Tag Archives: catfish

You have been lied to…

How does that make you feel? To know that people have been feeding you full of lies for years. Maybe it was an accident, and they didn’t know any better. Maybe they had other motives when they intentionally steered you astray? Maybe they thought it was for your own good. I know what you are thinking, “Grant’s back on the keyboard, this is going to be a long blog about guns, break out the tinfoil hats!”. Well if that’s what you were thinking, I’m sorry to inform you that you are wrong (even though I could totally go for a long rant about hunting rifles, effectiveness of personal defence pistols calibers, or the use of light’s and lasers on firearms). But today were talking wild game.

There are definitely 2 sides to every story, wild game is no exception. Some people will flat-out tell you that wild game is disgusting. Deer is too gamey, duck is too fatty, bear too greasy, catfish taste like mud, squirrels are just big mice, and rabbit are supposed to be pets, not your main course. The other side will tell you  “anything with fins, fur or feathers is edible”. That is correct as for North American game, but we all know that just because you can, doesn’t always mean that you should. Take probably the biggest meat-eating, hunting, fishing,  red-blooded American we have walking the planet right now, Steven Rinella, and listen to his Podcasts. He talks about it all the time because people always ask him if a certain animal is edible. To which he almost always replies(and I paraphrase), “Hell yeah you “CAN” eat it, question is if you want to, and how does it taste?” To an extent, I have a little bit of a soft spot for people who fall into the first class, because most times people make such broad judgements about wild game meat from personal experience (often times consisting of a single experience). Any one who has spent any amount of time hunting, and processing game meat knows that you have to treat wild game slightly different then you would domesticated stock. In that you will also get different flavor characteristics, and poorly executed “experiments” with game meat have been one of the leading causes of people’s dislike of game meat all together, and it would be hard to blame them. Imagine if you will, that you had never ate beef in your whole life, and someone offered to make you a hamburger. Not having any experience with burger, that would be your basis of what all beef is like. Now imagine that first burger was overly salted, overworked, and burnt to a crisp. What would your general feelings of all beef be? It’s dry, its dense, and it lacks flavor. You and I both know that a good hamburger is none of those things, they are always delicious, juicy, and tender. Even at that, a hamburger is not the measuring stick of which all beef should be measured. Each cut is different and perfect to be used in different ways to enhance the natural character of the cut. Wild game is no different. Without breaking down every cut from every game animal, I say we address some common misconception’s (read LIES) that I am sure that you have either read or been told through the years.

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  • “Deer is too gamey” : All animals have a distinctive flavor profile wild or domesticated, don’t believe me? Eat a piece of chicken fried steak and a piece a fried chicken back to back (if you are going to cook both in a single day, at least have the decency to invite me over). both cooking processes are the exact same, both coating the exact same, but neither one taste exactly like the other. Why? because beef taste like beef, and chicken taste like chicken. If all you ate was chicken, beef would have a “gamey” flavor, and vise-versa. Deer just has a more pronounced flavor than domesticated beef (and in all reality “beef” bought from a super market hardly resembles what beef use to be. If given the chance try grass finished beef, as opposed to grain finished beef. it is amazing how much more flavor the grass finished beef has over the counterpart. Any one who has had the privilege to having high quality beef knows exactly what im talking about.) Venison does have one thing that most non-hunters are not accustomed to. It is lean (lacking marbling from fat content.), a 3.5 oz. portion of beef has between 150-180 calories, 2-6.5% fat and 22-22.7 grams of protein. Mule deer on the other hand has 145 calories, 1.3% fat, and 23.7 grams of protein. Fewer calories, less fat, more protein, completely grass-fed, completely free-range, non-gmo, what else do people want? I would guess that more times than not, the real cause of overly gamey meat is due to poor handling, improper cleaning, cooling and aging techniques. Don’t stress the animal, clean and cool it as quickly as possible, and I would put money on the fact that you will have delicious tender meat. (And while you are at it, there is no need to cook venison to “well done”, if you don’t trust an eye test, use a meat thermomater and aim for 145 degrees. then let it rest before serving. You wouldnt cook a filet mignon to well done, and I would recommend that you treat deer filet the same way.)

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  • “Duck is just to fatty for me”: This may very well be true as to domesticated duck which is around 4.25% fat, but wild ducks tend to be less then half of that at around 2% fat. No they are not as lean as domesticated chicken (at around .7% fat) but what they pick up in fat, they also gain in flavor. Wild duck meat is surprisingly dark and muscular. To quote the writer Jim Harrison ( The author of “legends of the fall”) “it is a crime against God and man to skin a game bird…” In truth, duck breast that has been boned out, with skin plucked and left attached is truly one of the greatest gifts from mother nature. The skin crisps quickly, and seals the juices into the meat. I tend to go with my “6 minutes or 6 hours rule” meaning I will sear them quickly on a grill and eat them medium rare (I know what you are thinking “Pink center bird meat! Your gonna get salmonella.” but in all actuality, wild ducks, having never been domesticated, carries almost no chance of salmonilla.) or I want to slow cook them all day. Waterfowl tends to toughen up when cooked too long (say to “medium well” doneness). But, much like beef brisket, if you cook water fowl for extremely long times at very low temperatures, the meat fibers will break down and become tender again. Smoked pulled duck sandwiches anyone?

  • “Catfish taste like mud” : If I have heard this once, I have heard it a thousand times. Yes sometimes catfish do have a muddy taste, and sometimes they taste as clean as could be. Until lately I never knew why, it turns out that the sometimes muddy flavor that you get from catfish is mostly held in the belly meat and the fat of the fish. So how do we guarantee that we will have better tasting catfish? Firstly stay away from the belly, or any meat that takes on a yellow tint. Secondly, when processing out catfish fillets you will notice that there is an area where the back  and side meat come together that will often have a look of light purple or red (kind of looks like a bruise that runs the whole junction between the two parts) that is the area where a lot of the fat is stored, remove it and you will have removed most of that muddy taste. Keeping the fish in ice-cold water before trimming will also help you more easily trim the fat away from the fillets, as well as clean the fish. Then all that’s left is to do is start-up the fryer, mix up the hush puppies, and get prepared for a wonderful non-muddy catfish fry.

  • “Bear meat is greasy”: Well lets look at that observation a little bit. We have all heard that bears are closely related to pigs… Turn out that isn’t true either. (now you can bust out that aluminum foil hat) pigs belong to the Suidae family, and bears belong to the Ursidae family. Pigs are actually closer related to deer, camels, giraffe and cattle. Bears on the other hand are closer related to dogs, seals and skunks. Now that I can take my Carl Linnaeus (considered to be the father of taxonomy) members only lab coat off, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty about bear meat. Bear meat should be handled and cooked like pork, both tend to (depending on the time of the year) carry a bit of fat, the animals can both be cooked in similar manners (I have a friend whose father makes wonderful bear bacon), and any recipes that calls for pork, you can substitute bear meat into. Bears and pigs both share one more thing… Potential for trichinosis, or a round worm like parasite that can infect you if you do not cook the meat up to spec. Best way to deal with the potential risk is to cook all pork and bear the same, get it up to 165 degrees and rest easy knowing that you killed what ever parasites were inside. Bear meat is tasty, but the way that it is prepared is the usual reason why people believe that it is greasy. Most people (under the advise of their butcher) make bear into pepperoni sticks and summer sausages. Both of those products are incredibly greasy to start with. If you ask a knowledgable butch (or better yet a hound hunter who pursues bears) most will recommend getting the shoulders turned into hams and roasts. both are super tasty and a fun way to better experience your game. Slow smoked bear roasts finished in the crock pot make for one of the better pulled style bbq sandwiches, or enchilada fillings that you could ask for. Neither will be greasy in the least.

When it comes to wild game we have all been misled, misinformed, or just been the victims of crappy cooking. What is important is to not perpetuate these mistakes. Each time a new person tries wild game and finds it tasty, we add another friend to the cause. Meals created solely from food that we have harvested are made wonderfully special, and are a great way to come together not only as families, but as sportsmen. Next time your buddy starts hassling you about getting home late from hunting and how your  spouse is going to make you eat crow, just tell them you have recently visited crowbusters.com and come to find out they have a dozen recipes that don’t look to bad.

-Grant Willoughby 05/21/2017-

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A country boy can survive…

Lately my Blogs have grown long and pretty serious. This week I will try to refrain from both. I think its time that we lighten up a bit. But if you guys have anything that you would like us to do some research about and throw into a blog, leave us a comment. For that matter, if you just like what we have already done, leave us a comment too. Video ideas? How about you leave us a comment? Maybe I should do a review on shovels, for all the digging I’m doing for a comment here folks. I want to keep the Post World Patriot fire burning, and as much as I like to run my unfiltered mouth through my finger tips, I want to write about something that interests you. And if you are already a loyal reader of my nonsense, and you appreciate what we are doing as a PWP community, then share us with your friends. As we learn more together and we grow as a family, we all get closer to true enlightenment. But as for now your just going to get good ol’ fashioned run-on, over-hyphenated, Grant speak. lets let-er-rip tater-chip!

  Hank Williams Jr. said that all you need is a shotgun, a rifle, and a 4 wheel drive and a country boy can survive… And that’s one hell of a starter kit. But you and I both know that that’s just the tip of the iceberg, Cool beans, you got a rifle and you shot a deer for food, but how are you going to clean and butcher it without a knife? I don’t know if you have ever tried to clean a critter with a shotgun or  a 4 wheel drive, but it ain’t easy brother! (Notice I said it ain’t easy, I never said it was impossible 😉 ) So what I am going to do is go through my list of mandatory items for survival. Yes I will start with the the trinity ,with explanations for each, But then I will add a few of my own.

  1. shotgunShotgun. Everyone needs a shotgun. Period. Some will say that a shotgun is grossly overrated as a weapon, to that I would simply say “prove it”. A shotgun is one of the most versatile weapons ever created, even without the ability to aim every single pellet individually, a shotgun lays a swath of destruction that almost nothing can compete with. Shotguns bank on the laws of averages and math. Without going to far into multiple-hit theory and cumulative-kinetic energy, lets just agree that even a load of #8’s out of your lowly shot-sucker is pretty impressive. And name me another weapon that can be used for as many purposes. From hummingbirds, to home defense to charging bears (with proper shot selection of coarse), its pretty hard to find a match for a good shotgun.
  2. weatherbyRifle. Those that spend any amount of time in the great outdoors, know the true value of a rifle. From gathering food, to protecting the homestead from vermin(be they 4 legged or 2) its hard to beat a good rifle. Especially if you own a rifle in an easy to find caliber. In selling firearms, I have sold literally hundreds of rifles, In every caliber from .17 hmr to .50 Bmg, but the caliber that I sold the most of was the good ol’ 30-06 springfield. Why?  Well it has been said that the aught 6 is about the most recoil that the average shooter can handle, And to an extent I can agree. I personally have quite a few rifles that kick harder, but for a new shooter the 110 year old cartridge seems to cover just about every situation. With standard bullet weight from 150-220 grains, everything walking the  north american continent (save for the largest of coastal bears) is fair game. And the ammo is still reasonable priced, and readily available. Everyone should own at least one rifle…for each member of there family… in each caliber. Oh boy here I go again.
  3. 4x44-Wheel drive.Maybe my opinion is just super skewed because I live in North Idaho, But I cannot imagine owning a vehicle that isn’t 4-wheel drive. I know someone will come out of the wood work and say that a good front wheel drive car with studded snow tires can go almost anywhere that a 4×4 will. The imperative word in that statement is “almost”, Yes a front wheel drive car does better on the snow and ice then a real wheel drive car does, but lets be honest here, do you really believe that your 2010 Honda civic will go anyplace that my 1993 Ford F-350 crewcab 4×4 will?  Sure my truck can get stuck just like anything else, but it has 2 things going for it that are hard to replace: Ground clearance, and 4 tires pushing me where I want to go. “But I live in California, and I have no need for a big gas sucking truck” Yes you do, you should trade in your Prius, and get a truck, then load all of your belongings into it, then move out of California. Quality of life greatly improved just by buying a truck. Funny how stuff like that works.
  4. randallA Good Knife. Ok you will probably want more then one, but lets start off with one. A good knife is a tool that it is almost impossible to live without.From cleaning critters to making dinner, a knife is a must have. A good fixed blade knife is hard to beat, They range in price from $35 dollars to pretty much as much as you would want to spend. Think of it as an investment, if you buy a solid knife made with quality components (quality steel blade, quality handle material etc) and you take care of it (keep the blade sharp and free of rust) it will outlast you and provide many lifetimes of service.
  5. 10-22A .22 lr.  Everyone needs a .22, from honing your skills at the target range, to use as a hunting instrument, a .22 lr. (pistol or rifle) is really hard to beat. Even with the elevated prices that have now become standard on ammo, the .22 is still pretty reasonable to shoot, and it is still probably one of the easiest calibers to introduce a new shooter with. Plus they are just a ton of fun, its amazing the accuracy that you can muster out of such a tiny cartridge. Everyone remembers there first .22, and all of the adventures they had because of them. Why do we all throw one in when we head up into the woods? Because its tradition, and just in case you get stopped by the country boy inspector, you don’t want to get demoted for that one.
  6. ms261cmA Chainsaw. No Self-respecting red blooded American, would even consider themselves a country boy without a good chainsaw. Just saying chainsaw makes me smile, I recorded the sound of my chainsaw and I use it as the ringer on my phone for petes sake! I had a hand me down McCulloch  pro mac 10-10 for years, it was given to my Dad 40-some-odd years ago by a guy who worked at the factory. That saw is HEAVY, but it always starts on the third pull, and in all the years of service, we have never even had to change a plug on it. Just sharpen the chain and cut. But last year I decided to make the investment and get a newer saw. I ended up getting a lightly used (were talking all of the stickers from Ace hardware store are still intact and still on the original factory air filter and plug) Stihl MS290. I know that the 290 is not a pro-level saw, but holy nuggets man, the new saws are awesome. With a 20″ bar and a 55.5 cc motor, the saw rips. anytime I head up in the woods I throw my saw in, it doesn’t matter how good your 4-wheel drive is, if there is a big log across the road, your adventure is over.
  7. fnxA Pistol. You need a pistol, there is no way around it. caliber isn’t as important as some would lead you to believe, but a quality pistol is definitely a good investment towards your country boy merit badge. Be it a revolver, or a semi-auto it doesn’t matter. Just get one that you love, carry it always and shoot it constantly. If you hunt, a sidearm  (in my mind at least) is a necessity, not only for personal protection, but also for dispatching game humanely. If you have ever tried to deliver the coup de grace from close range with a .338 Win mag you will know what I mean.
  8. gloomisA decent fishing pole. If only once in your life, buy a decent fishing pole. Not that there is anything wrong with a store assembled combo, but there is something special about searching out the correct rod for you. I personally like a 7′ 2-piece medium spinning rod, and a decent midsize spinning reel that holds a fair amount of 10-12 pound test line. I want it to balance well, be light enough to be able to cast it all day, but have enough backbone to be able to horse pike or bigger bass off of the bottom. If you primarily fish for pan fish (perch, crappy, blue gill etc.) you may want a lighter profile rod with extra length for casting smaller lures, if you primarily target catfish you may want a heavy weight rod that is built for presenting huge baits on the bottom. No matter what you target you owe it to yourself to use the right equipment, you wouldn’t use your kid’s sled and try to qualify for Olympic bobsled, the same can be said for using a down-rigger combo to ice fish. Can you do it? Sure. Would it be more enjoyable with the right gear?  You bet.

Maybe all you really need is a shotgun, rifle, and a four wheel drive, but if I’m going, I’m gonna be loaded for bear, There are plenty of other things that I would have liked to put on my country boy list, I love my ATV, and don’t get me started on bows, arrows, muzzle loaders, air-boats, brush burners, loud guitars, a good dog and mud tires, but that’s just me I guess. The most important factor in country boy survival is (and always has been) the want to survive. Be proactive in your quest for knowledge, be prepared, and surround yourself with others that are striving for the same goal. Learn from, and teach each other daily, become well rounded, and most off all never lose your drive, not only to survive, but to thrive.

-Grant Willoughby 07/17/2016-