Letter about the Hunting Chef

This is Megan Nanna, the Hunting Chef’s oldest daughter. I thought I would spice up his blog a bit, and also give his readers some more insight about my dad. This is in hopes that you will find him even more interesting, and follow his blog! (Oh, not to mention that this is a way of me earning some money so that I can travel next year. So let’s help out my travel fund everyone ;)

First and foremost, my dad is the best dad you can ask for. He’s one hell of a role model, as well as one hell of a go-getter.


My dad and I when I was 5

Second fact, he is one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet. Any person that knows his can attest to that. I don’t know what it is….actually, maybe I do, since I also inherited that gene/skill. We both have a knack for making the room light up, although he has mastered the skill, while I am still building on it. 


California, 2008


Portland, 2002

Third fact, my dad seems to surround himself with giants. This is not because he’s short and they look tall, it’s because all of his friends are huge. I’ve always found that funny.


Fact four, we always have a lot of fun together. I’m sure everyone has fun when they’re with him. No matter what the situation is, something funny happening is inevitable.

Cabo (click for video)


Jello shots in CaboIMG_3825

Fifth fact, I love my pops. And I hope you all love his recipes as much as I do. Follow his blog, you won’t regret it! Your belly might though. :)


Visiting me in Boise

Dungeness Crab with Black Bean Sauce


Here we go folks…another great recipe from the “Silver Fox” Ken Silva.  He has been after me for two years to make this recipe. Ken is a San Jose, California local.  His grandparents lived in San Jose when farming was the main resource, not technology.  He is one of the last true gentlemen in this world, a lot like my Uncle Julian who just recently passed away.  They are both the rare breed that would lay down a jacket over a mud puddle for their wives if it was needed.  That being said, Ken also has a passion for food and was born with good taste buds.  We are always talking about food.  Some people eat to live, Ken and I believe in the opposite..  we live to eat.

Ken "The Silver Fox" Silva, a great family man, husband, golfer, and man of mystery.

Ken “The Silver Fox” Silva, a great family man, husband, golfer, and a lover of food.

Oregon is famous for its crab resources.  It is very easy to go out and toss crab pots and getting your limit in one run, or 50 crabs in one pot.  The problem that we have is that how many crabs do you truly need? Cracking crabs can be torture after cracking your first five, also in my opinion you cannot freeze crab. If you do you will have to do a “crab bender” for five days eating it.  My point is… find great recipes and great ways to cook crab so it is not rich, or dipped in butter.  The Silver Fox, thru perseverance and patience, made me a believer to an entirely different world.


It is an easy recipe for two cooked crab, cannot grow wrong by doubling sauce size below:

  • 1 Tablespoon of black bean sauce (found in the Asian department of grocery store).
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoon of white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup of thin sliced ginger (make sure to use fresh and peel it before slicing) then smash each piece.
The Ingredients

The Ingredients

  • Egg white, beaten with a teaspoon of water.
  • 1 Table 1 spoon of corn starch thinned with one teaspoon of water.
  • 3 Green onions sliced
  • Before starting the dish pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  Put cooked crab on cookie sheet and heat for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce.
Make sure to smash the ginger.

Make sure to smash the ginger.

Add corn starch to wok with the other previous ingredients, remove the crab from oven and add to wok and stir.  Add green onions.  Toss the dish for 3 minutes.

  • Cooked crab individual legs.

    Cooked crab individual legs.

Remove the crab dish from the wok by pouring it onto serving platter.  Pour remainder sauce over the crab.

Plate and serve.

Crab with Bean Sauce stirred and ready for serving

Crab with Bean Sauce stirred and ready for serving.

We devoured the crab like hungry otters.  Ken was correct, this was amazing.  Crack the crab and dip it in the sauce, refreshing and full of flavor.  I am already craving it again, perhaps I do need to harvest about 30 crab this weekend.


Amazing Crab dish

Thank you Silver Fox for being apart of my blog and sharing your old recipes from your family and friends.  They are very good (I make Silver Fox  meat sauce twice a month).

I hope you all try this one, it is a winner.

Hunting Chef

2013 Grand Oyster BBQ Championship


Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the 2013 Grand Oyster BBQ Championship held in Seaside, Oregon.  While fishing for Sturgeon, actually while watching Ben fishing for Sturgeon each contestant was allowed to phone in their ingredients to a hot supply line for the evening Oyster BBQ event.  When we returned to the house after fishing it was a mad dash to the kitchen.

Immedietaly a fight for the "hole" stove position breaks out.

Immediately a fight for the “hole” stove position breaks out.

Contestant number one, Ben Hester grabs the white wine, shallots, and spinach.  Contestant number two, Big Hess grabs the bacon and a pan and snags the cooking station.

There is a lot of knive chopping going on in the kitchen.

There is a lot of knife chopping going on in the kitchen.

I cannot tell you what everyone had in their oyster mixture, because it was hush, hush top-secret.

Molly is working the prep station dillegently.

Molly is working the prep station diligently.

Stephanie, contestant three made a butter sauce with some fancy liquor, I think it was called Pastis.  An Italian recipe she had read about in Bon Apetite I think.

Contestant 3 with her Secret Butter Sauce.

Contestant 3 with her Secret Butter Sauce.

Contestant four, Jan mama bear, was wearing her Oyster BBQ Championship attire.  Jan was quite about her recipe as well and spent a small amount of time in the kitchen preparing. She was sort of like me, bounce in,  grab something already chopped and get out with both eyes and all fingers, lots of knife wielding in that place.

Contestant Four, in Lucky Pajamas at 5pm.

Contestant Four, in Lucky Pajamas at 5pm.

Later on, I spotted Jan’s work station.

Jan finally got her work station and began putting together Oyster.

Jan finally got her work station and began putting together her melody of veggies. I snapped this photo when she was not looking.

I basically just grabbed a few items, chopped peppers, pepperocini’s, garlic, anything I could steal from Molly.  Then I mixed it all up with some blue cheese.  I did not put a lot of time into like the Hester family.  I couldn’t get any time on the stove.

Pajama lady is ready to assemble her oyster at the bbq.

Pajama lady is ready to assemble her oyster at the bbq.

Once they were all ready, we thru them on the bbq.  Now here is where I get screwed out of the competition, had I known that each contestant was going to look at their oyster every twelve seconds I wouldn’t have put the pepper jack cheese on top of mine because I couldn’t get it to melt.  This will cost me later.

The oysters are loaded, you can see mine to the right, with the cheese not melting.

The oysters are loaded, you can see mine to the right, with the cheese not melting.

We had to select one judge, so when Trevor and Mikey came thru the door, we chose Mikey.  I knew Trevor would throw me under the bus for all the blog comments I have made about him over the years.

Take this photo for example.  Look at Trevor "Sharking" the oysters.  Circling the bbq....you could hear the jaws music in the back ground.

Take this photo for example. Look at Trevor “Sharking” the oysters. Circling the bbq….you could hear the jaws music in the back ground.

Mikey would not know the contestant who was affiliated with each bbq oyster.  He only knew a number, he judged on taste and appearance.

This is Judge Mikey

This is Judge Mikey

Now the judges would plate their product, give it to Molly who would take it to the judge.  No one could be in the house during this time, all except Big Hess, for some reason he was in the kitchen during this time.  This would play out later.

The contestants pulling their oysters.  Trevor has still not moved from shark position.

The contestants pulling their oysters. Trevor has still not moved from shark position.

One by one, the oysters were brought to the judge.  He wrote down a score and gave it back to Molly to read to the rest of us.

Meanwhile Mady is doing crossfit pushups while watching Mickey Mouse on her I Pad.

Meanwhile Mady is doing crossfit push ups while watching Mickey Mouse on her I Pad.

I do not remember all of the scores but I do remember some of them, like the winner.  99.5 on taste 98.5 on presentation.  Big Hess, who was also in the kitchen at the time of the judge, won the competition.  I had a score of 100.00 on taste, and 97 on presentation.  I think I got third.

Champ with Steph celebrating his big win.

Champ with Steph celebrating his big win.

Then the fun begins and the oyster bar opens up and ole Sharky is finally got his oysters and we all got to make and assemble each others oysters.

Oyster assembly line.

Oyster assembly line.

Three dozen oysters later, everyone is ready for some more.  We ran out of oysters at 3 dozen.  What a great way to spend the afternoon!  The next day, Mike asked me what he won.  We really did not define what the champion won, so I went out and had a shirt made for him.

Big Hess, 2013 Oyster Champion.

Big Hess, 2013 Oyster Champion.

I tell you what, we had a great time.  How can you beat eating bbq oysters of all different flavors with friends on a deck a the beach?  The only downfall was that we did not have 5 dozen oysters.

The Contestants of 2013 Oyster BBQ

The Contestants of 2013 Oyster BBQ

See you guys next year, this time I am going to be working all year on this project.  2014 has my name all over it.

Hunting Chef

The Hunting Chef 44 Birthday-Argentina Style Part two

This is the second day of my 44 birthday celebration. The morning began with breakfast for 12 people.  I pull out the World War one Cast Iron skillet that Grover casted me off his original one.  It is one heavy piece of cooking equipment to add to the arsenal but it produces amazing food.

The "Kitchen Sink" on the World War 1 Cast 80 lb Cast Iron

The “Kitchen Sink” on the World War 1 Cast 80 lb Cast Iron

I call this the “Kitchen Sink” and it has just about everything in it but…..the kitchen sink.  We have seasoned potatoes, chopped onions, yellow peppers, lots of garlic, bacon, pork from the pig roast, hot sausage from Mt. Angel, veal chorizo, and the best ingredient…GOUDA Cheese.

While Wayne is shoveling, look at the Kitchen Sink spectator drooling in the window.

While Wayne is shoveling, look at the Kitchen Sink spectator drooling in the window.  Sort of spooky, told you he was taller than Wayne.

This breakfast process takes about 45 minutes to do it right.  The potatoes and the cheese need to be crisp and brown before serving.  The garlic bites are amazing.  We put a whole head of chopped garlic in this bad boy.

It is beginning to show promise and you can smell this five miles away.

It is beginning to show promise and you can smell this five miles away.

We serve this on the plate, and then Todd puts two eggs over easy on top and gives you a piece of toast.  I was so hungry I didn’t get to take a picture because I was eating it like a lawn mower.  We went on an unsuccessful Morel mushroom hunt (it was too cold).  Then returned to prep for the big dinner.

The lamb has been butchered and ready for the spit.

The lamb has been butchered and ready for the spit, use salt water and garlic for the rub.

Wayne made a wonderful Lamb roasting spit for the fire.  Basically the lamb is tied to the spit in the open fashion so it can cook evenly over the fire.  This takes approximately 3 hours.  We drive a stake into the ground at an angle and put it at the precise degree we need.  Nobody fell into the fire.

Asadore 413 Asadore 414 Asadore 415 Asadore 416

While this gets going.  I retreat to the kitchen where the ladies are drinking wine and talking about hair color and fingernails.

Here is the Empanda Cooking Team.  Erin, Shery, Stephanie.

Here is The empanadas Cooking Team. Erin, Shery, Stephanie.

Now when I say “Empanadas Cooking team” that refers to the lovely lady in the middle.  Basically she cooks and works in the kitchen and the other two sit and watch drinking their wine and talk to Shery while she works diligently in the kitchen.  Where is Alice?

Here is Shery diligently working while her team is sitting at the table discussing diamonds or something.

Here is Shery diligently working while her team is sitting at the table discussing diamonds or something.

Meanwhile the BBQ boys have are milling around the fire making sure their drinks are full and the fire is producing heat.

The three amigos.  Trevor gave me that hat for my birthday.

The three amigos. Trevor gave me that hat for my birthday.

What I love about this type of cooking in the cold, is that it gets us all outside to enjoy the fire and friendship.

The Storlie Brothers

The Storlie Brothers

Wayne and Erin discussing nuclear biological fusion.

Wayne and Erin discussing nuclear biological fusion.

Where is Alice?

Stephanie (my wife) and Todd.  Still no Alice.

Stephanie (my wife) and Todd. Still no Alice.

The lamb is putting off a very good smell.  I am surprised that Grizzly bears have not snuck into camp.  We turn it around every so often and took our meat temperature gauge to assure a smooth even cooked lamb.

Lamb Asadore is coming along very well.  This is my BBQ Crew

Lamb Asadore is coming along very well. This is my BBQ Crew

Now about this time we realize two things.  Wayne is no longer with us, and we have located Alice in the hot tub where she has been for 7 hours.  When I say “Wayne is no longer with us” I mean mentally, not physically.  He is now operating in that portion of the brain that only can be operated by killing 1 million brain cells to get there.  Someone has stolen our charcoal from our sausage cook station and threw them in the fire.  A minor set back that we recover from.

It was also time for the sausage to be thrown on the grill, along with the Aspargus with garlic truffle oil.

It was also time for the sausage to be thrown on the grill, along with the asparagus with garlic truffle oil.

We had to recruit a new “Cut” man to begin to slicing up the finished lamb because our man was down.  Trevor’s first question is if we had surgical gloves because he didn’t want to get the meat flavor on his hands.  Todd and I looked at him like “Did you just say that?”.

Trevor begins with the leg.  It has begun snowing so we will have to finish inside.

Trevor begins with the leg. It has begun snowing so we will have to finish inside.

We moved everything inside because it began to snow, and Trevor’s hands were cold.

Trevor and I finish cutting the lamb up.

Trevor and I finish cutting the lamb up.

That is a nice picture

That is a nice picture of leg of lamb with Sausage on the cutting board.

We serve this meal family style.  Everyone grabs a plate!

I think Alice is still in the hot tub we will have to bring her a plate.

I think Alice is still in the hot tub we will have to bring her a plate.

The Meat Savant makes his way to the kitchen after groping Trevor, his wife, me, and the dog.  At least he is an equal opportunity groper, he does not care.

This picture tells you everything.  It is 6:44 pm.  He is in bed by 6:46 pm.

This picture tells you everything. It is 6:44 pm. He is in bed by 6:46 pm.

The meal is served and the glass of wine is poured.  A great way to finish off the night.

Lamb with Chimichuri sauce, empanada, focaccia pizza, aspargus with garlic truflle and sausage, and a Mendoza Red Malbec glass of wine.

Lamb with Chimichuri sauce, empanadas, focaccia pizza, asparagus with garlic truffle and sausage, and a Mendoza Red Malbec glass of wine.

The next day we found a comercial Traeger smoker bbq, that we used at our wedding.  The company wanted to sell it, and we basically stole it.  We could get four lambs in this bad boy.  The three of us were giggling all the way home thinking about the deal we got.  Look out people, we have entered the NFL.

The newest aquistion to our arsenal of bbq equipment.  We used this exact one at my wedding.  Basically stole it.

The newest acquisition to our arsenal of bbq equipment. We used this exact one at my wedding. Basically stole it.

We had  a great time and I am thankful to have such good friends that enjoy cooking and eating as much as I do.  I never even thought about the fact that I turned the dreaded 44.  It was a great birthday.

Thank you.

Hunting Chef

The BBQ Assasins (I think Wayne and Todd are both grabbing my butt and trying to get me to cry but I wouldnt.  I am focused).

The BBQ Assassins (I think Wayne and Todd are both grabbing my butt and trying to get me to cry but I wouldn’t. I am focused).

The Silver Fox Italian Red Sauce

I think all of us have had a red sauce either on pasta or lasagna that people who either made it for you or took you the resteraunt says it’s the best sauce or gravy ever.  Trust me, my last name is Nanna and it is Italian and I, myself have said it about my own sauce.  Ken Silva told me about this lady, of a friend of a lady that had this grandma, that had this great grandma from Sicily that birthed this recipe.  I call Ken, the Silver Fox.  He is Portuguese, so I really did not take him serious.  He bugged me for months, until I finally got his recipe out and put it to work.  Let me tell you something folks, this will not disappoint and I think that it may be the best red sauce I have ever tasted.

This one is for the Silver Fox.

The Silver Fox.  This is not Ken, it is Richard Gere.

The Silver Fox. This is not Ken, it is Richard Gere.

Silver Fox Red Sauce Ingredients:

  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 6 Italian Sausage (mild)
  • 1 can (28 oz) of can plum tomatoes
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz) of tomato paste
  • 1 lb of ground elk or beef
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 lb. of mushrooms sliced
  • 1/4 cup of basil.

The first thing you are going to do is brown the Italian sausage in the pot, then remove and set aside.  Keep the drippings in the pot for flavor.  Add a little olive oil then add the green onions and garlic and saute for three to four minutes over medium heat.

Saute Green onions and garlic first

Add the Green onions and garlic to the sausage drippings.

Then add the ground elk or burger, and the mushrooms to the pot and cook approximately 8-10 minutes breaking up any large chunks with the spatula.

Brown the ground elk with the mushrooms, green onions, and garlic.

Brown the ground elk with the mushrooms, green onions, and garlic.

While that is browning I take the Italian sausage and I put it into my mini-food processor to smooth out the grinds of pork.

I pulse it until it has good consistency.

I pulse it until it has good consistency.

Remove the sausage and set aside.  Add the can of plum tomatoes to the processor and pulse for 10-12 seconds and add to the pot on the stove.  Then take the 3 cans of stewed tomatoes, the paste, and the basil into the processor, along with the sugar and some salt and pepper to taste.

It should have this perfect consistency before adding this into the sauce pot as well.


Add the sauce and the ground Italian sausage to the pot, and cook on simmer for 2 hours.  Add salt if you think it needs it.

This is what we are talking about folks.  Hold on to your seat because it is incredible.

This is what we are talking about folks. Hold on to your seat because it is incredible.

There is many things you can do with this sauce.  I have used it for Lasagna, cannelloni, and spaghetti. This oldy but goldy is a weapon of love.

I would put this lasagna up against any Italian from the Bronx.  Forgetaboutit!

I would put this lasagna up against any Italian from the Bronx. Forgetaboutit!

My daughter Mady liked it so much she had to take a small nap with Tanner.

This is what spaghetti does to a kid

This is what spaghetti does to a kid!

The next day we had spaghetti with it, and I do not even like spaghetti.  Probably because I am a 70’s kid and from a big family so my mother made it every week.  My rule used to be, never without meatballs…until this recipe came along.

Mama Mia

Mama Mia!

There was enough sauce left over that I even froze it and saved it for later, and it was perfect when I used it again.  I highly recommend saving the sauce….if you can resist.

Vac-Pac and ready for the freezer

Vac-Pac and ready for the freezer.

These are recipes that I am glad gets passed on generation to generation, and I am thankful to my friend Kenny who brought this to me so I could share it with you.  It is called passing it on.

Hunting Chef passing it on to his oldest daughter Megan

Hunting Chef passing it on to his oldest daughter Megan.

P.S. If the Silver Fox decides to give me the name of the founder of this recipe, I  will add it.  However, I do not want my old buddy to find himself next to Hoffa.


The Hunting Chef

Cast Iron Beef Tenderloin wrapped in Bacon

The Thanksgiving holiday we spent with some family friends at the beach, they made a traditional fantastic turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Turkey makes me tired, not like just a little sleepy.  It is like some one hit me with a Rhino tranquilizer dart.  They say that it has DNA that affects us that way, but for me it is like a train hit me.  The next three days we spent on the different part of the coast with my buddy Wayne and Sherry.  This is where we first made the bone in pork loin.  The next day, we decided to take a 20 pound beef tenderloin that I brought and make it for dinner because we had a large group of friends were visiting for dinner.  Wayne said to me in his okey voice “Lets wrap that son of a gun in bacon”.  I replied “Bacon??”  He then looked at me with this strange look on his face and said “What the hell doesn’t taste good wrapped in bacon?”  He is correct about that so off we went looking for some good bacon.

Season the meat with salt and pepper and a little cayenne
Wayne then uses his big mits and tries to tie the bacon individually.  This is a long, enduring process and I think I drink 4 beers during this entire process.

process completed...

Wayne is so proud of his contraption.

Big Wayne is so proud of his 20 lb piece of meat wrapped in 20 lb of bacon

So after we finished this process, we were like asking ourselves how we were gonna cook it because we rented a house that did not have a bbq.  I think that should be against the law not having a bbq, and if I am ever President of America I will make sure  I sign that bill.  Wayne and I head off to find a cheap bbq but we are at the beach with limited resources.  We found a store with a huge cast iron pot that our Tenderloin would fit in so we bought it.

Garlic butter sauce brushed on the bacon

Wayne then brushed it down with garlic butter.  I do not think this enhances the taste of the meat because it gets only on the bacon and you discard the bacon when serving.  However, the sauce at the bottom of the pan that you use for pouring over the meat is great.

It took only one hour to get 135 degrees

Pull the meat at 135 degrees and let sit.  While Wayne waits to cut the meat I do up a batch of fried oysters.

Fried in Oregon trail flour and half of homemade bread crumbs


Oyster plated

Meanwhile after 5 minutes the tenderloin is cut.

Sliced and ready. Look at the color

 After it is sliced, then it is put back into the pot and juices to be served family style.


Plated back in the cast iron pot for serving

This is Big Wayne proud of his accomplishment and it was very good!  This is our other buddy Shad.  He is staying about 4 blocks down the street and stopped by for a cocktail, but had to go home to eat dinner.  He was very sad.

Sad Shad and Happy Wayne

Burnt Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Anchovy Bruschetta

One of my favorite cook books of all times is called Seven Fires by Francis Mallmann.  I bought it because we will be spending some time down in Patagonia this year on two separate trips and I am excited about the food!  Look at me, the fat kid who gets excited about food.  I swear the only reason I hunt is to eat.   This appetizer I have made on several occasions and it is a home run!  Thank Francis for making this world a better place via a good recipe and a great cooking book.  Please do not let the Anchovy scare you away, I have served this on several different occasions, and unlike Francis I hide the anchovy under the tomato and they get mowed over by friends, clients, and family and nobody ever even notices.

Get out the mini processor. I LOVE THIS THING

 Add 1/2 cup of Oregano leaves, 1/4 cup of virgin olive oil, course salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and blend.

Take 36 cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.

Cut the cherry tomato in half

Then put the tomato in a bowl and toss and combine.

Check to make sure you seasoned with salt and pepperHeat up a large cast-iron skillet or what they call Chapa’s in Argentina. When it is very hot place the cherry tomatoes halves cut side down and about 1 inch apart on the hot surface. Work in batches if necessary. Do not move the tomatoes, do not even touch them until they cook and burn because if you do they will fall apart and lose their shape. I use tongs to remove them and put them onto a plate, be careful and it is okay if they are blackened, that is what you are looking for.I then cut some bruschetta and I take about 8 ounces of goat cheese or bucheron. I have used both, and I think I prefer a good aged goat cheese. I spread a little on each piece and put on a cookie sheet to broil. While the oven heats up. I make the Parsley, olive oil and Garlic Sauce. This is pretty easy, 1/2 cup packed minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, 4 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Put it in your food processor. As the tomatoes burn, I add the bread and cheese to the oven under the broiler. As the cheese softens I pull off and add anchovy fillets. Okay here is the important part, DO NOT BUY THE CHEAP STUFF. BUY a 3.5 oz of the ITALIAN ANCHOVY. Take them out of the jar and cut the lengthwise anchovy in half. Add them to the top of the cheese. Then add the burned tomatoes about 3 halfs a piece of bread, black side up. Use your tongs. Then take a spoon and spoon a dollop on each bruschetta and quickly serve. Then think to yourself that you should go buy Seven Fires because your friends will think you are a real a super star and possible a demi God. Burnt Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Anchovy Bruschetta.

These are just amazing people.  Make them over the holidays.Happy Thanksgiving,The Hunting Chef

I stole these photos off CatasTrophy Wife blog

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

3 Rednecks and the familes and a whole lot of eating…….

Once a year, two other couples and us get together for rafting, eating, and little bit of drinking.  This year we had to change the plan because of our kids, so we ventured over to Todd and Alice’s place by Billy Chinook Lake.  We knew it was going to be a food fest because all of us boys are quite talented in the outdoor cooking arena.  However, this weekend would challenge us all.   Todd was doing slow smoked pulled pork sandwiches, to Todd’s amazement the pork wasnt “pull able” until around 2:00 am that night.  We know this because Todd and I, the only ones still awake to try it.  So there we were like to rabid raccoons eating of the que in the dark.

Todd and Wayne (From right to left) Both are over 6'5" so they are good to have around for lifting things

The next morning, I was called up from the bull pen to bring out the Big Iron.  When I say Big Iron, I mean exactly that.  My good friend, Grover had this World War II griddle that he found at some antique store and every time we go camping he would bring it and his son and I would argue who was going to get it in the will.  Finally, Grover had enough and decided we could go have it recasted and poured and we would market them because you cannot find them anywhere.  When the product was completed we learned that the skillet was 60 lbs and cost us too much to ship it.  So I had the big boys make me a fire, and we were gonna make what I call the “Kitchen Sink”, because we throw everything into this except the kitchen sink.

The Kitchen Sink

Basically we have hash browns, onions, mushrooms, sausage, bacon, and pulled pork. We get this sizzling on some olive oil until a nice crust begins to form.

You cannot have a proper Kitchen Sink without Cheese. Adding some Gouda Cheese

You have to add the cheese just for the cholesterol factor.  This is where you let it get nice and crusty off the grill.  Once you got a nice crust formed you add the eggs.

Add the eggs. Look at the hungry on lookers...very concerned.

Then you finish them off by mixing them on the griddle until the eggs are no longer runny.

Kitchen Sink is served

Then you just get some paper plates throw down the spatula and let them serve it hot off the grill.

Happy Rednecks

That night, it is Wayne’s turn at dinner.  He tells me in a slow redneck draw “I am gonna cook brisket”.  My gut instantly sinks as I reply “Why?”  He retorts “Because I am gonna make you a believer son”.  This next meal gets its entirely own blog dedicated to itself.  Stay tuned folks.



Big Hess and his famous Huevos Rancheros

Every once and awhile I get the opportunity to blog about some other person’s great meal.  I never blog about restaurants because you are paying them for the service, compared to someone else who cooks for free straight from the heart.  This weekend we were visiting our friends in Sacramento.  Mike and Jan Hester have a home on the Sacramento river and the deal I cut was I would fly down if Big Hess (that is Mike, he is a wee bit taller than I so we call him that to make feel more manly) made his famous Huevos Rancheros.  He agreed and on Saturday morning when I woke up with a huge kink in my neck, Big Hess came thru with his promise.

Big Hess getting his tortillas off the hot grill

Once Big Hess gets his hot tortillas off the cast iron grill he lathers on a gallop of hot refried beans then adds an egg that has been cooked over easy and hands it off to his little helper.  Jan then takes the plates and adds a little grated cheese, diced tomatoes, avocado, then cilantro.  Then she puts some of her home-made salsa on the dish.

Jan is prepping the Huevos

When she is done, the plate is set aside for finishing touches and approval from Big Hess.  The awaiting plate should look like this.

Once Jan is done, it should look like this


Big Hess then takes a dollop of Sour Cream, a little once over with tapatio, then finishes it off with touch of cilantro for the finishing touch.

Big Hess famous Huevos Rancheros

This dish is a home run folks, absolutely Dee Lish!  This is what it takes to make my blog and Big Hess you made it.

This the Huevo Rancheros team on their deck outside their house in Sacramento.

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