By Connor Gabbot
It’s the end of a long day of scouting on the mountain, you busted your ass from sun up to almost sun down and it’s time to start thinking about dinner. You got two choices: Dump some boiling water into a bag and let the contents all meld into a semi-mushy mess that doesn’t even come close to being what you want to eat, or you finish reading this article and you make this bomber backcountry wild game dip and cook it up in the field. It will be one of your better backcountry meals I promise you!
I have an irrational fear of becoming “soft” by going on too many trips with a light pack or a ton of extra creature comforts. So when it comes to summer scouting trips, if my pack is on the light side I like to load it up with some non-traditional backcountry food. This way I get to eat awesome meals back there but I also keep my pack weight up and I don’t get soft… fueling the fire and practicing like I play, all at the same time.
One of the beauties of this recipe is that you can modify this technique for almost any type of hot sandwich you want. Chicken parmesan more your style? Load it up with slow roast pheasant, cheese and ricotta and bring some tomato sauce to warm up by the fire. Go crazy.
The other selling point for this recipe is that its quick and easy to pull off in the field. None of us want to spend an hour cooking something on the mountain after a long day of scouting. You just need a small, quick fire and once it’s started this recipe is a total of maybe 20 minutes, and most of that is just sitting watching the fire and rotating some sandwiches around.
Here is what you will need equipment wise to pull this off in the field:
- A fire
- Small pot
- Camp stove – Optional
- 1/2 Onion, peeled and sliced 3/8” thick
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add the oil.
- When the oil just starts to smoke, add the onions and sauté for 6-8 minutes. Toss the onions every minute during the sautéing.
- The onions should have browned on the edges and cooked through.
- Add the sugar to the pan and sauté for another 15 seconds.
- Add the vinegar and salt to the onions and remove from the heat.
- Taste the onions and adjust the salt if needed. They should taste sweet and sour at the same time.
Slow Roasted Wild Game
This method is great for cooking wild game, it yields a very tender roast and also gives you a big window to catch the roast at the right time. Having said that… if you put this in the oven and go upstairs to pack your gear for your scouting trip the following day and don’t set a timer… you might come running down the stairs to the smell of a well cooked wild game roast. Fair warning, speaking from personal experience here.
- 1.5 pound Venison roast. I used backstrap but any cleaned hind leg muscle will work.
- 3 sprig Rosemary, chopped
- 5 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced
- 3 Tbsp Oil
- 1 1/2 Tsp Liquid smoke
- Ground black pepper
- Combine everything except the salt and pepper in a vessel and let it marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Pre-heat an oven to 300°F
- Heat a pan over medium heat.
- Season the roast generously with salt and cracked pepper.
- Sear both sides of the roast until it turns a golden brown color.
- Transfer the roast to a sheet pan and roast it in the oven until the middle hits 120°F. This should give you a rare-medium rare roast. Keep in mind that it will get cooked again when you finish it in the backcountry.
- Cool the roast completely and slice it against the grain as thin as you possibly can. If you have a meat slicer cut the roast 1/16” thick.
Building and Finishing
1 Baguette. Soft, crunchy, whatever your preference
1 packet Instant roast gravy. Quality counts, get the best you can find, it won’t break the bank
1 bag Hickory sticks. Hard to make good fries in the backcountry, this is your cheat.
- Slice the baguette at 1/2” intervals but leave the bottom of the baguette connected. Do not cut all the way through the baguette.
- In every second slice, put 1 slice provolone, a couple slices a venison and some sweet onions in between the bread. The baguette will contort as you fill it up but just gently force it back into place without breaking it.
- Wrap the baguette in 2 layers of aluminum foil. Make sure the opening is at the top of the baguette, this allows you to check on it while cooking.
- To finish the game dip in the field, get a fire going and place the aluminium packages close to the fire. Rotate and move them around as needed to heat them all the way through. Don’t rush this process, it can take 15 minutes plus depending on your fire.
- Meanwhile, follow the instructions on your instant gravy packet.
- Once everything is hot, open your packages, pull apart the individual beef dips and dip to your hearts content.
- Next level eaters: Crush some hickory sticks onto the dip or slide them inside.