Campfire Cooking: the Bow Hunter


All work and no play? Not the chefs in Jackson. They appreciate the outdoor opportunities Jackson Hole has to offer as much (if not more) as its visitors do. Find out what keeps these chefs busy on their weekends, and how they stay fueled for the adventures. This week, we talked backcountry cooking with Topher Strittmatter, executive chef at The Handle Bar.elk grazing

Fall activity: bow hunting

Location: public wilderness areas in northwest Wyoming

Bow hunting elk requires Topher Strittmatter to head into the wilderness for days at a time. He packs light to keep up with elk herds, opting for the functionality of an ultralight camp stove and freeze-dried meals (often to the dismay of his palate). These meals, like the chicken teriyaki and meat lasagna, maximize calories for covering a lot of miles. For daytime snacks, he keeps Grizzly Bars on hand from Kate’s Real Food. This local product is a delicious way to get some energy on the move! After a successful hunting trip, Strittmatter will marinate his Wyoming elk meat and dehydrate it at home to bring out on his next excursions — lightweight and protein-packed.elk enchilada

Elk Enchiladas with White Sauce


    For the meat:
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound ground elk meat
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons white flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
  • To assemble:
  • Flour tortillas
  • 2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Optional toppings: diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce


    For the meat:
  • Heat oil in a medium skillet.
  • With your hands, mix seasonings into ground meat until well-incorporated.
  • Brown the elk meat, breaking it up with a spatula. *you may allow the meat to remain slightly pink, as it will continue cooking when baked.
  • For the sauce:
  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Add flour, stirring into a roux.
  • Add chicken broth, whisking out any clumps.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in sour cream and chiles, mixing until combined.
  • To assemble
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease a baking pan.
  • Roll elk meat and cheese in tortillas.
  • Fill pan with enchiladas.
  • Pour sauce and additional cheese over enchiladas.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Serve with optional toppings.

About Author

Raised in the land of casseroles and deep fried cheese curds, Sam Simma left rural Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming in summer 2012. Her appetite for adventure is the only thing that rivals her passion for food. She has always used writing to document and critique her travel and dining experiences. Her warmest memories among family and friends have been associated with the food that was at the center of the occasion. From staging cooking shows with siblings to perfecting turtle brownies with her dad, today Sam enjoys connecting people over food by hosting cookie decorating parties, wine pairing nights, and Midwest-inspired potlucks. A dessert fanatic, she has come to impress friends and family with key lime pies, Oreo bon bons, and Snickers ice cream cakes that are far simpler than they could ever imagine. Shhh! Don’t tell.

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