Tag Archives: steven rinella

Built to last?

Boy has it been a while, but let me explain… On April 17, 2016 at 10:09 am I posted my first blog for Post World Patriot, actually it wasnt just my first blog for Post World Patriot, it was my first blog EVER! Kris and I had met up the weekend before, and we decided the best way I could help with the cause was to make an “attempt” at blogging for the website. Mind you, the last time that I had typed out anything besides a resume, was in the fall of 2000. It was rough. I was, and am still not a “writer” by any interpretation of the word. Even more than that, I am not a “computer guy”. Have I said yet that I am also not the most social or extroverted individual? I can get along with anyone, and once I reach a certain level of comfort, most would say that I am decent enough dude to spend an afternoon with. But I was raised in a way that has tought me to not attempt to be a know it all, or force my idea’s or knowledge upon others. So blogging was going to be a little outside my comfort level. As my Dad would say “God hates a coward”, so I decided to give it a go and jumped in with both feet. At first it was equal parts of excitement and horror. I would write a day or two a week, and posted every Sunday for around a year. Some blogs got plenty of views, others were seen by only two sets of eyes. Kris’s and mine. Sometimes It really bothered me, and sometimes I couldn’t have given a shit less. I was providing information, free of charge, that anyone was welcome to read (or not read) whenever they wanted. Then around november of last year, I started looking at the archives of PWP, I looked at every blog that any of us had ever posted. No I didn’t re-read all of them, but the list that I havent is getting pretty slim. I started to look at the views. Some months we had 4 (not hundred, or thousand, just 4), others we would have 500+. Some blogs would have likes, some wouldnt. The same goes for comments. This is where I started to really scrutinize what I was actually doing. I have never claimed to be an “expert”, in all reality no one is really an “expert” about anything. Think about it, How many people throughout the course of history were thought to be “experts” then 100 years later, everything that we had been taught to be true was completely disproved by another “expert”? “Expert” is a term that has a shelf life, and is just a fancier word for our accepted truth up to this point. What these “experts” have done however, it to pique the interest of others in a way that causes them to continue researching and learning about something that has already been discovered or explained. So what does this have to do with me? After reading all of these blogs, and analyzing all of the blog stats, I realized that all this time I have been walking up to the  podium, doing a classic Beastie Boys mic check, then preaching the gospel of survival though preparedness and firearm efficiency to a bunch of empty seats. Typing just to read my own words I guess. Then it hit me, even a college professor, who has been hand-picked for their prowess in a given subject, is only allowed to continue to be a professor if there are enough students in the seats. No asses in the chairs = Class no longer exists, or professor is replaced. Maybe it was time for me to drop the mic one more time, and maybe this time it would be for good…

I like learning about “stuff”, I like being mentally stimulated, and actually having something intelligent to ponder. I work in a beer warehouse as the night supervisor, and the predominant activity that I am responsible for is processing orders on a computer. It works a little something like this: A salesmen writes orders at an account (grocery store, gas station, bar etc.) and submits them on a tablet. They magically appear on my computer, I organize all of these orders by where they are being delivered, what day they need to be delivered, and what kind of account they are. I then process these orders into a head set, print them out and hand them to “pickers” who will pick each order by number of cases and stop number that will be delivered from the trucks. Then I load the orders onto the corresponding trucks for delivery. As you can probably tell, it is not exactly the most invigorating activity that an individual can participate in. So to break up the monotony, I will often listen to podast’s in slack moments. My favorite has to be Steven Rinellas Meateater podcast, You probably know Steven from his television shows, but he is also a very well-known author with titles such as: The complete guide to hunting, butchering, and cooking wild game Volumes 1 and 2, American buffalo: In search of a lost icon, Meateater: Adventures from the life of an American hunter, The scavengers guide to Haute cuisine, as well as many more. It is a pretty fair assumption that Stevens Podcasts focus predominately upon hunting and fishing (right up my alley) but he also delves into such things as conservation and history, with guests as varied as environmental historian Dan Flores to UFC announcer and comedian Joe Rogan. This week, since I had already listened to all of the Meateater podcasts, I decided to look at the flip side of the coin by listening to a podcast put out by Joe Rogan aptly named “the Joe Rogan Experience” and I looked for an episode that Steven Rinella was a guest on (He has had him on the show A LOT!) Needless to say the podcast was much different in format and content then Meateater, but still just as entertaining. Mostly because the similarity of topics was on point with the guest, and both individuals are very intelligent. Extremely long story, made slightly shorter, a topic came up about the viability of social trends. In other words ” if we somehow had our minds completely erased of any knowledge that had been learned, and were dropped into a world that had never been touched by man what so ever, and were left with only our natural instincts, which social trends and behaviors would we “discover” a second time?” They came to the conclusion, that people would learn to hunt, fish and forage again, they would craft tools. People would probably learn to sing, and some form of writing would be created. They also decided that sagging your pants would have no possible chance of being created a second time (hopefully skin-tight girl pants would reach the same fate). But it really got me thinking. Some things at their truest form, have changed only slightly since inception, and in so, are these things of more value? My feeling is yes, but it also takes accepting a few things in order to establish their worth. Firstly, you have to accept that fact that something can be discovered or created in many different places at many different times, and still be the first of its kind. Secondly you have to accept that evolution of a given item due to gathered knowledge, and or material is still, in all reality the same item. Lets take the bow and arrow for example (or should we really say the arrow and the bow?) It looks as though the bow was invented somewhere around 6 different times, in 6 different locations, in 6 different time frames. “But how can that be, you can only invent something once, then after that it is just a re-creation, or copy, of the original right?” Well I guess that depends on your perspective.  But when artifacts are found in places thousands of miles apart, in time frames that are not reminiscent of those distances of travel (or possible without specialized transportation) , and the construction of those bows share very little in characteristic, it leads me to believe that more than one person identified a solution to a real problem and acted upon it. Either way, arrows, or should we call them “short fletched spears” have been around for much longer. Projectile points have been discovered in the Sibudu caves of South Africa, that they believe to be somewhere around 64,000 years old. As for North America, our oldest intact “arrow-head” is around 13,000 years old, but recent evidence “suggest” that the technology has been here for 15,000 years. Either way, the arrow wasnt invented first, the spear came before that, and before that people threw rocks. At some point in time, Paleo Joe picked up a rock to throw at some sort of tasty critter, and upon throwing it found himself bleeding. Upon further inspection Joe found that some kinds of stone break in a fashion that causes them to become sharp. Thus discovering knife technology. Projectile points are really just small double-edged knives after all right? In most of your pockets right now you probably have a refined version of that same 64,000 year old discovery. But knapping stone, to use to open up cardboard boxes, is a job best left to experts like Paleo Joe and the rest of our early age ancestors. As for me ill stick with banging steel like the Sons of Ivaldi lineage of the North.

Through writing these blogs, I have had to make a conscious effort to truly immerse myself in the topics that I care so much about and want to share with you. It has also helped me to expand my horizons and try new things in order to better understand how we have evolved our technologies to present day standards. Every time the forge gets fired up, and the steel is placed in those glowing embers, I feel a deep tie to all of those who came before me and laid hammer to anvil in pursuit of the same final goal. Crafting blades and tools is a skill that will always be a necessity no matter how technologically advanced we become. The same can be said for all the primitive activities that people choose to partake in. Tooling leather, foraging wild mushrooms, learning to temp a cutthroat trout with a dry-fly, or falling in love with the flight of the arrow. All of these things are timeless and pure, being only slightly tainted by the ease and convenience of modern-day. Call me nostalgic, but the less a craft has been modified from its original form, the more driven I am to learn it. Hell, I’m going to a trapping course next month and looking into a primitive taxidermy course in the near future. I enjoy these things, and as time goes by and as the World evolves I find myself desperately longing for the time before everything was easy. When knowledge was earned through hard work, experimentation, and a genuine need, and the fruits of your labors were truly built to last…

-Grant Willoughby 2/25/2018-

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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-