Will Hunt for Food — Still Nothing!

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Update: I haven’t shot at anything yet; however, I’ve been having a great time, and I’m learning a lot.

One of my favorite parts about being a hunter is being able to belly up to the bar and talk to the men to my right and left about my day in the woods, or theirs. Hunting is all I talk and think about. Chatting with as many experienced hunters as I can has been a great way to learn different techniques and strategies. And it doesn’t hurt that I’ve been able to get a few pounds of meat out of them.

A good option for new hunters is going with a hunting outfit. This way, your guide will be an experienced hunter, and you’ll get the opportunity to hunt barely touched wilderness. Mill Iron Ranch, south of town, provides some of the best hunting trips in the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Gros Ventre wilderness. They’ll take you out on horseback and dedicate the trip to helping you find your deer or elk. They even feed you when you return.

If you haven’t visited Mill Iron Ranch in the summer for a trail ride and famous steak dinner, then you’re in for a treat. Owner Chancy Wheeldon became so well known for his steak dinners, he began bottling up his secret seasoning, which you can purchase in their lodge or over the phone. As good as it tastes on a beef steak, I’m willing to bet that it would be the perfect match for deer or elk meat. You can find more information on guided trips (and the phone number to get that steak seasoning) on their website.

After several unsuccessful hunts and many conversations about why, you usually end up at home looking into your empty freezer and your fridge full of beer. Luckily, I got a hold of a fellow hunter’s ground elk meat. What can you make with ground meat and beer? Chili, I tell you. The best kind! I’ve seen people add extra tomato sauce, water or even beef broth to their pot. Beer is the answer, people! It’s arguably the answer to a lot of things, but we’ll stick to chili for now. I tend to use Budweiser, but any beer will do the trick. For every can of beer added to your chili, you must drink one for yourself. Heck, put some beer in your cornbread batter. If you haven’t already caught on, the lesson of the day is “beer makes it better.”

Elk Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground elk meat. You can also use deer, beef or turkey.
  • 1 red onion, diced small
  • 1 habanero, diced very small
  • 2 jalapenos, diced very small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 lb. canned whole peeled tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 12 oz. can of beer
  • 3 Tbsp. oil or bacon drippings
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the oil or bacon drippings.
  • Add the onion, peppers and garlic, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the meat and seasonings and brown.
  • When meat starts to brown, but is not cooked through, add the beer.
  • Bring to a boil. Then, add the tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  • Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add more salt to taste.
  • I garnish my chili with sour cream, sharp cheddar and fresh jalapenos.
  • My favorite way to use the chili is over eggs in the morning.
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About Author

Originally from Southern California, Malorie was called to Jackson Hole by the mountains and wildlife. With a passion for local sustainability and all things outdoors, she fit right in. She’s a pastry chef by day and creamery salesperson by night. She was classically trained at a Culinary Institute and cooked her way around the country. Since then, she’s taken an interest in hunting and gathering. She believes in growing all you can, hunting for what you can’t, and creating everything else from scratch. Her love for history and nostalgia plays a big role in her lifestyle and cooking. Malorie also enjoys raising chickens, black and white movies, and whiskey.

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