Archive for the 'Food' Category

After the Shot: From Field to Kitchen

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
Whitetail in a clearing.

Whitetail in a clearing.

This is Passport to Texas

Handled correctly from field to kitchen, venison can be tastier than store bought meat. Keep it cool and dry immediately after harvest.

15—And then, the real poetry begins in the aging of that meat. If you can hang that meat for three to six days, some of the enzymes in the meat start to break it down, and you really get that tender, good tasting, concentrated flavor.

Austin resident, Lee Smith, is a hunter and home cook. He recommends vacuum sealing the meat to keep it usable for up to a year in the freezer. While you may wish to elevate a venison dish, Smith says, simple has its merits.

23—You’re legally – depending upon what county you’re hunting in – able to take five deer in Texas. And that can be a lot of meat. So, I can understand after a while, how you might want to change it up and have a little horseradish sauce, or some kind of port reduction with some mushrooms. But, I want to taste the meat; I don’t want to throw a heavy sauce on it. In fact, tonight, we’re having venison fajitas.

Lee Smith says he usually marinates venison back strap briefly in olive oil and soy sauce, grills it, and ends up with something the whole family enjoys.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Field Dressing Game

Monday, January 15th, 2018
Tagging legally harvested deer.

Tagging legally harvested deer.

This is Passport to Texas

Lee Smith comes from a hunting family. This longtime Austin resident and avid home cook, says from the start, he’s hunted for meat not trophies.

Once you’ve pulled the trigger and you’ve got an animal down, the work really begins.

As soon as the animal’s down, the clock starts ticking; field dressing the animal is a race against spoilage.

Meat spoils due to three things: heat, moisture and dirt. Getting those internal organs out is going to immediately start to let that carcass cool. Second thing is: the skin. Taking that skin off is going to get that animal cooler, and also allow it to dry quicker. Once you’ve got it back [to camp], and taken the skin off, you rinse out the interior chest cavity, and get it into that cooler.

If you’re hunting on public land, or there’s no walk-in cooler at your lease, after field dressing and skinning the animal, quarter it.

That’s taking off the four quarters, the two backstraps, and the rear legs. That’s what you are legally bound to take. If you don’t take that, you can be ticketed for waste of game.

Put the quarters into tall kitchen garbage bags, and then into coolers with ice. How to handle game when you get it home – that’s tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hog Butchery Class Circa 1850s Texas

Monday, January 8th, 2018
Processing a hog as they would have done in 1850s Texas, at  Barrington Living History Farm

Processing a hog as they would have done in 1850s Texas, at Barrington Living History Farm

This is Passport to Texas

In 1850s Texas people raised and butchered their own animals. Pigs were a popular choice back then.

They reproduce quickly. They’re useful for eating your garbage, and then you eat them. In that way, it’s kind of a closed cycle of consumption—as a recycling source.

Barb King, is lead domestic interpreter at Barrington Living History Farm at Washington-on-the-Brazos State park and Historic Site. Before refrigeration, Texans butchered animals in cold months. January 13 & 14 farm staff will demonstrate the process. They’ll dispatch an animal before guests arrive, but visitors will see everything else beginning with evisceration…

That’s actually one of my favorite times to teach anatomy lessons, because [the pig’s organs] are very close to human structures. So, we can talk about different organs, what their use is….

Afterwards, Barb says, they divide the meat into cuts.

Then, on Sunday, we grind a lot of the meat; visitors can help with that. Then we end up curing the meat on Sunday, as well. So, we show people the start of the process, and then we have a lot of people who go home and end up trying their own charcuterie at home. Or, they already make sausage, and they just want to see the beginning of the process. You know: how do you start with it on the hoof?

The Whole Hog demonstration is Saturday and Sunday, January 13th & 14th at Barrington Living History Farm. The program is weather dependent, so call to confirm. Find details on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Learn Old Time Texas Cooking Techniques

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
Cooking at Barrington Living History Farm. Image from:

Cooking at Barrington Living History Farm. Image from:

This is Passport to Texas

January 6th is your chance to cook like an early Texan. That’s when Barrington Living History Farm hosts a hands-on cooking school where participants use the technology and ingredients of 1850s Texas to prepare a meal.

They end up cooking inside on a hearth.

Barb King is lead domestic interpreter at the Farm.

We do a couple of different types of foods to show the different ways of cooking on a hearth. So, we’ll do something that boils in a pot that hangs from the crane. We do a couple of baked goods that bake in Dutch ovens on the hearth, itself. And then we do a turkey or a chicken in a rotisserie–or a tin kitchen is more the period term. And that way people can see all kinds of methods of cooking as well.

If the class is full when you try to register, your name will go on a waiting list.

The joy of the class–since they’ve signed a waiver to do it–they get to eat what they cook. Normally when visitors come to the farm they don’t get to eat what we cook, because we’re cooking for the staff, and it’s not an FDA approved kitchen.

Barb King says the menu is seasonal–as it would have been in 1850s Texas.

Lots of root vegetables. Onions. We’ll do a roast that sometimes we’ll wrap in bacon. We do cornbread, because that’s a big staple in 1850–in the U.S. in general–but Texas in particular.

Find details for Barrington Farm’s cooking school in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Learn to Cook Fish that Everyone Enjoys

Monday, January 1st, 2018
Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

This is Passport to Texas

If one of your resolutions for 2018 includes catching, cooking and eating more fish, we’re here to help.

Freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, something most of us lack in our Standard American Diet…the acronym for which is SAD.

In Texas, we have fishing opportunities statewide. But once you’ve caught them, then what? Some of us don’t have much experience preparing fish. So we steer clear.

However, this month’s Texas Parks and Wildlife cooking class collaboration with Central Market cooking schools, will help get you past this aversion. It’s a hands-on class that will have you preparing fish like a pro—with a citrus twist.

The menu for this class includes Fried Oyster Tacos with Citrus Salsa; Roasted Red Snapper with Citrus & Pistachios; & Blackened Redfish with Quick Cabbage & Lemon Butter. Happy New Year, right?

Classes are Tuesday, January 9 in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Plano and Southlake. Historically, fish and seafood classes tend to fill fast.

Find registration information at [click on the links above to the school closest to you].

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.