Turkey season is upon us and there is nothing like getting outsmarted by a creature that has a brain the size of a pea! Ha! Ha! Ha! Well, I’ve sat in the field waiting for that beautiful dance from a Tom to occur a couple times this season so far, but have yet to harvest one. As you know, I’m picky on what I take. I want the oldest coolest dude in the bunch! And he hasn’t appeared quite yet. Maybe it’s because mother nature is a bit bipolar and can can’t make up her damn mind this season. She’s hot then cold, warm then a chance of snow flurries, what the heck mother nature can’t you just stick to one and go with it?
But I will admit that Turkey season is seriously delicious! There is something so wonderful about sitting for hours up against a tree watching the sun rise and calling in a gobbler. Am I right?
After you have been successful in the field preparing your turkey can be equally as fun. There are so many options you can do with turkey. But let’s first talk about the difference of wild turkey verses farmed turkey. Farmed turkey has been bred to have the subtle taste that it does. It has also been raised on a diet that is not natural for a turkey. A wild turkey would never be eating GMO Enhanced feed, which is what store bought large farmed turkeys have been fed on. Granted there are small farmers who are raising turkeys the right way, so not everyone is doing this. But our palette has adjusted to what I call a flavor lackluster. Meaning we have diluted the real taste of our animals. What you taste from a store-bought turkey is not how turkey is supposed to taste. It’s been made by man so to speak. So, for some when they get their first taste of wild turkey they might be put off by it. It’s definitely not the same in taste as store bought. Plus, wild turkey has not been pumped with water like store bought has. So, it can have the tendency to be very dry when not cooked properly. So, to counter act that there are a few easy things you can do to ensure a delicious wild turkey meal.
Brine: If you plan to eat the turkey breast and legs as is, meaning not grinding the meat or anything, a brine will be your turkeys best friend. A brine will add more water and salt flavor into the meat, so you have less chance of it drying out on you. Plus, a big reason I love brining is you can impart more flavor into the meat. As a Chef, I try to add more flavor into a dish everywhere I can.
Simple Brine Recipe:
4 Cups Water
½ Cup Kosher Salt
½ Cup Brown Sugar
1 TBS Black Peppercorns
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
3-4 Bay Leaves
1 Head of Garlic Sliced in half
2 Lemons, juice squeezed into mix and rinds tossed in as well
Bring everything to a boil so that the sugar and salt dissolve. Once the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature. Then chill in the refrigerator. When the brine is completely chilled then add the turkey whole or in pieces and brine for 24 hours.
Grind: In the case of this recipe coming up, I used ground turkey. I like to grind the meat myself, because I can add fat to it to ensure its nice and moist. I like to add chilled duck fat to my grind and I usually do a 90% turkey 10 % Fat ratio.
With all that said I hope you are excited to enjoy your spring harvest! So, if you decided to go with ground turkey, here is a beautiful fresh recipe for Wild Turkey Larb. Larb is a Thai dish that I absolutely love! It’s easy to make and has the most beautiful bright yet intense flavors, something I really love about Thai cuisine.
Wild Turkey Larb served in Cabbage Cups
· 1 # Wild Turkey, ground
· 1 Chili, Sliced
· ¼ tsp Sugar
· ½ TBS Fish Sauce
· 2 Limes, juiced
· 3 Shallots, diced
· 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
· 1 TBS Lemongrass, minced
· 1 TBS Ginger, minced
· Green Onions
In a cast iron skillet add about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. On medium high heat add the ground turkey, season with a dash of salt and pepper. Once the turkey is about half way cooked add the chili, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, shallots, garlic, lemongrass and ginger. Then finish cooking till the turkey is cooked through.
At the very end add torn mint leaves and chopped cilantro and green onions to the mixture. Serve in green cabbage cups and enjoy!
I’m not a real Hunter?
I’m sure anyone in the hunting industry can understand the feeling of getting attacked by anti-hunters and understand the feeling of getting bashed and even death threats for the thing we love most.
But who here has experienced being attacked by fellow hunters?
Well I have! Which actually saddens me that I am writing about this right now, but I feel it’s necessary. I have been scrutinized because I don’t post many so called “trophy pictures”. You know the ones you take after your hunt and your sitting there with your big antlered buck or whatever it is you may have been hunting. I have noticed that when I do post a so called “trophy” picture I do get more “likes” from hunters as opposed to the picture that I actually think is the trophy, the meal on my table. You see while others may think that the trophy is a buck with big antlers to me that’s not my trophy. Just because I don’t post the obligatory trophy picture does not mean I am any less a hunter. And the fact that fellow hunters would call me out as not being a hunter is not helping us band together to keep our tradition alive.
So, let me tell you what the real trophy is to me. The trophy of a hunt to me is the meal on the table. Its seeing all of my hard work being enjoyed by my family and friends. Its seeing all that practice, research and hard work nourish the bodies of the ones I love. The trophy is the memories I created while out in the field. I’ve witnessed the most stunning sun rises and sunsets while hunting that I will never forget. I remember the best times made giggling with friends in a layout blind or sending hand signals to another while in a tree stand. It’s the goofy moments that occur that make you laugh all over again just thinking of it again. Then it’s the memories I make in the kitchen cooking with my family. It’s the memories of laughing while we enjoy my delicious harvest at the table together. Its changing the mind of someone who once thought wild game was terrible. Its showing people what real food should taste like. These are all the trophies to me! These are all the reasons I hunt. I don’t hunt for the trophy picture to post on Instagram. I don’t hunt for more likes or followers. I don’t hunt to try to be someone I’m not. And I certainly don’t hunt to be a star. I simply hunt to eat and the trophy of hunting is all the memories I create while doing it.
I come from a background of being an anti-hunter. I wasn’t raised hunting as a kid with my dad. I stumbled into this lifestyle in my quest for pure organic food. I respect my harvest, it was a life taken from this world. My harvest had a face, it felt love from a mother it romped around and enjoyed its life. Hunting is actually a love hate relationship for me. In order to eat we must hunt, in order to hunt we must take a life. And that life should be respected! That life should not be taken just for a photo opportunity. Its death shouldn’t be slathered across your social media pages in silly poses. I try to show the utmost respect for any animal I harvest. I always feel a sting in my heart when I see my harvest on the floor. So, I take that sting and vow to cherish every part of that animal. I’m grateful for the life I took and I try to show it respect from the moment I take its life. I harvest it myself, I process it myself and I cook it myself I take part in it all. It’s kind of like when a pet passes away some owners can’t be there when their pet is on their death bed and needs them the most. Even though it is hard to watch you owe it to them to be there. That’s how I view my harvest, I took its life so I owe it to that animal to show it the utmost respect even after the harvest.
In my opinion, this is how every hunter should view their harvest. But if thinking this way is wrong, then I’m okay with that. I stand by my views and will not stray from them. But as hunters we shouldn’t bash a fellow hunter because they don’t do things the way you do. If we keep this up we won’t be able to hunt anywhere anymore. We face hard times as it is being hunters. We are constantly battling for public land, battling against those who think we are evil and now battling to keep our guns so that we can go hunting. With all this battling going on the last thing we should do is battle each other because we have different reasons why we hunt.
Let’s stand together and be #hunterstrong
Comparison is the end of everything!
I often post motivational quotes on my Instagram stories. They usually apply directly to what I’m going through at that moment. I pride myself on keeping things real with my followers, so let’s be real sometimes life kicks our ass! In this crazy social media world that we now live in, we (myself included) can feel like we aren’t doing enough, cool enough, aren’t traveling enough, don’t have enough pretty pictures. I can go on and on. But the truth is it’s a glimpse into one second of someone’s life. Two seconds after that pic was taken they stop sucking in their tummies and stopped posing. Notice my key word there, posing, we pose for a picture of how we want our life to be portrayed for that very second. But then an awful thing comes and we start comparing ourselves to others. We compare our lives to that one split second of another person’s life.
I received an Instagram message that really made me think. This beautiful girl messaged me saying how jealous she was of all the things I get to do and how she strives to be like me. My response to her was first off, thank you, what a kind complement. But then I told her I wanted her to strive to be like herself, and to take what I do to inspire her to be the best she can be. I went on to tell her how I wanted her to take what she likes about me and use that to aspire to be even better than me. Don’t compare yourself to me or anyone on social media for that matter. Please know that you are actually way cooler than your feed will ever be!
Because the truth is, I’m clumsy, forgetful and doubt myself constantly. While I feel completely blessed in my life… my life has also thrown me curve balls and I struggle with things as well. I struggle to be a better mom, wife, blogger, chef, dog mom, friend, teacher the list can go on and on. What you don’t see is the struggles it took to get where I am but the thing is the struggle never ends. I’m super hard on myself and have fallen into the trap of comparing myself to others as well. I don’t have as many followers as others do, I don’t post as much as others do, my makeup is hardly ever on and my life seems so boring compared to others.
People the struggle is real!
Until I realized that comparison is the end of everything! We need to take the things we like about social media influencers and use that to “influence” our life not to compare our lives. Let others influence us to do better in our own lives instead of comparing ourselves.
Another thing I have noticed about social media is that it can be the most caddy thing there is. Everyone is a bad ass behind a computer or iPhone! Everyone has to tell you their opinion and what they think you are doing wrong, accuse you of things they know nothing about and make up lies from a picture they saw on your social media. There are even girl groups out there that say they “strive to inspire women” yet will bash you behind your back.
“If you have to hurt other people in order to feel powerful, you are an extremely weak individual.” – Bobby Mattingly
Ladies we need to stop this! We will never inspire others by putting them down. We raise up by bringing people up, by bringing out the best in them and pushing them to achieve, not by criticizing what they have achieved. What might be a small accomplishment to one person is a huge accomplishment to another, you never know the struggles of another person. Especially just by viewing their social media!
So, in a world where everyone is trying to outdo each other or be like everyone else, I say be weird! Be You! Be different! Aspire to be the best YOU possible not what you think people want you to be! Normal is boring… be daring, be creative, just be you!
Here are a few ways I try to keep my sanity:
· Disconnect! Go outside and live life instead of looking at a screen!
· Set Goals for YOURSELF and no one else!
· Stay Positive and aspire to inspire!
“Be like Michael Phelps. Stay in your own lane. Keep swimming forward & don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Don’t look at other lanes. Just keep swimming.”
– Bethenny Frankel