Archive for the ‘Moose’ Category

Smoked Moose Tongue


I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event that I’ll link up as soon as some of the attendees post about it. It was a fairly large pot luck comprised heavily of bloggers, and the hostess shared similar pot-luck ethics as I,  so it was highly enjoyable. My dish? Cured and smoked tongue of moose. Not your average dish for a pot-luck, for certain. I know a few folks who if served this wouldn’t  touch it with a 10-thousand-foot-pole.  But that’s okay – I figured that type of folk weren’t invited.  It was cut really thinly, and was so approachable that my fussy 3-year-old even popped back a few pieces – akin to a heavily cured and smoked ham. I therefore conclude [right or wrong] that even super-fussy 3-year-olds can be more adventurous than fussy adults!

Cured in dry cure for a week, cooked in a bag under-water for roughly an hour per pound [1.03kg, in this case] at 200C, peeled, rubbed in oil+ sage+oregano, then smoked with applewood for roughly 3-4 hrs. I used a slicer to get it thin. The whole thing worked out exceptionally well. I’d originally planned on finishing with fleur de sel [among other things], which upon tasting was clearly a poor idea, as the week in cure made this more than salty enough. It needed nothing. I settled on serving it plain, paired with a too-young-but-still-appropriate saskatoon wine. Any chance I get to serve wild game meats with wild fruits from the bush where they live, I take.

One thing of note that I will rely on others’ photos for [again, I'll link up shortly]: I cut the tongue in half, roughly, and sliced each half separately. The back and front of the tongue not only are different shapes, the nature of the meat is shockingly different. The front, or ‘tip’ part if you will, was much darker, denser, and uniform in shape. The back ‘throat’ section varied in neat shapes, and almost looked more like a pork product. Interesting.

A Wild Food & Wild Wine Pairing ‘Moment’


I just had an unexpected notable ‘moment’. I have long contemplated the concept of ‘what grows together goes together‘ when it comes to the game meats we hunt. It’s a reasonably undisputed culinary rule.  So thinking of moose and elk, it has begged the question of pairing it with saskatoons, high bush cranberry, labrador tea, and other similar items you’d find in the bush where the animals live. I’ve given the concept the odd shot, with varied and moderate success. But tonight.

I figured I should get around to bottling my 2009 Saskatoon/Juneberry/Amelanche ‘Batch 2′. It’s been in carboy in the wine cellar since October, and periodic tastings indicated that the theoretic winemaking improvements were paying dividends [details in the linked post]. So into bottle it went, and a half-a-half-bottle remaining was to be tasted:

Nose: big, large volume. notes of wet soil, a pleasant light stink, woodsy – mostly evergreen/junipery with a definite dose of heavy flowers in the rose/lavender vein. Overall fresh, bright, big, and complex. Uniquely saskatoon. Massive notes of intense wild blueberry in the empty glass.

Palate: voluptuous and finely textured – nearly creamy, with a light metallic-style tannin finish. The texture was a shocker, I’d put it into the 92-94 range. The flavor profile is well defined and the oak is well balanced. Saskatoon wine may not be for everybody, but if they do like it, I’d wager a bet they’d like this.

The moment: My fridge happened to contain a previous day’s fire-grilled comparison between tough-2009-bull moose tenderloin vs. calf moose blade steak. Sliced cold with some fleur de sel, with a solidly made saskatoon wine was poetry. Finally.

Because I know it’ll be asked: the bull tenderloin did edge out the calf blade in tenderness, but not by much. which imo, says a lot.

Jerky – A Recipe Worth Sharing


I’ve made a fair whack of jerky, both in the oven and over wood fire, sweet-glazed versions, plain versions, smoked and unsmoked. I’ve recently come across a recipe that’s worth sharing. Not only is it dang tasty, it avoids the onion/garlic powder route which even ‘Charcuterie’ suggests [a rare shortcoming of the book]:

per pound of meat [in this case, very tough 09 moose]:

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp dark brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried chili [optional]

1 tsp cracked black pepper [optional]

Slice meat thin and most importantly – evenly – while still partially frozen. Mix with marinade ingredients above, and refrigerate for a day or three. Dry via your method of choice. Note that jerky pieces never finish all at the same time, so you have to pull them off as they get to a texture you like.

Yes, I have a smoker

In response to my serving anything I’ve smoked: “Oh, you have a smoker? What kind do you have?”. I then answer, knowing the answer will create an assumption of half-assedness. “I use my BBQ”. End of conversation, typically. Despite my desire to reassure them it is not half-assed and actually does a fine job, I just let it go. I think people would prefer to hear that I have an elaborate and expensive professional unit of some kind. A back-yard trophy that can slice, dice, and increase my awesomeness.

The reality is that fire makes smoke, and so long as you have a place to put some fire, you’ve got a place to smoke some food. The only other ingredients are some ingenuity and can-do-attitude.

Shots of my outdoor smoking apparatus are here, here, here, and here. Today’s smoking: moose jerky. I found a really good recipe that I can get behind that gets devoured, and I may even post it…soon…maybe.

4 Wines & A Plate – Shiraz

Shiraz night was a long time coming as one of our regular attendees collects the stuff. What I found in doing my usual homework is that from a critic-score perspective [for what that's worth], there is superb value here – and your money can buy mid-90s scores vastly more easily than with other varietals from elsewhere in the world. Our normal budget would not afford one single bottle of high end bordeaux, but we could buy 2 wines scored 94, and 2 wines scored 96. Those are some big scores. Perhaps nowhere else do you find that QPR.

The other enlightening bit worth sharing is that the wines were rock stars, but were relatively unexciting with food. Perhaps one of the least food-friendly varietals I’ve come across. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. We had smoked jerky. Pepper steak with saskatoon, balsamic, and horseradish on potato. We had charred asian greens with ginger black bean moose on rice. We then moved to Big Turk. Yes, the candy bar. It was perhaps the best pairing of the night with the wines. Unusual pairing award winner: jerky with toblerone and shiraz.

A 2007 Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz $39 Group
Very fruity, nice, but a little forgettable overall. Had some onion and cherry vibes, raisin on the palate, but was the least impressive of the night. 91

B 2004 Kilkanoon The Covenent Shiraz $40
Far and away the most kick-ass of the bunch for my palate. Has a real gunpowdery, herbaceous, moldy streak that is super funky an huge. It’s a monster on the palate, which normally turns me off, but I just dug this. Caraway, heaviness, and herbs. 96+

C 2005 Rolf Binder Heysen Shiraz $55
Lovely, then kinda flatish. Subtle, earthy, and most elegant style of the bunch. Supple with a pithy finish. Great wine, had tough competition. 93

D 2005 Mitolo Savitar Shiraz $63
THE most candified fruit-bomb I’ve ever encountered on the nose. Grape nerds. Intense fruit in the mouth, gorgeous wine, lovely, big, and dry. A stunner. If the fruit was not so candy-driven, I’d have scored it even higher: 95.

Lastly, this was the first night of the use of a tool that I love my friends and family too much to not employ: the breathalizer. Everyone blew prior to going home. I highly recommend it, and the one I bought is this one. It takes a few goes at it to get a feel for how to time and pace the blow, but other than that, it’s excellent.

Calf Moose Hunt 2009

We’re going to remember the 2009 season for a long time, for the absolute opposite reasons we’ll long remember 2006. On my 2006 hunt, we saw 67 moose in two days – which was remarkable. This year, in two days, we saw 2 moose. Two. Just under 3% of the action we had only 3 years ago. Our best guess why is that there was many, many feet of snow in 2006 which made for a tough winter for big game. They also let out a whack of calf tags, and are still doing so, despite the fact that the numbers have tanked. By 2007, it was already tough slugging, and we simply got lucky on the last couple hours before we were slated to head home. Last year was extremely lucky on getting my calf on the first morning out. We only saw a couple moose last year – just happened we got the right kind, in the right place, and things worked out. That almost happened this year again – within the first couple hours of hunting, we had a calf in a chunk of bush 100 yards square or so. 3 guys to make a maneuver. We made our move, and despite a half dozen mule deer nearly bowling me over, taking the route we suspected given the wind and the direction of the guys pushing the bush – the calf took the only way out he could have to be safe, and I passed on a 300 yard running shot quartering away.
So into the bush we went on quads. Hardly any moose in the farmlands, had nothing to lose by hitting the bush to see if we could improve our luck. No such luck. We spotted a few, but sign was sparse, and the opportunities didn’t present themselves. Until the last morning, again, a couple hours before heading home. I pulled into a cut block, and had a moose to my left. After hours and hours of looking for them, when you do see one, it’s hard not to freak out inside. But I feel I held it together pretty good. I let the quad roll to a stop behind a big pile of timber so I was out of sight, leaving the engine running as I was instructed to do by my guides. Got my scope on the moose. Looked like a calf. Had to check with binoculars to be sure – shooting cows is illegal up there. When I looked up with the naked eye I could see the cow to the right, clearly larger, so I indeed had been looking at the calf in my scope to her left. Up went the gun, a slight step left to rest on the timber for a steady shot. Got the moose in my scope, and watched them running into the bush. I’m not one for ass-shots. So again, I had to pass. So frustrating, as it was only the second calf I’d seen on the hunt, the last one I would see, and neither situation allowed for even a second of a shot I could feel good about taking. Had either stopped for even a second or two, I’d have calf meat in my freezer this winter. But they didn’t. And I don’t. The first year since perhaps 2003 that we won’t have calf for the winter.
With my heart thumping, I made my way back out of the cutblock to meet with my dad, who was supposed to meet me nearby. I was adrenalined up. Then, I heard a very loud and long boom. Then a second shot. My dad had a bull tag, and after 12 days straight being up there looking for one, he’d finally found one on his way to meet up with me. He was figuring it could easily be the first time in 30+ years he didn’t have moose in his freezer. Had that bull not been there, we very likely would have pulled out within the hour, skunked. So we have moose [2.5 year old] for the year. Some of those posts I’d been hoping to write can now actually be written. I’ll be butchering this weekend.

Thanksgiving 2009


Sometimes family from out of town that you rarely get to see are suddenly in town. And sometimes they’re very dear friends that just happen to be family. And sometimes it’s coincidentally their 20th anniversary. And sometimes this happens at thanksgiving. What’s one to do?

5lbs of BC Prawns 3 ways
2005 Leon Beyer Riesling Reserve, Alsace

Herb and Garlic Brined Roasted Turkey Dinner
2008 La Stella Rosé, Okanagan

Moose loin carpaccio [butchered that day] with BC blue cheese, garden horseradish, garden tomatoes.
2001 Chateau de la Riviere

Moose Kalbi with sesame and leek

Cold pear, Hot Ugandan Vanilla Bean Peach & homemade Butterscotch
NV Yalumba Museum Release Muscat

A Blissful Evening of Food and Wine

Excuse: 2 day seminar, attended by myself and a good friend who enjoys food and wine. Result: 8 courses paired to 4 beverages, 1 hangover. This wasn’t my first time with a menu of this scope, or wines of this caliber – but something – perhaps the reprieve of boredom from sitting through sessions on our butts all day – made this evening connect. I tried hard with the pairings – but I always do. Maybe I just got lucky on this menu. Whatever the case, it was fantastic, and here’s what went down:

First wine to pair: 2006 Paul Zinck Riesling Grand Cru Pfersiberg. I’d tasted it at the winery in Alsace, and scored it a 92. Found it here, had to try it. Fortunately, my geek streak left me with tasting notes to help with pairing: lemon and rock predominated on a dry structure.

First course: salmon sashimi. I always opt for the belly, which is in the center of the plate, but I was intrigued by the fat in the loin section, which are the foreground bits. The loin surpassed the belly – not a typical result. Yen put me on to fleur de sel to cut the fat, and this version had a light dosing of lemon and good quality olive oil. The lemon notes in the wine and the fish danced.
Second course for the white: salmon noodle soup. Fresh pho noodle, chive blossoms, lemongrass poached salmon, and broth. Simple, and parts worked well with the wine. Carbs and hydration were important inclusions in the menu.

Smoked salmon gummies on smoked salmon mousse. Still with the white. The texture from the cure was unlike any I’d experienced. Akin to gummy bears. The smoking was done in a flash post-alarm-not-going-off-pre-seminar. 25 minute smoke, so it was light, but the whole worked with the wine.

Seared but basically raw pronghorn antelope tenderoin with rutabaga and carrot, and horseradish. This method with antelope loin, nevermind tenderloin, is sublime. This paired with a 2003 Schulz Marcus Shiraz Old Vine, the best shiraz either of us had ever had. And my guest collects good Aussie shiraz. Smoothe, supple, alluring, concentrated, with lucious seared red meat. Man. Parker scored it 97, we were 98+.
Second course for the shiraz. Aussie shiraz has frequently given me cooked ginger and meat – ginger beef, essentially, on the nose. I wanted to go bold in flavor and asian. This is wok charred yu choy, with seared game, two textures. Both were marinated along the vein of Korean kalbi. First was calf elk loin, second was calf moose heart. We were both blown away by the heart – super tender and tasty. Best heart we’d ever had, and the dish rocked with the wine.
The next course with the red was a roquefort noir…but….having had lots of wine by that point already, I forgot to snap a photo. This course was paired with a Pelliterri Vidal ice wine: homemade whole-wheat bread with strasbourg foie gras mousse and compotine de fruits secs. Simple, rustic, but man does this classic pairing work. Anything sauternes/icewine/lateharvesty and foie gras.
Last course. Kind of. We went back to the antelope course cause it was so good. But finally, last pairing was with Williams Pear Etter. I paired it with a caramel sauce with anjoy and bartlett pears atop a creme brulee powered by vanilla bean from papua new guinea. The pairing, again, worked.

The denouement of the evening was a few crappy hours of sleep followed by a hungover morning of seminar sessions. In this case, a small price to pay.

Living on the Edge: Spaghetti & Meatballs

Yeah. Posting about spaghetti and meatballs again. I don’t know what it is. I’m such a huge fan of this dish, it’s a little embarrassing. Because it seems ridiculous to post a recipe for spaghetti and meatballs, I’m going to. This one reads a bit odd, but the flavors and textures make sense in the dish.

1 pack ground calf moose [not trying to be cool, it's just what I got. beef would be awesome too, or any other quality red meat for that matter]
some leftover mashed potatoes [cause I had them, and they and ground meat get along]
a tbsp or so of soy sauce [mushroomy salty + meat = good]
An egg [= glue]
Scant tbsp of fennel seeds or so, ground [personal favorite spice with Italian meat dishes]
Salt and pepper [apply + (taste+adjust)*(until it's right)]
A tbsp or two of flour mixed into some milk [sloppy panade, likely redudant with the potatoes already pitching in some starch binder]
Some home-made tomato sauce [canned tomatoes, few cloves garlic, sugar, and red wine vinegar]
Oh yeah, 100g spaghetti per person.


Mix the crap out of it [except sauce and spaghetti, of course], until the mixture starts to get a little pasty. Roll meatballs. Fry meatballs slow and long in olive oil – striving to achieve as much browned bits on the pan as possible, and a good crust on at least one side. When you’re confident they’re cooked, add tomato sauce, and scrape off the stuck on bits. Tweak seasoning. This really should have been done when you made the tomato sauce. Add cooked pasta [did I mention you have to cook the spaghetti?] to the pan, gently mix, and let it sit a couple minutes. Tip: try a meatball doused in grated cheese.

I know. Totally awesome and original recipe. Gong show ingredient list that by no means needs to be adhered to to make a good meatball. But for whatever reason, when done properly, spaghetti and meatballs rocks my world – again and again. I should start a campaign for real spaghetti and meatballs..