New Cookbook: The Complete Jerky Book

Careful Measuring and Timing Give the Best Results!

Monte Burch has written a 154 page tome on making jerky in your kitchen.

The title is:  The Complete Jerky Book:  How to Dry, Cure and Preserve Everything from Venison to Turkey. *

I picked this book up in the library — on the “new book” shelves.

What I Didn’t Like About the Book

The Complete … is literally a book full of advertisement for Bass Pro Shops … and other products (particularly expensive ones).

I’m concerned that this is a coming style in published books:  Mr. Burch mentions (seemingly) ALL the brands he uses.  That includes the cutlery he uses to cut the meat, the jerky kit, various jerky seasonings, a jerky cutting board, the huge smoker ….

The blurb about the author states he is a free-lance author, however, I wonder if he got a commission or was given free products to promote certain brands.  There’s no disclosure statement.

Frankly, it tainted the value of the book — for me.

Another problem:  Too many pictures of the same thing.

Fortunately, I’ve been cooking for 40+ years.  Newbies who don’t know their way around the kitchen might be frustrated.

What I Liked About the Book

Mr. Burch offered different ways of dehydrating the meat, from using the outdoors to a fancy electric smoker!

He also offered instruction in the finer points of ‘pimmican’ – a Native American food of shredded jerky, rendered fat, herbs,veggies and fruit.  It keeps indefinitely and the US Air Corps jet bombers consider this “survival rations.”

Mr. Burch had some good points.  On page 65, referring to raw meat, he states, “Cut away any fat, as fat not only doesn’t dry properly, but it adds a gamey flavor to the meat.”

Other Things to Like

  • “Food Safety” includes the “no-no’s” of jerky and the explanations are clear – unless you are a newbie in the kitchen.
  • There are quite a variety of recipes, marinades and meat rubs.
  • There are useful ground meat jerky instructions and recipes  – unless you are a newbie in the kitchen.

Mr. Burch offered recipes for:

  • Whisky Pepper Jerky,
  • Biltong (South African Beef Jerky)
  • Small Game & Waterfowl Jerky
  • Fish Jerky
  • Cured Salmon

If you are looking for new ways with wild game, this book offers some interesting ideas … if non-stop commercials don’t bother you.

See you soon!


* Skyhorse Publishing produced this book, 2010, $12.95


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Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 12:10 am  Comments Off on New Cookbook: The Complete Jerky Book  

How & Why Do I Use a Duck Carcass?

Originally, I wrote this just after the holidays, when folks were wondering how they could use left-over bird or fowl carcasses. This particular post still gets lots of hits, even in the heat of summer.

While thinking about this, I remembered another way to cook — with even more benefit to diners!   I added it to the end of this article!  

Cooking a Poultry Carcass

For Chicken, Hen, Duck, Goose, Turkey - Domestic or Wild!





What’s So Great About a Fowl Carcass?

There are three basic reasons I would boil a poultry carcass:

1) The comparison between a quart of  chicken/fowl stock versus a quart of water and bouillon versus purchased chicken/fowl stock is non-existent. They aren’t even in the same zip code! Stock that has been simmered has so much more flavor and nutrients!

2) In these tough economic times, it doesn’t make sense to toss the carcass without deriving its goodness for your table.

3) Scientists have proved that the “old wive’s tale” of giving chicken soup to an invalid is NOT an old wive’s tale.

There is scientific proof that the nutrients leached from the carcass during cooking are needed by the body to help it recover – from whatever ails them! The nutrients derived in this way are easier for the elderly to assimilate into their bodies.

All This Sounds Like a Lot of Trouble

Put the fowl carcass into a slow cooker (you may need to snap the bones, to fit it into the cooker), add 3 or 4 cups water, add some onion, 1 tsp. sea salt, garlic (Got celery and carrots? Add them), and turn it on (low or high)  as you go to bed.

How much trouble is that? In the morning, take the liner out of the cooker, let it cool and put it into the refrigerator (with the lid on) just before you leave.

In the evening, you can skim off the fat (or not, your choice) and pour the juice (strain out the veggies and carcass – discard them) into containers and freeze. If there are tidbits of the meat left from the bones, I add it to the broth.

Now What?

Soup, stew, gravy — whatever you make from this stock will be 100% more valuable to your body than the purchased, the bullion or the plain water.

I can think of dozens of uses for this stock. Save it for colds season and make soup. Use it as a base for black bean soup (or any other dried beans/legumes).

Use it as the base for a chicken stew (toss into a slow cooker:  onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, celery, leftover chicken, whatever you have). Let it cook for 6 to 8 hours, adjust seasonings, enjoy!


Our forefathers and fore mothers never wasted anything. Creating their own fish or chicken or beef stock was one of the ways they stayed healthy.

BTW, I always add a teaspoon of sea salt to any stock I’m creating from a carcass. Salt helps leach more nutrients out of the bones.

Do I use quail or doves for this? No, they are too small.

~*~   ~*~   ~*~

Cooking a Carcass #2

Not everyone has a slow cooker/crock pot. If you have a large cast iron pot (with lid), such as a “dutch oven,” this is a great way to use it.

Use the same recipe as above, except cover the carcass with water.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 1 or 2 hours.  Then use the broth as indicated above.

During cooking, liquids slowly leach iron from the cast iron into the broth!   This is a great way to add iron to the diet.  In fact, acidic foods leach iron faster (think: tomatoes, vinegar, etc.).

Iron is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells. Up to 30% of Americans do not get enough iron.  This is a safe, cheap way to add to your family’s health!


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Recipe: Stuffed Wild Goose


Stuffed Wild Goose, On the Wing!

Stuffed Wild Goose, On the Wing!


For best taste, field dress a goose immediately.  There’s a super site that demonstrates the best way to clean a variety of fowl.

I suggest you try this: Delta President Rob Olson Demonstrates Techniques to Prepare Ducks for the Table.

Getting Ready to Cook

Young goose is a rare delicacy, with a minimum of waste. The meat is: dark, lean, and oh-so-rich.

Before your hunter leaves for the day, put your order in for a YOUNG goose. Old birds don’t take to most tenderizing methods.

The Marinade

Ducks or geese can be marinated in vinegar, wine or buttermilk. A quick way to get buttermilk is – just add a teaspoon vinegar to each cup of milk, stir and use.

Another marinate: add 1 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. vinegar per quart cold water. Immerse the fowl in this solution (in the refrigerator) for 4 – 12 hours, to improve flavor and tenderize.


1 young goose, 6-8 months, ready to cook (already marinated)

juice of one lemon

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped tart apple

1 cup chopped dried apricots

3 cups soft bread crumbs

4 to 6 slices bacon

Melted bacon fat

Sprinkle goose inside and out with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in apple, apricots, bread crumbs, salt & pepper.

Spoon stuffing lightly into cavity. Truss bird. Cover breast with bacon slices and cheesecloth soaked in melted bacon fat.

Place goose, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan. Roast @ 325 degrees (20 to 25 minutes/pound), or until tender, basting frequently with bacon fat and drippings in pan.

If age of goose is uncertain, add 1 cup water into pan and cover last hour of cooking. (I’d suggest you ask a goose’s age before shooting him/her.)   😉

Remove cheesecloth, skewers and string. Serves 6 to 8.

A word about the cheesecloth: Wild goose has very little fat. Bacon fat and basting — are two things that moisturize the meat, and keep it from drying out.

To that end, cheesecloth is a convenient way to keep a layer of fat on the bird during cooking.


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My Wild Game Recipe Collection – Thus Far


Here's The Whole Shebang!

Here's The Whole Enchilada!


These recipes have been spread out over so many months, you may  have missed some.

  • Just Ducky – Wild Duck – Chesapeake Barbecued                                          Duck and Roasted Wild Duck
  • 2 Ways with Venison – Pecan-Crusted Venison, Tex-                                    Mex Venison
  • Deer Chili in a Slow Cooker “Brazos River Bottom                                     Killed-on-the-Road Texas Chili” and LBJ’s River Chili


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Recipe: Turning Wild Birds into Fine Dining


Wild Birds are Fine Dining, at its Best!


The time you spend marinating wild birds will be worth the effort when you get to the dinner table.  Fish-eating ducks call for a marinade of vinegar, wine or buttermilk. Older duck or goose will be more flavorful after a bath in (1/2 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. vinegar per quart of) cold water.  Leave the ducks in this marinade 4 – 12 hours in the refrigerator – to improve tenderness and flavor.

General Wild Duck Info

Duck meat is best cooked rare.  The meat is dark, dense and dry. That’s why you see so many recipes calling for cooking duck in a covered roaster with several slices of bacon spread over the duck body. Another option is to use a slow cooker with your duck(s). All of these strategies help retain moisture in an otherwise dry meat. Lots of folks are surprised to find that wild duck can be barbecued. However, the most common way to cook wild ducks is to dredge them through flour and spices, fry the outside and smother in gravy and bake for 3 or 4 hours.

Wild Goose

The great thing about wild goose is that there is so little waste with this bird. Young bird is absolutely delicious while older birds tend to be tough and poor prospects for tenderizing with moist heat. Therefore, next time you go hunting, make sure you get a young one!   😉  You know you have an old goose when you see: pinfeathers, very large wing spurs and overall -rather coarse feathers.**

Stuff the goose with your choice: sliced tart apples OR breaded stuffing with tart apples and onions. I’ll end this posting with one of my favorite duck recipes. Next time I add recipes, I’ll include: Chesapeake Barbecued Duck and Roasted Wild Duck.   But today’s recipe is:


Holly Gravy Duck

1 cup quality oil

1 cup flour

4 cups water

Make a dark roux with the oil and flour (this requires time and nearly constant stirring). The roux – when ready – is the color of an old penny. Take the roux off heat, let cool for a few minutes (5 – 10) {this is to lower the temperature of the pot so you aren’t scalded when you add the water}, put back on stove and add water and seasonings:

2 Tbsp. celery seed                           dash of pepper

1 Tbsp. salt per duck                        1 Tbsp. chili powder per duck

1 clove garlic per duck

Stir until spices are dispersed and gravy starts to thicken. Pour this gravy over the ducks in the roaster, cover and cook @ 350 degrees for 3 or 4 hours.


**There’s more info on pin feathers and wing spurs in this article:  “What do Pin Feathers on a Duck Look Like?”


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