Hunters’ Favorites

It’s been a busy beginning of the year at the lodge.  In comparison to previous years, this January there have been a lot of guests.  The property is in a Texas Managed Land Program, so the hunting is a lot more flexible, and of course there are always feral hogs and coyotes to torment, and the ever popular “blow stuff up” soirees.

Eating patterns are pretty dynamic there, changing slightly all the time – not to mention the special diets I’ve catered to recently – the pork-free, the wine-free, the dairy-free, the egg-free….  Usually, it just involves a little menu tweaking, or a few additional items to cook.  There is the off chance that we might want to have Epipens available.

Because it’s the beginning of the year, desserts are out.  Large amounts of meat, with some potatoes, and some vegetables are still popular.  Lately, for suppers, I’ve made Oven Steak, Pork Tenderloin, and (modified version) Pork Butt and Beans.  Everything that is slow cooked is done in large pans in the oven, all day.  I usually make the most popular three breakfasts – Mexican scrambled eggs with tortillas, O’Brien hash browns, and lots of breakfast meats;  frittata with biscuits, hash browns, and lots of meats; or biscuits with sausage gravy, lots of meats, and the recently added tater tots.  Breakfast meats at the lodge are a large pile of bacon, deer breakfast sausage patties, ham steak, and deer smoked sausage.  Usually, I prepare the (breakfast) meat the day before, and put it in the warming oven, when I make the rest of the breakfast.  I’m not a “tater tot” lover, but I’ve been persuaded to add them to the biscuits and gravy menu – for gravy smothered tot lovers.

Currently, the mid-afternoon snacks (appetizers) involve meat-lovers pizza, or buffalo wings.  There’s usually a tray of veggies on the bar with pickles and olives, along with a couple kinds of nuts, and chocolate.  Most of the time, I’ll add a tray of deer summer sausage, deer snack sticks, and Kerrygold cheese.

It’s a hunting lodge, not a spa!!!  The guests are often a little heavier, and a lot happier, when they leave.  I’ve told them that I’ll be glad to make “spa” food, but no one has requested it yet.

This week, we have a small group of guests coming, so I’m making what I consider to be the best Roasted Chicken.  The second night’s supper I haven’t made a decision about yet. With smaller groups, sometimes I do meals that require a little more prep, but because I occasionally have to hold things for a while, I have to pay attention to what I choose.