Books that all hunters and fishermen need
I apologize, but this column requires a trigger warning. If you’re not yet ready to think about Christmas shopping, stop reading now.
For those who like to get their vacation stuff in order, here’s what I plan. I have five cookbooks on my desk and by Thanksgiving I’ll be going through each one. Three were written specifically for hunters and fishermen. Another was adopted by the crowd in camo as if it was always meant for us.
I don’t know where the final title for Wild Protein Pickers is yet, but I’m sure it will complement your culinary education.
All of them will make beautiful Christmas gifts.
I’m going to start with the cookbook that hunters have adopted as a buddy’s secret corner, the one we only visit with the hunter who shared it first – or when he’s out of town for no reason. not get caught.
“Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing,” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, first published in 2005, is required reading for anyone who does more than just roast or sear game. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but it’s entry level stuff.
The “charcuterie” comes with rather high recommendations. Thomas Keller – owner of the infamous French Laundry restaurant that caused so much recent heartburn to the Governor of California – writes the foreword. The back cover features praise from Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert and Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
For the outdoor crowd, the book’s good faith is confirmed by the MeatEater himself, Steven Rinella. Most know Rinella as the writer and host of one of the best hunting TV shows of all time. His website MeatEater features an interview with Ruhlman.
In it, Rinella jokes that even before buying the book, he had received most of its content in photocopies shared by hunters recommending recipes.
Rinella then tells Ruhlman that he is “accidentally the author of the best wild game cookbook ever written”.
Since the publication of “Charcuterie”, the term has gone from exotic to commonplace on restaurant menus. Charcuterie is French for cooked meat, but is now more synonymous with canned forms of meat. Salt and smoke, originally used before refrigeration to keep meats edible and transportable, are now popular flavors in their own right.
“People forget the power of salt,” says Ruhlman. “Charcuterie has helped us dominate the universe.
Not quite the universe, I guess. It was Tang who made this possible. The salience of its point remains; the techniques recounted in “Charcuterie” were formerly used out of necessity.
We use them now because they create delicious dishes, like the duck confit, the “Charcuterie” recipe which I first accessed for free. If the book has survived on the shelves of the Kalispell Library, it’s my duck fat thumbprints that stain it.
There is so much more here. Detailed recipes and detailed explanations on how to prepare cured and cured sausages that will not give you food poisoning. There are recipes for hams, pickles, salted salmon, and even salt cod, speaking of things we once ate out of necessity.
The recipes are designed with beef, pork, and farmed poultry in mind, but most easily adapt to their wild backgrounds.
While “Charcuterie” was not written with hunters in mind, Ruhlman appreciates the way it has been adopted by hunters, telling Rinella, “It’s the hunters who are going to bring us back to using the whole animal, in preserving the whole animal, because when you kill something you know what a horrible waste it is to lose anything.
This whole animal approach is part of the “continuum of humanity”, he insists.
It is an ethic that we can all adopt. The good news is, it tastes great too.
Rob Breeding writes and blogs at www.mthookandbullet.com.