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Fox
2005-03-04, 21:01
Has anyone had much experience with cooking wildlife (locusts, grasshoppers, panfish, rabbit or squirrel) out on the trail? If so, how did it go?

jimtanker
2005-03-04, 23:48
Howdy neighbor to the south.

I eat alot of plants in the woods. There are some good books on that. I havent eaten too many animals while on the trail though. If you are into primative survival skills, it wouldnt take too much more gear to do it either.

Iceman
2005-03-05, 02:07
Has anyone had much experience with cooking wildlife (locusts, grasshoppers, panfish, rabbit or squirrel) out on the trail? If so, how did it go?

Finally a topic I consider myself an expert on. I have had much experience with eating most everything noted above and a whole lot more. ( I haven't had grass hopper or locust, but have had toasted termites, and an occasional worm just for sclhitts-n-grins). We were doing the fear factor thingy way before Joe Rogan ever did...

To make this easy; you need only a few ingredients tossed into your pack to enjoy most any fish,frog, squirrel, rabbit, grouse, pheasant, quail, chukar, and even Rattlesnake. Last year we ate two snakes at camp. Don't try a tiny snake unless you have to, the scrawny ones taste bad. Key ingredients are; butter, salt/pepper, some garlic n herb (Mrs Dash), and if you are to be near fish bring some lemon-n-herb seasoning, and if you dare carry the weight, a few ounces of red wine. Also, be sure to always carry a bunch of heavy weight aluminum foil.

While on the trail, or actually during the hunt, I pan fry/sear anything hot to start, then finish by adding some fluid until cooked thru. Start by searing your catch in a bit of butter. Searing locks in the juices. Sear until lightly browned around the edges, then back off the heat and slow the cooking down. Try cutting your catch into thinner pieces than you would normally cook at home, this will hurry up the cooking time in the field. Add a bit of your spice early on.

As your catch nears completion and much of your simmering juices have evaporated, now add your extra flavorings. Another little trick I like to do, is add regional berries, even semi tart berries to your catch. Wrap a trout in foil with some butter, garlic n herb, a shot of wine and a palm full of berries, (double wrap your fish) and toss directly into the fire. Let cook, let it be. Flip once with a stick, cook maybe fifteen to twenty minutes in the coals, should puff up if wrapped good n tight. Now set to the side but still near the heat letting the cooking process to finish, now open and enjoy.

I have even baked some elderberry and huckleberry tarts on the fire. Also, search the web for some trail bannock recipes, which allow you to wrap a gob of dough on a stick and cook over the flame, very fun...

Here in the Northwest we also have a bunch of different mushrooms to enjoy at various times, but be careful. Know your mushrooms or you will not forget it. Enjoy

jimtanker
2005-03-05, 02:52
Iceman -- Next time we meet up I'll have to show you this book I got on plants in the northwest. Cant find it right now, but its killer. EVERY plant. There are 12 pages on ferns. 2 species per page. Tells ones with medicinal properties, edible, and poisonous.

Also, do you know how to make cordage? If you can make cordage, you can survive. Forget fire, cordage is the shit!!!

Sgathak
2005-03-05, 07:36
Ive been doing the "Tom Brown" wilderness survival thing since I was knee high to that grasshopper I just ate ;). Dropped most of the survival aspect stuff since even though its lighter to make your own shelter, its not very economical - time wise or natural resource wise.

Iceman, You stole my fear factor line and didnt even know it :D

My upcoming thru hike will be done "ramblin" style... from the NM/CO border north to the Canadian border, the hike will be mostly self supported. I will be carrying a 22 cal pistol, and even though I dont like fish at all, its an easy way to vary the menu and get some protein... so an ultralight fly rod will probably make the trip too.

Mutinousdoug
2005-03-05, 18:06
I think Iceman covered all the tricks I know about eating trailside treats. He cooks a bit more elaborately than I, but it's all in how much you enjoy cooking up fine cuisine on the trail. I always have garlic powder and lemon/pepper along with a few ounces of olive oil. If I'm going fishing, I'll take an onion and a lemon too. There are some lemon flavored grass that grow in the high country that (sort of) substitute for the lemon.
I've only eaten grasshoppers to try them out (Meh) and the pine squirrel which is plentiful enough, has so little meat on it that it is not on my menu anymore even if you can get the pitch flavor off them which I never could. Rabbits (hares) and grouse are gourmet fare. So is marmot or rockchuck. I bone them out before cooking only if my (small) cooking utensils require it. Brown the pieces well in oil and then steam them in rice or noodles to finish them off. They can be roasted on a spit whole, but it takes alot of fiddling to keep from burning while getting it cooked through. Good job for a kid if he needs punishing for some small infraction. Any of these could be cooked in foil with some wine and onions and potatos and carrots if you had some wine, onions, potatos, or carrots like I bet Iceman does.
Aluminum foil is great but unless careful, good for only a single meal per use, so it generates alot of trash.
Colorado has alot of mushrooms in season, so it's worthwhile to learn the common edible ones: Boletes and Suillus are plentiful and easily identified from poisonous ones which you must also be aware of, for instance the Amantias WILL mess up your trip if ingested; 3-4 days of severe stomach distress and hallucinations are your fate if you mistake these for edibles :elefant: . A class at your local Mycological Society is all that is needed to keep you out of trouble and opens a door to a whole class of trailfoods for the picking that you might find at your local Whole Foods store for $10-20.00/ pound.
Got to be better than locusts.

Iceman
2005-03-07, 00:51
Fox, I was using my hibachi tonight, and I just remembered I left out one of the easiest ways of all for trailside cooking. Nothing makes you feel as close to mother nature, as seeing a small mammal on a stick above the fire. Cram a squirrel, split in half rabbit,bird ect, on the end of a green stick, coat with a dab of olive or plain old vegetable oil, salt and pepper, flame broil this for a bit in the flames, then back away to finish cooking. Can't get any easier than this.

Fox
2005-03-08, 13:20
Awesome.

Thanks for all the info, guys, it's great to have the input. :adore: