Author Archive

Dove Hunting 2011

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 | Posted in Expedition

2011 Dove Hunting has started out much differently than in years past, at least in South/Central Texas.

Everyone you talk to has a different opinion, but the opening day timeframe’s colder weather, the year’s lack of rainfall, and devastating forest fires seem to be affecting the birds – - the whitewings aren’t flying like last year, and although mourning doves are flying, they’re few and far between.

We hunted 4 spots between Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, with about 5 birds each per day.

We’ll keep after it, as weather/conditions change we’ll keep going out, watching the birds, and reporting the results.  Stay tuned.

Pork Pibil

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

It all started with some Robert Rodriguez research for my fantasy film-making career.  Rodriguez’s recipe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrw5FkLutWk) was/is excellent, if  replicated exactly.

Just like Depp’s character’s pursuit in “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”, I’ve been hunting a perfected Pibil of my own.  I’ve made 2 good ones, and 3 horrible ones (seems to be a theme on this site).   This is incredible food, and I have to say it, a perfect hunting camp recipe (one pot, one meat).

Things NOT to do:  Don’t use pork tenderloin ever for slow-roasting. Don’t skip/forget the vinegar.  Don’t get carried away adding spices like Cumin, Cinnamon, or Tarragon(?).

Things to Try:  Le Creuset pot instead (in the oven or over a campfire), vegetables, or wild game.

Recipe is as follows (basically):

1 Whole Pork Butt, 2″ cubes (no exceptions, no other cut of meat works quite as well), throw into crockpot

1 Onion sliced,  throw into crockpot

Season all lightly with SeasonAll

Marinade:

1 Cup Orange Juice

1 Cup Vinegar (type doesn’t seem to make a difference, why not, ehhh, half cider and half white?)

1 Cup 100% Agave Tequila

1 Can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Pour marinade over meat the night before, leave in fridge, set for 12 hours slow cook the next morning.

I ended up making enchiladas out of these, too (basically shred the meat, roll up in pan-fried tortillas with monterey jack cheese.  Sauce

The dog waits for the Pibil.

is 1/2 El Paso Mild Enchilada Sauce, 1/2 juice from the Pibil, cooked on low with some flour to thicken, cover whole thing with cheese).

Soundtrack for this recipe: Turnpike Troubadours “Down on Washington”,  followed by the entire “Mambo Sinuendo” album by Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban

Redfish Rodeo

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 | Posted in Fishing

by John Henry

The day began with the breakfast bell ringing at 5 am.  We were in the truck in no time and took the short ride down to Cove Harbor Marina in Rockport.  By 6 :15 we were in the boat and ready to go.  Little did we know the day would turn out to be one our best days catching Redfish.  As my brother stated, “This was the greatest day catching reds ever and you never forget your first time or who it is with,” referring to limiting out of course.  This was our 2nd trip on a guided bay trip and we were somewhat hesitant, not really knowing what to expect after our 1st trip 2 summers ago.  We had a different guide this time, long time Rockport guide Todd Adams.

We have become accustomed to fishing various reefs and shorelines ranging from Carlos Bay down to Redfish bay.  As Todd advised us, however, the trout fishing has gotten very inconsistent because of the recent tropical storms and heat.  He said we may catch 5 trout or 25 trout.  Our typical tactics were not going to get it done so we barreled (all 250 horse power) out of the marina across Estes Flats to the Lydian Channel.

We began by fishing the inlets into Redfish bay off the channel by free lining piggy perch.  Within 5 minutes, our dad had a nice one in the box.  We thought we may have one of those big days.  After several 14 inch trout, we decided we would move.   We moved a few hundred yards down the channel, anchored and had another 4 in the box within a few minutes then we got a nice surprise.  A group of kayakers paddled right by the boat to the inlet where we were casting.  These guys paddled right in front us and stopped.  We could have easily hooked one (and should have tried).  We knew they were professionals when they were stomping around and throwing a bobber with about 6 feet of leader about 5 feet in front of them.  We were sure they were going to limit out in no time so we left it to them.  By mid morning, we had 5 trout and decided to go look for the Reds.

Todd decided we would go sight cast for some reds before the Tide fell.  Red fish have without fail been, caught at low tide.  We were near the north side Hog Island, when we spotted a giant school of redfish, biggest school I had seen in nearly 3 years, likely several hundred.  By the time we spotted them, we were right on top of them so they were spooked.  We decided to loop back and trolled around for roughly an hour with no luck, Todd thought and they moved to deeper water.

It was 11 am and we moved over to South Bay and tried to get set up before the “Rodeo” as we called it, began.     The tide was slowly falling which is what we wanted.  We were on the outside edge of the break, near some sand pockets.  We spotted a few boats hooking up a single here or there but nothing major.  Being on the edge, we were just out of casting reach of the schooling reds.  By 11:30 the armada moved in and the boats began to line up, one right after the other, probably 15 across.  Everyone was learning about the school of nice reds that were being caught in South Bay.  It looked like bumper to bumper traffic in a major city.  It was crazy, one person hooking up after the other.  If you had a line in the water, you were going to land a 25” red, no doubt.  It looked like dominos.  Rods would begin bending on the boats to the west and would work down the line to the east.  Some boats were handing rods to each other in order to keep the fish out of the other boats motor.  Finally, one of the guides called Todd and said we could have his spot, so we trolled over and anchored.  It was long until we had our first on the line, unfortunately, it got in the motor and broke off.  Dad stated, he just lost his biggest Red ever.  After about an hour, a broken dip net, and almost lost reel, we had our limit.  We slowly moved out, and 2 other guides took our spot.  As we moved a way, we watched and those boats took their turn.

Quote of the Day:   “Turn off your motor, your scaring the redfish D_ _ _  HEAD” (This was in reference to one of the guides yelling at a tourist, defined as anyone who is not a guide, trying to get into the action and coming a little too close).

The day turned out exactly as Todd called it, Trout early, and then hammer the Reds when the TIDE falls.

"..You never forget your first time or who it is with.." - Special thanks to the author of this story, John Henry (right), his brother Stephen (left), and their Dad for their contribution of this article and overall support of The Sportsman Dispatch.

Gumbo: An “end of the season” recipe..

Monday, August 9th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

Throw it all in... (Special thanks to Mike W. for his contribution of this recipe and support of The Sportsman Dispatch)

Anyone who hunts has found themselves with a hodgepodge of freezer bags of last year’s harvest.  Whether it is that lone pheasant, that package with three quail in it, or those last two links of deer sausage,  nobody wants to throw out game.  A few years ago my wife came across this recipe while playing Bunco one night.

I have found it to work well with just about any kind of meat you can think of.  Deer, shrimp, sausage, chicken, pheasant, rabbit, beef, quail, dove, squirrel.  I usually have at least three different meats in the pot.  On the smaller things like dove I cook them in a pressure cooker first and peel the meat off the bone.  This meal can be eaten like a stew or it can be eaten like a gumbo served over rice.

I call it a gumbo even though it does not have okra or a roux like traditional gumbo.  A large pot of this concoction is just the right thing for a house full of people on a cold winter day watching football.  I hope you enjoy it!

Gumbo

Use a big pot (really big)

2 sticks of butter

1 can cream of celery soup

2 large onions

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 complete stalk of celery sliced (the whole bunch)

1 can french onion soup

3 small cans of mushrooms

2 8-ounce tomato sauce

5 cups of water  (probably more)

1/3 cup Konriko Creole seasoning

Meat

Potatoes (cubed into 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes)

Carrots

Simmer butter, onions, celery, and all spices until soft.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Add Meat*.  Cook on low heat until meat is tender, 30 minutes – 2 hours depending on meat.  Add carrots, potatoes, jalapenos (if you want).  Be careful with the jalapenos.  This is already pretty spicy.   Serve over rice or as a stew.

*Use any meat you want.  If you use dove or quail, you can boil them in a pressure cooker for about 3-5 minutes and the meat falls off the bone.  Use chicken, sausage, shrimp, dove, quail, venison, beef, pheasant, pork, squirrel, etc….. Chicken, sausage, shrimp, pheasant, quail do not take long at all to cook.  Beef, pork, venison take longer.  Pressure cooked meat will be very done.  If you cook it too long in the pot it will start to disintegrate into pieces.  Add it at the last.

Seasons other than Konriko work but none give it as good a flavor.

The Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen / Texas BBQ Religion Part 1.5

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

From the Hello Kitchen Design Blog

My buddy has been looking to build an outdoor kitchen in the backyard of his new house in Houston, and being a BBQ/cooking nut, I started to help him plan it.

There’s a few ways you can go with planning any project/product, you can do it simple/basic, or highly idealistic/almost-unattainable.. we chose the latter.  This is why it makes it to The Sportsman Dispatch, anyway.

So, if you’re going to build an outdoor kitchen, what do you incorporate? From a high-level perspective, I started thinking about my my favorite cooking methods, even idealistic ones I want to try, ALL built into one:

1.) A REAL smoker pit.  See Smitty’s in Lockhart, Texas.   If you read Texas BBQ Religion Part 1 on sportsmandispatch.com last edition, you’ll know what wavelength I’m on here.  I’m talking brick and mortar, ground-level firebrick smoke “box” (even open top, maybe), and rectangular cook-box.  Plywood lid.  “OK, Colin, we can make it something more appealing, sure”.
2.) Tuscan-style or other Wood-fire grill – simple flat grill area to make wood (or charcoal) fires for direct heat grilling.  Pecan Burgers, Mesquite Fajitas, “Asador” (see article) South American Style Meats, or Tuscan-style grilling, whatever that is.
3.) Gas Grill – lets be honest, this is easy and convenient and makes excellent food.  You don’t always have time to burn down a 1/4 cord of oak for a couple burgers.
4.) Gas Burners – stir-fry, crawfish boilers, stinky/herby stuff you don’t want to stink the house up with.  Plus, its always more fun to spill stuff everywhere outside cause you know cleanup is not that big a deal.
5.) Flat-top grill – this is a greasy-spoon secret, and can be used to cook damn near anything.  Plus you can entertain your friends by pretending you’re a Japanese grill chef right up until you light your hair on fire with rice wine.

I’m going to try to bring in some “experts” on this one too – friends who take cooking/grilling seriously and know what it takes to make the perfect food.  I’ve got a crawfish man (who is a writer on the site) that I’m gonna ask about the gas-burner section of the kitchen.

One very important reference here:  Hello Kitchen Design, out of Austin, TX, featured the design of a similar outdoor kitchen in a blog post titled “Primitive Outdoor Kitchen… on a Tiny Urban Half-Lot?” (seen here – http://www.hellokitchen.net/blog/dream-kitchen-series/).  This excellent article (including the photographs and planning drawings) both helped to further inspire this idea, and reassure me that there ARE others out there who share this vision.

More to come.. ideas for now..

Random Meats, Part 2: Beef “Bourguignon”

Friday, May 7th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

This series, fully titled “Buying Random Meats, and Putting them into Pots”, was inspired by the realization that great meals can be cooked by simply browning any meat in a pot, adding some vegetables and juice, and waiting several hours.  This has excellent applicability in expedition, camping, hunting and fishing cooking, where simplicity is ideal.

In this image: Zwilling/J.A.Henckels Professional "S" series knives, Boos Block cutting board.

As a follow-up and continuation of the promised aforementioned series in last month’s article “Last Minute Cast Iron Supper”, I decided to buy some more meat for the cast iron pot.  This time, it was inspired by an episode of “Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations”, which, I’ll admit, will be a large influence on many of the cooking articles on this site for awhile.  In this episode, Bourdain claims that every American should know how to make a stew, and showed a simple 5-ingredient Beef Bourguignon.

Burgundy, I presume..

So I went to the store and bought the best non-leaky-package pot roast I could find, an onion, carrots, and a handle of $7 Burgundy (a necessity in this dish according to Bourdain) Wine.  That’s cheap wine, but it was the only Burgundy I could find.  The recipe?  As usual, season and brown the meat, set it aside, season and saute the vegetables, add liquid (wine), add back the meat, and wait. (more…)

The Belgian 12

Friday, January 29th, 2010 | Posted in Gear, Hunting

Round Rock, TX – “Well I just got that Benelli last year, I should just go with it again this year”, I say to myself, holding and looking up and down the possible opening-day-dove-hunt shotgun alternative.

The Belgian 12

A few years ago, my granddad traded someone somewhere for two Belgian guild-made side-by-side (SxS) hammer-guns made around 1930: an English stock 12ga., and a 28ga./7mm shotgun/rifle combo gun.  At the time, I was probably mesmerized with German or Spanish double-guns, and working toward justifying a $4000 expense attempt at entry into the world of fine SxS craftsmanship.  So I hadn’t ever asked to borrow or try these guns, even at the range.  I was also probably scared to fire them.

But now, as my gun wisdom/mantras had cycled over after a few years (note: and are sure to cycle again), I made my way to the gun safe and was imagining taking the old 12ga. out to hit some birds.  I wanted to shoot a dove with a SxS hammergun.  The gun’s action locked up solid, its hammers and triggers had little play.  Overall, the gun felt pretty good, and trustworthy.  It wasn’t my granddad’s trusty shotgun.  In fact, he traded guns often and he simply hadn’t traded this one away yet.  But it was $4000 cheaper than a Merkel, “shot the same shells”, and had enjoyed 70+ years of aging in its wood that gave it a feel and color as warm as some old whiskey.  I asked my granddad if I could borrow it.  Stupid question. (more…)