Patagonia Asadore BBQ and Fly Fishing

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I have just returned from fly fishing in Argentina, and decided to share a few photos and some Asadore BBQ cooking with my ole buddy Claudio, who is a master at the art of camp cooking.  The fly fishing was  a little early in the season, for a guy that loves Dry Fly action it was slower this time of year, though I did get quite a few fish on dries, streamers seemed to be producing more fish.  Ryan and Kevin have never been to Patagonia, so this was a new adventure.

Ryan and Santiago enjoying a little rest and some sun.

Ryan and Santiago enjoying a little rest and some sun.

We like to target the big browns, but the Rainbows were a lot of fun as well.  Kevin caught a few Bass, which was unusual to me because I have never caught one here before.  They fight pretty good, and look to me like a big large mouth bass.

Large Mouth Bass?  I am not sure, but they were fun to catch.

Large Mouth Bass? I am not sure, but they were fun to catch.

In the middle of the week, we decided that we would do a camp over on the river.  Patagonia River Ranch made this possible for us, and let me tell you it was 5 star camping.  We were not so sure that we were going to go, but when I found out that Claudio was going with us to cook.  That decision was made in one second.  Where ever that Chef Claudio was going….I was going.

Beautiful Scenery in Patagonia

Beautiful Scenery in Patagonia

The camp staff went down before us, to put up the tents and prepare dinner.  Nicko Uribe was my fishing guide, as he has been for years, and Santiago was fishing the other buddies as we just fished until we had blisters on our hands.  The wind made it a little difficult, but just meant you would have a sore shoulder from working so hard.

Nicko and his man purse

Nicko and his man purse.

We really looked forward to the lunches they made for us on the side of the rivers every day.  However, I was looking forward to dinner….

We had great lunches and great wine every day we were there.

We had great lunches and great wine every day we were there.

This is not a place you would want to go to if you were on a diet.  I think we were about 2 miles up river and I could smell something divine, and I knew my buddy Claudio was just around the bend.  I almost started whipping Nicko to row the boat faster.

If you are hungry right now, do not continue with this blog.

There is a nice fire going, and they set up chairs around it so we could watch Claudio work.

There is a nice fire going, and they set up chairs around it so we could watch Claudio work.

Claudio had brought sausage, beef ribs, and a nice flank steak to the party.

Claudio does not have just one type of meat, he has 3 types.

Claudio does not have just one type of meat, he has 3 types.

I just stayed back, drank my wine and watched the master work.

Preparing his meats for the fire.

Preparing his meats for the fire.

There is an art to this type of cooking.  The heat has to be perfect on the Chapa (Steel or cast iron large skillet).  The coals have to be rendered and it is an art of slow cooking is good.

Getting the coals ready to work with.

Getting the coals ready to work with, and he did not even get the trees on fire.

I am telling you, there was something that was so relaxing watching this process.  Perhaps, because it was not me cooking and I know the stress and pressure of putting on a dinner like this, or because he made it look so easy.

Oh no he didn't???  Look at that slow roast going on here.

Oh no he didn’t??? Look at that slow roast going on here.

Then he brings out what I think is called a Chapa, this he will use for his side vegetable dishes and later….DESERT!

I cannot tell you how the smells of an open fire with the right wood smoking the meats and the sizzle of the veggies.

A little light oil, and he gets his vegies on the Chapa.

A little light oil, and he gets his vegies on the Chapa.

Then Claudio does the impossible, he adds fried cheese besides the roasted veggies.  I am going to take two cholesterol pills tonight.

Fried Cheese?  Oh my the Gods are looking down on us tonight.

Fried Cheese? Oh my the Gods are looking down on us tonight.

The three of us and all the guides are salivating at this point pretty good.

I had to stare at this for an hour, maybe longer.

I had to stare at this for an hour, maybe longer.

The wines they brought are all Malbec’s of the region and very good.  I love drinking Malbec’s they have lots of flavor and go so well with the meals we had.

It is almost time for dinner, and we are really enjoying our wine.

It is almost time for dinner, and we are really enjoying our wine.

Now for the moment of truth….

Claudio serving up some Delish Delight

Claudio serving up some Delish Delight

The juices are just flowing out of the meat, it was moist, had some smoke to it.  Cooked to perfection.

Juicy and flavorful.

Juicy and flavorful.

We are pretty much gorging ourselves like we are Romans, except we do not really exercise that much so its not really like Romans except for the eating part.

Claudio is not done yet, the desert is also cooked on the Chapa

Claudio is not done yet, the dessert is also cooked on the Chapa

At this point, I am so full but I keep a close eye on Claudio as he prepares the desert.

OH SNAP!!!!  Check this out.

OH SNAP!!!! Check this out.

These are crepes, with strawberries and a cream sauce.  We all did about 5 jumping jacks in order to make a little room in the belly.

Desert is served.

Dessert is served.

I am going to tell you, this was really, really good.  You could not have asked for a better dinner, especially while camping.  We were trying to figure out how to sneak Claudio out of the country in our bags.

More wine Shay?  Well of course Santiago.

More wine Shay? Well of course Santiago.

We were full, we were happy, and it was getting cold so we had to move ourselves to the fire for some laughs and some great times.

We basically sat by the fire until we got hungry again then reheated meat on the fire.

We basically sat by the fire until we got hungry again then reheated meat on the fire.

We all really enjoyed each others company and enjoyed the evening.

Nicko and Santiago

Nicko and Santiago who is trying to get the music on the I phone working.

We talked about the day fishing and who caught the biggest fish.  Strange how they got bigger and bigger with food and wine in the belly.  We had a great time with these guys.  Claudio always puts on a great show and I respect the heck out of his cooking.

Chef Claudio

Chef Claudio

We had a great time in Patagonia, we caught a lot of fish, ate a lot of food, and had a lot of laughs.  Patagonia River Ranch does a great job, and I would highly recommend them as a 5 star destination for fly fishing and lodge.

Hope you enjoyed the blog.

Hunting Chef

A nice brown caught on a striping streamer.

A nice brown caught on a striping streamer.

Ladies and Gentlemen…I give you the AusPit BBQ

I purchased the Auspit BBQ about four months ago, but have delayed using it until my vacation which was last week.  What is an Auspit you ask?  Basically it is a pit roaster, that a company in Australia produces and it can take 40 lbs of meat and veggies and rottiserrie cook it over flame or coal. The batteries last they say 140 hours.  Check them out at www.auspitbbq.com, they have videos and photos.  This is my story however, so here we go.

This story begins with my wife, Stephanie having a 32nd birthday so for her birthday I decided to do a rottiserrie marinated tri-tip beef loin that happens to be her favorite.  She likes to make left over sammy’s with carmelized onions and mushrooms and an au jus sauce for left overs.

Hungry Birthday Wife, Stephanie Nanna

It is her birthday and she is beginning to get hungry

So I assemble my Auspit, which takes about 2 minutes and spear my meat and begin to the slow process.  Notice I use a charcoal trough, that is an add on but I like it because I can use it anywhere.

I can adjust the charcoal trough up and down if the flame gets to hot

This process is not a fast one by no means.  Its slow and easy and I would tell everyone that attempts this tactic to think about an hour for every 1-2 lbs of meat.

Birthday Girl is getting a little grumpy because she is a little hungry

I tell you what, there is not too many things that is better in this world to see than a Grass Valley, Oregon sunset….with meat in the picture.

This photo makes me want to cry

The next morning Steph and the baby had to go harvest with Austin.

Harvesting Wheat with Austin Justesen

The boys were out harvesting and working their butts off in the 88 degree heat and I was drinking beer feeling sorry for them.

There is Zach and Joe Dirt

This was Mady’s first ride in a combine.  Good thing it has air conditioning and clean air.

Mady is not too excited about this, but everyone works in the Nanna family

Here are the boys hard at work stopping for a water break.

Harvest Water Break that is Matt Dillon on right

That night, My beloved Boise State Broncos beat Georgia and I celebrated.

Broncos Win!!! I am gonna cook a chicken

That night I cooked a chicken, took a little longer so Steph and Mady went to the trailer to lay down and Steph never made it back to dinner that night.  This could be the all time best picture ever taken coming up folks.  I am going to give a thumbs up to the Auspit BBQ and shout out to invest in one of these BBQ.  They are fun and make you drink a lot more beer watching your meat go around in circles.  I leave you with this photo.

Possibly the best chicken, Dodge, Outback RV trailer pic ever

That is how you do it y’all.

Hunting Chef

Big Wayne and his Famous Water Bathed Brisket

This is my buddy Wayne.

Wayne eating his wife Sherry's famous potato salad

Wayne is about 6’5″ and two inches shorter than Todd.  Wayne is tall and big, he is very sensitive.  Here is Big Wayne feeding the wild life pototoe salad.  This little doe will probably not make the cute little poop pellets like she should tommorow morning.

Look at this softy cute big bear feeding his little pal Dora the little doe.

You may recognize him from our wedding because he was in charge of smoking the 12 pound New York cuts in the Traeger smoker.

Smoked all day, and were lights out perfection

Here he is folks, checking the smoker.

Donny on the left, Wayne on the right.

That day, the boys hit it out of the ball park.  Everyone was very impressed with the meat produced by my buddies.  This was a huge success and both Steph and I were indebted to them for the huge gift they gave us that day and we both went to bed that night thankful of all our great friends that we are truly blessed to have.

Wayne, Todd, and I preparing smoked ribs for the night before

My beautiful wife on one of our best days of our lives. She isn't looking at me she is looking at the smoker

So there is a little background on my buddy Wayne.  He is forever, in the Hunting Chef Hall of Fame.  He arrived at camp with the La Caja China.  I bought it for my 40th birthday party to do a 100 lb. pig in.  It is from Cuba and essentially a metal lined wooden box that you cook coals on top.  They say you can do an entire roasted pig in three hours but Wayne and I learned that 4-5 hours is more appropriate.  I gave the La Caja China to him as a gift for helping me cook a pig twice, plus he is in the hall of fame.  He recently did some turkeys, and chickens, and meat in.  So I was excited to see that he was going to prove me wrong about brisket with my old weapon, but remember this was a familiar feeling.  He told me he has marinated the brisket for 24 hours, at this point I am still not buying it.  After a few cocktails on the boat, he told me his secret.  He waterbaths them, which essentially means he puts them in a pan and puts beer in them and cooks them.  I am still not a believer at this point.

The La Caja China

Why Wayne is working his magic we have a botchy ball tourney, which Steph and I lose to Alice and Bo in the finals.

Botchy Ball Runner up Champion

Wayne is still over with his water bath brisket.  It has been in the Caja China for roughly two hours and I think at this point he starts to realize he might be in trouble.

Brisket in water bath with man with giant hand taking photo

It’s roughly 6 pm at this point and the brisket has turned color but has not made the process that is needed.  Todd walks over to me and under his breath whispers “We got a problem, there is no way that it is gonna be any good, its gonna be as tough as a leather boot.”. I reply “Dont worry I got an idea”.

So we busted out a rotisserie and I went and grabbed a marinated tri-tip that I brought for those food emergencies such as this one.

Rescue Mission

So we begin the rescue mission, Wayne doesn’t really notice what we are doing…well because…..

Wayne on the couch

Asleep on the couch, he abandoned his bbq post.  Meanwhile, we are completing this beautiful piece of meat on the rotissierie.

Look at the color of this thing. We pull it at 135 degrees

This is a picture of me with the tri tip roast coming off the La Caja China.  Notice two things in this photo.  One, I am representing….a little shout out to all my Bronco fans out there. Secondly, where in the $#^@ is Big Wayne?

I am licking the piece that is Wayne's

We pull off the tri-tip roast, and the sleeping giant awakes to check his brisket.  He pulls it out of the hot box and makes one incision down the middle of this masterpiece.

This thing is tougher cutting into than a football

He is devastated, and I am laughing at him saying “I told you, that is one shitty piece of meat.”  However, I have you covered with a tri-tip.  We put the brisket back into the box and left it until morning.  The meat was broken down but still dry and well….shitty. His neighbor comes down and we asked him if he wanted brisket.  He said “that brisket is a delicacy.”  I replied “Where are you from?”  He snorted “Texas”.  At that moment it hit me.  I knew now why the South had lost the civil war.

“No Sir, I am not going to go charge the line.  I have been eating that shitty hard tack brisket for 3 weeks, I am so bound up I can hardly walk.  I am going to sit this one out.”

Wayne, defeated by the brisket, goes back to the couch

Wayne, returned to his couch as a defeated bbq pit master.  I know he is still awake in the picture but faking he is asleep.  He is thinking, “That brisket is one piece of shitty meat” then he and his belly full of tri-tip went to sleep until his wife told him to go get in his bed.

The Tri-Tip that ended up in Wayne's Belly

Cooking with a Dutch Oven

The Dutch Oven has been apart of our cooking history before the beginning of the United States.  It is cast iron and heavy and fairly simple to use.  I think it is a great piece of equipment in the field while hunting or camping.  On this trip, we joined our old great friends from Newberg to go clamming.  I recently bought a Dutch Oven recipe book that had a photo of Cornish game hens on the front of it.  Well guess what folks? I read the cover from start to end and their was no recipe for the photo on the front.  Who would do that?  So I began my quest to perfect this dish while camping.  Dutch Ovens are fairly inexpensive, I think I paid 40.00 dollars for mine.  You just need to keep it oiled and cleaned and they are not difficult to clean.  Here is my Dutch Oven story.

The first thing you always do when cooking any type of bird is BRINE!  I cannot say this enough, on how important it is.  If it is a bird and with meat on the bones I brine everything.  You will be amazed in the difference it makes with Thanksgiving to fried chicken.  It makes the biggest difference in keeping the meat moist.  It’s fairly simple to do.

Gallon water, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of soy sauce, and seasoning as you like (not necessary) I usually put in a 1/4 cup of Montreal seasoning.  Boil, add ingredients, cook until it melts.  I usually do all of this in four cups of water just to speed the process up then add more cool water.  Add your meat and let sit over night in a cold place.  For this recipe I only brine the Cornish game hens for 5-6 hours.  Wash off brine, and dry.

The stuffing I do not make myself, I uses stove top corn bread style, then I chopped up fresh onions and andouille sausage for a little kick and stuffed the birds.  The andouille sausage will give it a little kick, and the dish will transition from sweet to hot flavors in your mouth.  It’s not to hot, just a hint of spicy.  Then I salt and pepper the birds rubbing them down with olive oil.  If you are going to use a Dutch oven you are going to need a shovel and gloves to handle the oven and the coals.  I laid down about 6-8 hot coals in the bed of the fire and put the oven on top.  I added a little olive oil and butter and browned my birds.

Browning the cornish game hens

Once they have good color to them, I take them out and add one onion sliced at the bottom of the oven to keep the meat from burning on the bottom.  I then add one can of chicken stock, one cup of white wine (don’t use the cheap stuff folks, get a good bottle that you would drink and pour a glass for yourself and your spouse).  Add1 1/4 cup of sherry.  I cut three sweet peppers length wise and toss them in.  One red, yellow and an orange!

Cornish Gamers getting ready for the game

Okay, now you have everything ready to go, set the dutch oven on top of the coals, put the lid on and add some coals to the top.  Look at your watch and note the time.  This is what it should look like cooking.

Dont get it to close to the fire, you want to depend on the heat of the coals.

This is what hungry campers look like before cooking

Hungry campers can get unruly when they smell this cooking

Now after about an hour of cooking, its okay to take a peak at it to make sure it’s coming along.  However, do not peak to often and do not let your friends open the oven either, because they will every five minutes and this will take away all your heat and pro long the time needed to cook.  Here is what it looks like when you check.  Please notice the shovel to use to put more coals on as needed, the lifting apparatus I purchased and MY GLOVES!!

The Hunting Chef checking his birds

Okay now at this point it would be very beneficial to have a temperature gauge.  However, I am camping, so I am old school y’all.  If you can pull a leg easily away from the body, like its beginning to tear (don’t rip the leg off, actually I do then I eat my buddies leg then say “Yep its done”) then its done.  Take off the heat source let cool for a five minutes then plate them by using tongs and a fork so they do not fall apart.  Throw some of the peppers and onions on top. Your gonna have a sweet taste along finished with a smooth soft spicy finish and the hens will be moist to boot.  That is how it is done son, I hope you try it.

The finished product, nice and brown and ready to plate

The Hunting Chef

Father, outdoorsman, husband and chef.

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