I have been the designated cook in camps from the wilds of Canada to south of the border and I absolutely love cooking outside and preparing meals that are simple and tasty.
While filming a cooking segment for my weekly outdoor show, I prepared a Dutch Kettle recipe I learned from the late Bob Hood who wrote about the outdoors for almost a half-century.
Bob was a great cook and taught me a recipe for quail that we used on many hunts. Not all of us have a freezer full of quail and I’ve discovered that Cornish hens work equally well.
Begin by cutting the birds in half and seasoning with salt and pepper. Next, crush three rows of Ritz Crackers into cracker meal. Melt a stick of unsalted butter in a Dutch Kettle and coat the chicken with cracker meal. Place the chicken halves in the kettle, breast side up. Sprinkle the remaining cracker meal over and around the chicken and season with a bit more black pepper. Cut up a half stick of butter and place on top of the breaded chicken.
Place hot charcoals under and on top of the Dutch Kettle and allow to cook about 50 minutes. The chicken is done when the breading is the consistency of cornbread and the chicken falls off the bone.
BBQ PORK NECK BONE
I recently put my Smokin Tex electric smoker to work with a big pan full of pork neck bones and the resulting meal was some of the best barbecue I’ve ever eaten.
The cost of the meat is just a little over $1 per pound. Just about everyone enjoys eating smoked pork ribs. Did you know that pork neck bone makes even tastier, leaner barbecue?
Look for packaged pork marked “meaty pork neck bone.” The cost of bone is obviously factored into the price but there is plenty of prime pork in these cuts.
I’ve always thought that cooking bone in cuts adds greatly to the flavor of meats. Many grocery stores carry this product and the meat market of most Hispanic food stores keep it in stock.
This can be prepared on a conventional smoker where the temperature can be kept at a consistent temperature around 225 degrees but I enjoy the ease of cooking and flavor my Smokin Tex gives meat.
I put about 3 ounces of plum or hickory wood in the smoke box and allow the meat to smoke for about 2 hours.
Next, I placed the cuts in an aluminum pan, seasoned it well with my favorite dry seasonings and covered it well with barbecue sauce.
The pan is covered tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil and allowed to slow cook 6 hours at 200 degrees. The result is fall-off-the-bone tender and the tastiest barbecue imaginable.
RASPBERRY PORK TENDERLOIN
I usually have plenty of wild pork in the freezer but domestic pork works just as well for this recipe.
Begin by trimming the tenderloins, then make a vertical slice down the center of each loin, about half-way through and season with sea salt and pepper, dust lightly with garlic powder.
Place a couple of slices of quality, thickly sliced smoked bacon in the slit of each tenderloin. Grill or smoke until well done, then, pour a liberal amount of raspberry chipotle over the loins. This sauce gives the meat an excellent flavor and should be poured onto the loins during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
If you prefer, instead of cooking the loins whole, slice them into three-quarters inch loin chops and baste with the sauce.
Whether we simply grill burgers and hot dogs outdoors or spread our cooking wings and tackle some of the more involved dishes, there is something very special and tasty about food cooked outdoors on a grill, smoker or Dutch Kettle.
I believe the key to a successful meal prepared outdoors is simplicity and doing much of the prep work at home before heading out.
With summer just beginning and lots of outdoor outings ahead, consider trying some of these recipes. They are all very simple to prepare and will make you look like an outdoor cooking guru to family and friends!
Listen to “Outdoors with Luke Clayton” weekends on radio stations from Nebraska to Texas or anytime online at www.catfishradio.org. Check out the link to the weekly outdoor video while you’re visiting.