaks out of your shoulder or rear quarters of your pork, venison or other meat. You can also use thick-cut loin chops for this. Wrap bacon strips around each steak/chop and secure with a toothpick or part of a wooden skewer through the bacon and meat to keep the bacon wrapped around it. I usually like to pre-cook the bacon a little bit before wrapping it around the the meat as the wild game will usually cook faster than the bacon. 


As a good rule of thumb, it helps to soak the toothpicks or skewers for about 20 minutes in water so they will not burn on the grill. At this point you can marinate the meat, inject it with marinade, or use a dry rub and season to your preference. I recommend Stubbs Steakhouse Marinade or even Italian dressing, as we talked about earlier.

Grill your steaks/chops over a medium fire with apple wood or add some apple smoking chips to your existing fire.  You can use any kind of hardwood to enhance flavor but the apple flavor from the wood adds a super taste to both the bacon and the meat! The bacon works to add flavor and keep in the moisture of the meat. 


Chicken Fried Cutlets

The loin (backstrap) and tenderloin are usually regarded as the most revered cuts of meat. These cuts come from muscles that do not work very hard and, consequently, are rather tender in comparison to the rest of the animal. You can grill, roast, braise, barbeque, chicken fry or do a number of other things with these cuts but we will talk about my favorite method here. 

Cut up your loins/tenderloin, or even thin cutlet sections from the legs or shoulders, into small steaks about 1/2" thick. Pound these cutlets flat with a tenderizing mallet. Prepare a dry mixture of flour, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings in one bowl for your dry ingredients. Prepare another bowl with milk and one or two beaten eggs, depending on the amount of meat you want to do. 

Start by dipping your meat into the milk and egg mixture and then roll in the dry mix. To ensure the batter is evenly coated on the meat, I will usually repeat this process. Deep fry or pan fry in hot oil until golden brown. I like using a Fry Daddy Jr. electric fryer to ensure a consistent temperature. Watch the meat as it will cook quickly. Serve with brown or white country gravy.

Whole Loin Roasts

Another great method for cooking loins is to leave the backstrap whole or cut them into two pieces so you have four shorter, equally long thick loin roasts from two backstraps. You can do likewise with your tenderloins.  Marinate, dry rub, or inject these small roasts as mentioned above and grill inside foil. As mentioned before, using an Italian dressing or other marinade will keep the meat from drying out. Wrapping the roast completely in bacon is also a very popular method to cooking a whole loin roast and the foil will help contain your marinade and moisture during cooking.




Warncke’s Wild Game Chili
Notes: We substitute 4 lbs of ground venison chili meat in place of the beef chili meat and used 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup in place of the molasses.

1 Pound Smoked Maple Flavored Bacon, Chopped
1 Tbsp. Shortening or Oil
4 Pounds Ground Chili Meat
2 Onions, Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
3 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 ½ tsp. Oregano 
1 ½ tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Cayenne
2 Tbsp. Salt (use 1 1/2 tbsp. first)
1 Tbsp. Molasses
2 (6oz.) Tomato Paste
1 (26 oz.) Can Chopped Tomatoes with Chilies
1 Can Beef Broth
1 Cup Tomato Juice

1. In Dutch Oven, brown bacon and chili meat in shortening. 
2. Drain all but 5 tablespoons of bacon/beef fat.   
3. Add onion and garlic and cook until clear in bacon/beef fat.  
4. Drain fat.  
5. Return drained meat to pot and mix with sauteed onions and garlic.  
6. Add all spices (chili powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne and salt).  
7. Add molasses.  
8. Mix all together well.  
9. Add both cans of tomato paste, canned chopped tomatoes with chilies, beef broth and tomato juice.  
10. Mix all of these ingredients together well.  
11. Cover and simmer one hour stirring occasionally.  
12. Uncover and simmer another hour stirring occasionally.  
13. Cool.  Refrigerate overnight to marinate the flavors.
14. Reheat and serve!


Stuffed Rolled Venison Log
This is a variation of Ted Nugent’s recipie from the “Kill It and Grill It” cookbook. We substituted prosciutto and dry coppa for the ham and used bacon burger (venison ground with bacon fat) for the ground meat.  We also covered the top with more prosciutto. That never hurts!

2 Pounds. Ground Venison
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 1/2 cups Quaker Oats (uncooked)
4 Tablespoons A-1 Sauce
8 Slices Boiled Deli Ham
1 Pound Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Mix venison, onion, oats, A-1, and salt & pepper, and shape into a loaf.
2. Spread aluminum foil on a flat surface, and flatten loaf to approx. 12′ x 14″ and 1/2″ thick.
4. Lay slices of ham on top to cover entire surface.
5. Cover with cheese. Roll up and pinch sides.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour covered with foil.
7. Remove foil and cook an additional 30 minutes until brown on top.

Butterflied Pork or Venison Roast
This is a recipe I adapted from my father-in-law, who made it for a large family meal. He used commercial pork for the meat but wild pork or venison can work as well. This is a longer recipe than the others but I can assure you the time and preparation is worth the end result. You can stuff the roast and wrap it in bacon a day ahead of time, which will allow the meat to absorb more of the flavors.

Meat:
3 pound boneless Pork or Venison Loin

For Stuffing:
1/4 lb. Dried Apricots, Cut into 1/2-inch Pieces
1/4 lb. Pitted Prunes or Cranberries, Cut into 1/2-inch Pieces
2/3 Cup Ruby Port
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Small Shallot, Finely Chopped
3/4 Stick Unsalted Butter
1 Tart Apple such as Granny Smith, Peeled and Cut into 1/2-inch Pieces
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper

For Roast:
1 (2- to 3-Pound) Boneless Pork Loin, Butterflied
6 to 8 Bacon Slices
Salt and Pepper

For Port Sauce:
1/2 Cup Ruby Port
1 Small Shallot, Finely Chopped
2 Tsp. Flour

1. An hour before you plan to cook the meat, remove the loin from the fridge and rest, covered, on the counter.
2. In a small saucepan with the lid on, simmer apricots, prunes (or other dried fruit) and port for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.

3. Cook onion and shallot in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add apple, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until apple is just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in apricot mixture and cool.

4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub salt and pepper on the outside of the butterflied pork loin and then open the meat on a cutting board. Spread the cooled mixture in the middle. Close the loin and, using kitchen twine, tie the roast in several places to keep the filling in place. (I found that turning the stuffed loin on its side, with the crease on a cutting board and the open end on the top, allowed me to securely tie the meat without the stuffing falling out. Place strips of bacon on top of the loin.

5. Put the stuffed and bacon-wrapped meat on a rack in a heavy roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 325 degrees and continue roasting for another 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the loin, until a thermometer registers 140 degrees. Transfer roast to a cutting board, reserving pan juices, and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Skim fat from pan drippings and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fat. Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners and add port to drippings, then deglaze pan by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. (If your roasting pan is not suited for use on the stove-top, you’ll have to skip this sauce-making method.) Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.

7. Cook shallot in reserved fat in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in pan juices, 1 1/4 cups water and any reserved fruit stuffing and bring to a simmer. Whisk together flour and 1/4 cup water until smooth, then whisk into sauce with any juices from cutting board.

8. Simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

9. Carve roast, removing kitchen twine, if using, then serve with sauce. Serves 4 to 6.


Stuffed Venison and Wild Rice 
A very good friend of mine from Central Illinois told me about this recipe and I have to say it is one of my favorite ways to prepare venison. This is similar to a Beef Wellington but with fewer ingredients. This incorporates Phyllo Dough, which is normally used in pastries or tarts. It is a light and flaky dough when cooked but it comes in layered sheets, almost resembling paper, out of the freezer section of the grocery store. It takes a little practice to learn how to work with it but the end product is well worth the effort.

1-3 Pound Venison Backstrap or Other Cut of Meat, Butterflied and Pounded Flat 
2 Cups Wild Rice
1 Package Phyllo Dough
½ Stick of Butter, Melted
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Egg Wash (Combination of Whisked Egg Blended with Water or Milk)
​Steak Seasoning

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove Venison from refrigerator and season on each side with steak seasoning.

2.) Boil Wild Rice or Cook in a Rice Cooker until done. Follow the respective directions for the rice as needed.

3.) Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat, add meat and sear on both sides to brown. Remove and set aside to cool.

4.) Lay out Phyllo Dough Sheets. Depending on size, feel free to divide larger sheets into smaller sheets for layering the meat and rice mixture. Gently brush melted butter over each sheet, one at a time.

5.) Place seared tenderloin onto first sheet, spoon in wild rice mixture with meat, and wrap it with the initial dough sheet. It should be pliable and softened by the melted butter by this point. Do not despair of any of the sheets tear or are hard to work with. This part takes practice and you can fix any issues with another sheet layered  over the others if needed. Repeat the process with three more sheets, layering each one,  and fully covering the meat and rice mixture. Pinch and tuck under edges to seal. Brush finished pastry with egg wash which will aid in browning the pastry in the oven as it bakes.

6.) Place wrapped tenderloin in oven for 15-20 minutes for rare/medium rare or 20-25 minutes for medium/medium well. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. The outside should be a light to medium golden brown color.






Texas-Style Cheesy Venison Enchiladas
This idea was inspired by my Aunt April (aka Aunt Pokey). No I am not sure why they call her Pokey but that happens to be her nickname. In my high school years, Aunt Pokey moved into a house near my grandparents and, when I often visited, she frequently made Venison Enchiladas using red corn tortillas and deer meat. I have been attracted to this meal idea for many years but only started experimenting with it over the past four years or so and, if I dare to say so, I think I finally nailed it! This is a very simple recipe.You can alter any of the ingredients and probably still come out with a great result. Keep in mind, I do use store bought seasoning here but real taste comes from the meat and cheeses in my opinion. 

3 Cups Water
1- 6 to 8 ounce Can of Tomato Paste OR 16 ounce can of Tomato Sauce
2 Pounds of Bacon Burger or Regular Burger Meat (Although the bacon flavor is awesome here!)
2 ½ Cups Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
1 Cup Processed Cheese (AKA Velveeta or Store Brand)
1 Package Enchilada Seasoning (I use Lawry’s® Enchilada Sauce Spices and Seasonings)
10-12 Corn Tortillas
1/4 to 1/2 White or Yellow Onion – Diced (If desired)  
2 Tablespoons of Steak or Taco Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix water, tomato paste or sauce and contents of Enchilada Sauce Spices & Seasonings packet in a 2-quart saucepan until well blended. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I have found that this usually makes enough sauce to handle two pounds of meat and up to 16 tortillas although the recipe from the sauce packet only calls for 8-12 tortillas.

 2. Meanwhile, brown ground meat in large skillet on medium-high heat. I usually will season the meat with some steak or taco season as it browns. Drain fat, if desired. Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese.

 3. Pour 1 cup of the enchilada sauce into 13x9-inch baking dish. Use a larger baking dish if needed. Coat each tortilla in remaining sauce. Spoon meat mixture down center of each tortilla. Add more cheese to the meat if desired. Fold over tortillas sides. Place seam-side down in baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle 1 cup of Mexican cheese and diced onion

4. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 Cup Processed Cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.



Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

One of my local meat processors, Cosper’s Meat Market in Killeen, Texas makes some of the best fresh link sausage in the area. With Polish, Bratwurst, and Italian link sausage flavors to choose from, I keep my freezer rotating between all three. You can also make Italian sausage from a seasoning kit available at most sporting goods stores or major retailers . Meagan and I recently tried the below recipe for sausage stuffed mushrooms with some Italian Deer Sausage. This is about as gourmet as it gets and you can make this an appetizer or full entrée.

20 Large Mushrooms
1 Pound Italian Deer Sausage
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Winchester
1/2 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
2 Tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Remove the stems from each mushroom. 
2. Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stuff each mushroom with the mixture.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. 


Dustin’s Famous Wild Fajitas
You can tenderize just about any cut of meat for fajita meat. Make a cut from a shoulder or leg quarter of a big game animal and pound it flat or even use a loin or tenderloin for this recipe as well by simply cutting it lengthwise (butterflying). Whatever you choose, use 3-4 pounds and trim the meat and pound it flat with a tenderizing mallet or an electric or manual tenderizer. After your meat is tenderized, marinate it with the following marinade overnight or for 24 hours in a freezer bag or non-metallic bowl. 

​Meat: 3-4 Pounds Tenderized

Marinade
1 ¼ Cup Lime Juice
¾ Cup Olive Oil
½ Cup Soy Sauce
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Can of Beer 
½ teaspoon Oregano
½ teaspoon Cumin
½ teaspoon Paprika 
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper

1. Fire up the grill on medium-high heat and set grill rack about 6-7 inches from fire.
2. Grill on each side over direct fire about 6-10 minutes each side until done. 
3. Cut the meat against the grain and sauté or grill some sliced bell peppers and onions on the side, if desired.
4. Serve some sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, and salsa on the side along with flour tortillas.

Smoked Queso


1 pound Bacon Burger or other Ground Meat  
1/2-Whole Medium Onion (Diced)
1-2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic 
1-2 teaspoons Cumin Powder
1-2 Cans of Canned Diced Tomatoes 
1 Loaf of Processed Cheese (Velveeta or Store Brand)

1. Sautee the garlic and onions together in a skillet and add cumin to taste. 
2. After the onions and garlic are cooked, put them in a slow cooker.
3. Next, brown your ground meat and place it in the slow cooker with the onions and garlic. 
4. Stir together with onions and garlic. 
5. Dice the cheese, for easier melting, and put them in the slow cooker next. 
6. Once the cheese starts melting you can incorporate it with the meat and onion. 
7. Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours. 
8. Serve with tortilla chips!

"Bacon" Burgers
In the last part of our series, we talked about making bacon burger meat or simply using Bacon Ends and Pieces, commonly purchased in most meat markets, in making burger meat. For flavor, I use game meat with 10-20% bacon pieces which yields is a juicier burger with good bacon flavor. Sautéed bacon and onions on the top of your finished burger are another nice touch if you would prefer to include bacon that way instead. You can always do both! My best burger recipe is relatively easy:

2 Pounds Burger Meat mixed with Bacon or "Bacon Burger" Meat
1 Packet Onion Soup Mix
1 Egg
2 Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to Taste

You can also add cheese crumbles or any other seasoning or ingredients you would like. I can assure you though, just using the above ingredients will make some incredible burgers.

Panhaus/Scrapple
Traditional Panhaus, or Scrapple, is an old world food that consists of pork or other meat and cornmeal moistened with beef or chicken broth and cooked down. It is seasoned with various spices, formed into loaves, and allowed to cool. Before serving, the loaf is unmolded, cut into ½ inch slices and pan fried. This is an old world recipe brought over from the Dutch and German immigrants coming into the USA many years ago and both sides of my family would make this when I was young as a breakfast food and serve it with toast and eggs. The original idea of this recipe came from using the lesser cuts meat or scraps from other cuts of meat, hence the name of “scrapple”. This was a resourceful way to use and preserve “everything but the squeal” from pigs and other livestock. Here is our family recipe: 


4 Cups Browned Ground or Finely Chopped Game Meat 
6 Cups Chicken or Beef Broth
2 Cups of Cornmeal
3/4 Cup of Flour

To Taste: Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Onion, Paprika, etc.

 This is a cornmeal based recipe which is cooked down to a mash/paste consistency and poured into a loaf pan. 
1. Start with your broth in a large pot and turn your heat on high until you get a simmering boil. 
2. Add your meat and slowly start to stir in cornmeal and flour. 
3. Turn your heat down to medium and continue to stir as the mixture thickens into a paste-like consistency, to where it is almost hard to stir. If you do not constantly stir this mixture in the pot by pulling the mixture away from the sides, the mixture can easily burn.   
4. After you have the mixture to a very thick consistency, pour it into a loaf/bread pan and allow it to cool. 
5. After it cools, the Panhaus will take the shape of the loaf pan and will look much like a hard loaf of yellow bread. 
6. Now you can slice a piece of Panhaus and fry in a pan or cast-iron skillet until brown on both sides, much like how you would pan fry breakfast sausage. Serve for breakfast or anytime!  I usually make a batch or two and freeze it into serving sizes for quick access on weekend mornings!





These are among my favorite recipes and cooking ideas to share with you and I hope you enjoyed this three part series. Eating what you catch or kill and making different meals from the resulting meat is as much as part of the experience as the outdoor adventure and pursuit of that quarry, in my opinion. I certainly hope I have given you some new ideas and inspiration for your future outdoor endeavors. Many blessings to you as I wish you a safe and fun journey in the woods and on the waters.
Are You Gonna Eat That? 
Part Three: Fire up that Grill! Wild Game Cooking Recipes and Fun Ideas
by Dustin Vaughn Warncke, M&P Pro-Staff
​We covered the basics of the best things to eat and basic best ways to prepare and cook wild game and fish in the first two parts of this series. This section will be where we get into some details of making some meals out of our quarry. My main outdoor pursuits are for big game and bowfishing so I wanted to cover some ideas of what I have used to feed my family, a group of a few friends and family, and even crowds numbering in the hundreds. Bill “Prowler” Henson suggested I include a coyote recipe in here, as a joke, of course. I have not figured that one out yet but feel free to email me and let me know if you have an idea. 

The miracle of our creation is that predator animals, “the hunters”, usually do not taste as good as prey animals, also known as “the hunted”. One of the best ways I teach young and new hunters the difference between predator and prey animals is the location of the eyes on the animal. In most cases, if a mammal has eyes that are close together, that it is a hunter. Take a coyote for instance. His eyes are close together so he can see prey at a distance. If the animal has eyes on the sides of its head, like a deer or wild hog, it is usually a prey animal. Prey animals are usually the “hunted” and use their vision for peripheral vision and seeing signs of danger around them. Most predator animals eat meat and most prey animals eat vegetation. That all being said, some predators do make pretty good table fare and there are some animals, such as the wild hog for instance, which can be both predator and prey, or even omnivorous and eat both meat and vegetation. Although I have never tried either, my understanding is that bear and mountain lion are pretty tasty predator animals. A good friend of mine, John Stallone, from the hunting show “Huntech’s Days in the Wild” on The Hunting Channel Online (www.thehuntingchannelonline.com), recently went on a mountain lion hunt and reported great tasting results with the meat.

Many ant-hunters and non-hunters think that many of the modern ways we fish and hunt is unfair or not on the same “playing field” as the game we pursue since we use high power guns and bows, or other weapons, to hunt them or fancy lures and baits to catch them. I disagree. Let us talk about hunting for a moment. Turkeys have the equivalent of 4x power binoculars in their eyes and can see nearly 360 degrees around them in a normal environment. A deer can smell, see, and hear better than our human senses could ever imagine. They are not defenseless by any means. Most hunts are not easy due to these things alone, let alone being at the right place at the right time, having good scent control, camouflage, getting your targeted quarry within bow or gun range, and the list goes on. The challenges in hunting and fishing are always present and that is why these are such a popular sports and pursued by so many of us. Using a rifle, shotgun, handgun, archery equipment, or other means to hunt simply ensures a better chance of a clean kill and we owe that to the game we hunt. Being resourceful with the resources we gain from our days in the field is certainly part of the process as well in my opinion.

Understanding the ecosystem of nature and how we play a part in it is another testament to the existence of an awesome Creator God who made all of this. Part of my spiritual quest as a hunter is a communion with God in this way, as part of the natural cycle of life in the natural environment. If humans did not exist, the cycle of life in nature would continue by itself. A fish eats a minnow and the bear eats the fish. Life sustains itself through a transition of energy.  An animal or fish is even broken into muscular sections which make them rather easy to break down into smaller pieces for eating. What an awesome thing!

Now, I am sure if times became lean enough, I would eat any kind of I meat I could get my hands on and make it taste decent. But for the sake of this article, we will talk about some of the best table-fare ideas and I hope to share some things that you can do with your next hunting trip. I have to give credit to my wife, Meagan, who hosts a food blog at www.sarafinaskitchen.com and has a strong following in the food blogging community. Each year, she attends local and national conventions and cooking classes and, besides being the love of my life, she is one of the inspirations for cooking wild game and fish. In addition to making wonderful gourmet food for our household, Meagan also authors a column entitled, “Appetite for Life” in our local paper, the Leander Ledger on a regular basis. The following is a culmination of our work in the kitchen and the grill.


Dustin Vaughn Warncke is an avid hunter, outdoor industry consultant, and Pro-Staff for Mac & Prowler as well as several other outdoor industry product and guide service businesses. E-mail Dustin at dustin@macandprowler.com or visit Warncke Enterprises at www.dustinsprojects.com


Chicken Fried Vension Backstrap
Vension  Enchiladas
Italian Venison Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Grilled Venison Steak: 
Smothered with Sauteed Onions 
Stuffed Venison and Wild Rice 
Butterflied Pork Roast
Stuffed Rolled Venison Log
Prepped (Left), Cooked (Right)