Warmer spring temps bring out the patio chef in all of us. What greater opportunity is there to share your wild game with family and friends than the next summer cookout or family pitch in?
On this Episode of the Journey on the Houndsman XP Podcast Network, host Heath Hyatt features elite wild game chef Shelly Meyer of Shelly’s Montana Table. Chef Shelly will break down how to turn those harvested game animals into delicious and covetous dishes for even the most skeptical eaters.
Chef Shelly has her own TV show, specially blended, private label line of spices and a ton of knowledge and experience that she uses to prepare meals for the cast and crew of the worlds biggest TV Show, Yellowstone.
Chef Shelly and Heath will reveal all the secrets of making your next wild game or fish entree a hit and have folks rooting for seconds like a wild hog in a turnip patch.
FB & IG: @chefshellymeyer
Spice FB & IG: @mtflavor2savor
CarbonTV Show links: www.carbontv.com/shows/shellys-game-kitchen/
Shelly’s Montana Table – stream on Kittch link: https://kittch.com/shelly-meyer/
[00:00:00] The Houseman XP podcast Network is taking you on the journey. Your host, master trainer, Heath Hyatt, will combine his decades of experience as a homan and as a professional trainer that will light the path forward and make our PACS lighter on this lifelong journey to become better hunters and hounds men.
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you guys are in for a treat. So through some of my travels, and we talked about that several times this year and when I met Pete Rogers, I. With the Christian Outdoor Podcast Pete put me onto some social media stuff, which is carbon tv, and I started following carbon TV and this chef kept popping up and all my feeds and I started watching what she was doing and I'm like, man, that looks so good that [00:03:00] I want to try it.
So I continued to follow her and I just reached out to her and said, Hey, can you give us some cooking lessons on Wild Game? Because that seems to be her specialty. And she obliged. And we have got Chef Shelly Meyer on from Darby, Montana. Yeah. And how is this work spread out a little bit? Yeah.
Southwest Virginia to Montana now. There you go. You just enlightened me on something that I wasn't aware of. Of course, I'm not a big fan either. But what are you close to and what's one of the places that you get to hang out? You gotta tell
Chef Shelly: us. You gotta tell us. Absolutely. So I am a private chef.
I'm a former respirator turned private chef. And I live one mile away from the ranch where they film the show. Yellowstone And I actually private chef at that [00:04:00] ranch for guests cuz they operate as a guest ranch when they're not filming. So I private chef at that ranch and have been very blessed to have cooked for some very notable people and very fun people.
And I, it's absolutely a blast. I love what I do now, so yeah, I get to kind of experience. One of the cabins they call is Rips Cabin, and that's one of the most popular ones. I literally go there and as a private chef I'll cook in that cabin. So when you see those episodes, if you do follow the show, you see the the character's rip and Beth and in his cabin, I've cooked in that kitchen and yeah, it's dark.
It's so dark. It's hard to cook. Yeah. But yeah, people rent that. One of the funniest stories I have is, I'm a chef and I'm only focusing on cooking and prepping. And one of the guests came up to me and says, Shelly, W where's the train station? I said what's a [00:05:00] long ways away? And I'm thinking literally the passenger train you gotta go all the way up to Whitefish to get on that.
No. We're talking about the show. Oh, okay. I have no idea. I think it's on the border of Idaho and Montana, but I don't know.
Heath Hyatt: Yeah. I'm gonna take you to the train, take you out. Back to the train. Yeah. So Chef, you're on, you've got your own spice line. I do. And you're on what you told me that is kitch.com, where it's like an interactive cooking show.
Chef Shelly: Yes. So I have that show is called Shelly's Montana Table, and I am on kitch.com. Slash Shelly Dash Meyer, but I do all, I have my wild game things on there as well as domestic meats as well fish and so forth. But kitch.com is the fun thing about it is it's very interactive. Like it, I can do a live stream and you can call in Heath and ask me a question about exactly, what I'm doing.
[00:06:00] If I didn't explain it well enough, you can go, listen, I, what would you do with this or that. So it's a fun new network that is more interactive on that aspect. So yeah, I'm on kit.com and then the fun thing. So I have two seasons of Shelly's Game Kitchen on Carbon tv. However, season three will be exclusive.
I'm gonna be exclusive on carbon TV for season three in the future of Shelly's Game Kitchen. Oh,
Heath Hyatt: Nice. And it's all wild game, is that correct?
Chef Shelly: Yes. Shelly's game Kitchen is all about wild game. I also, because as a private chef, a lot of my guests will come here and they want the Montana experience.
So I have cooked while game dinners for, elite clients. And then because of that aspect, I can't use what my husband and I harvest, I have to source it through U S D A. And so I actually hooked up with an online source and showcased that on season two and several episodes too, of how you can, [00:07:00] if you're not from hunting community, but you still want it or you don't have the exotic meats like access deer in your neighborhood and you wanna try it, this is a great source to be able to get that.
Or wild boar, they're very Centrally located in Texas. So the most of them are. That's where this ranch is based out of is, is Texas and yet wild and pure, they have a fabulous mobile processing unit, U S D inspected. So the harvesting and the field dressing is done properly and clean and on site even for this U S D A inspected process.
So it's a cool
Heath Hyatt: source. Nice. So that's gonna roll us in our very first thing we want to talk about, cuz you and I touched on it, you and I have the same belief that your food prep starts with the harvest.
Chef Shelly: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. I believe there's so many people that are afraid to try game or they've tried [00:08:00] a bad one that was gamey, I honestly believe.
The quality of your food starts in the quality of your harvest and the quality of your field dressing because the stress on that animal in the field will taint the meat that you're gonna cook later. Prepping beforehand as a hunter, really making sure you've done your target practicing and all of those things to have a clean harvest and then dressing it out.
My husband is like a pro and he does it so fast and so clean. I have seriously served, cuz everybody knows we're a hunting family and my freezers are, is full of wild game. And when house guests come over or friends come over, Nine times outta 10, I am cooking them wild game from our freezer.
And [00:09:00] I just don't think about it. And I'll serve wild game and not even think about it and the guests will be, that's the greatest beef I've ever eaten. Yeah, sure. Yeah. And after they eat it and they've said that, then I'll say, that's cuz it was elk or it was antelope. I literally just had that conversation with somebody about antelope and everybody thinks that it's the worst tasting like
Heath Hyatt: sage.
I hear that all the time. It tastes like sage. That's what I hear.
Chef Shelly: And again it really depends on where. You're harvesting what they eat. It's kinda like whitetail, oh my God. A corn fed whitetail is butter compared to, a grass fed that doesn't, it's not in corn fields. So yes, what they eat matters, and that also comes into the locations of your hunts and so forth.
But, I love antelope. It is clean, it is [00:10:00] tender but we get it out of grasslands. More than sage. So I really think that's the difference of where they feed. Yeah.
Heath Hyatt: No I can definitely see that because it depends on what the food source is for the year does have a different taste to the animal that I've been that I've had to deal with for sure.
So what are some. What are some tips or what are some things that you would acknowledge when we're doing the processing to make the outcome better for us as hunters?
Chef Shelly: Nice. Our experience and what we do is we will eviscerate and gut in the field. And then we bring it back and hang it.
Temperature is al always gonna be an issue. So where you are, we're in Montana our hunting season is typically cold, so we don't have this much of a problem with that. However, if it if it's a fall hunt, we always bring the ice and [00:11:00] so forth. But we like to at least a week, if not two weeks, hide on eviscerated.
We will hang it and let the enzymes. The natural occurring enzymes really go to work on that protein. But again, that depends on the quality of the kill. If that was tainted because they were stressed it wasn't a one shot kill or what have you that, that will matter.
I don't have personal experience with a scenario that was totally tainted because my husband and myself, like I, one of my antler hunts was an antelope and it was a one shot kill. So zero stress, and I think zero stress makes a huge difference in the quality of the meat and then the clean.
And fast processes of how you [00:12:00] dress it out. And then Yeah. Like I said we hang it, and that goes back even into the beef world, if you understand, they hang carcasses and let those enzymes work. It's like a dry aging process. So a minimum of a week if you can keep it, cold and or chilled if it's below 40 or whatnot, you're fine.
Heath Hyatt: Yeah. I just I just bought a whole Wagyu beef. Okay. Wow. Let me tell you, it was 95% Wagyu, 5%. He herford. My dad didn't run across. He's got a friend that, that had some and this one come up, so I was like, I'm gonna try it. But yes when we, when I went and picked the picked it up, took it to the slaughterhouse, I guess that's what you wanna call it.
Yeah, they hung it for two weeks. Ms. Taylor's Hey, it's gonna be three or four weeks out. We're gonna, we're gonna hang it, take care of it yada, yada. And literally it was, she was about exactly right. I think it was three weeks later they called and said, Hey, we've got your stuff ready.
Chef Shelly: Yeah. It makes a huge difference. [00:13:00] And people think that in wild game aspects, I just had this conversation with somebody and that they're so anti antelope because, they've haven't done the one shot kill and the stress because their nickname is Speed Goat. When. They immediately, we take off. You're tainting that meat, those cases, you have to let, in my opinion, you have to let that hang right down. And then, determine through the butchering process, like we do all of our own butchering of all of our wild game uhhuh. So Brad and Brad will butcher and we will, we even process our own burger.
We're set up with grinders and we make our own sausage and smoke it and all of that. I've always found that being in control of every step along the way, and not everybody can do that, and I understand. But know the quality of your butcher. And I think that's huge [00:14:00] because every single step from the harvest to the.
Through to the dressing out in the butchery makes huge difference in the final product. The taste, the smell, the mouth feel, all of that. Yeah. I think that's the biggest tip. And I was shocked that other people didn't hang their game. Like I, I literally was shocked. What do you mean you don't like yeah, we always do.
So I think that's a huge tip.
Heath Hyatt: Yeah. When I was growing up and my dad still has it, dad's got a dairy out behind the house and anytime we would kill a deer, we would let that thing hang 7, 10, 14 days. And then as I've gotten older, of course I'm not, I don't live close to there, so it's not an option for me and I don't have a place to do that.
And then for some reason, I wanna say through some article or maybe it was something. That I'd seen where they said it wasn't [00:15:00] necessary to hang your animals for whatever reason. But, we're, we're in southwest Virginia, so sometimes during season it's a little warmer than I would like it to be.
And if the guys down south, they really probably don't have that option because of the temperature. But I can tell you from my own experience that the, be the deer that we used to hang as I was growing up to the stuff that I'm doing now has a different taste. Yeah. Yeah. And there's nothing different other than
Chef Shelly: the hanging.
Yep. And that's the enzymes, the natural enzymes that happen in the meat. It makes a huge difference. The aging process, that's what that is. And I understand there are times and situations where you can't, in those cases, I would at least wet age. If you've got, if you have to butcher the whole animal, then get the the full primal cuts [00:16:00] and wet age, the primal cut.
Cryovac put 'em in the fridge, wet age them for 14 to 21 days, and then take them out and butcher them into individual state cuts or what have you. I, it's a passion that if you're truly passionate about the full process of not just the the hunt and the Russia, the hunt, but you're truly passionate about what that product, the original organic aspects of that product does for a lifestyle invest in having that refrigerator be.
Like a designated refrigerator in the garage that you can wet age your primal cuts. I think it would make a huge difference, especially for y'all in the south. So
Heath Hyatt: explain that process to me again cuz I, I'm not sure that I'm completely clear on the wet aging.
Chef Shelly: The wet age. Yes. Okay. So if you have like your primal cuts, you can de-bone and [00:17:00] have like the full loin the full backstrap. Okay. So you can have that full backstrap before you cut it into individual portions or whatnot, Cryovac. Get the sealer where you take all the vacuum, the air out. Vacuum seal. Thank you. That whole primal cut and in that vacuum seal process.
Then take that and refrigerate it. It's called wet aging. Dry aging is in a, a lined room where it's open to the air and so forth. But wet aging also allows the enzymes to break down the proteins and so forth in that meat. The wet aging will do, may not as great of a job as dry aging, but dry aging, you need fat.
And, the qualities while game is lean but in that wet aging process that Cryovac, all of those enzymes are going to work on that protein to [00:18:00] tenderize it, to create the flavors that you're wanting. And then break the seal after 21 days, do at least 14 days, but we usually will do 21.
And then, Pat it off and then cut it into portion sizes, however you like to portion size for your freezer. And that's when you would, we don't cry all back when we freeze. We wrap with plastic wrap several times, and then we do freezer paper just to prevent freezer burn and then freeze those.
But yeah the wet aging process will give you the enzymes that you need if you cannot hang it. That's the next step that you would do want to do for the best quality of your eating experience.
Heath Hyatt: All right. Before we move on, I want to ask you a question, what you just said. So we vacuum seal about everything we do.
So what, why the choice to plastic paper and then the butcher paper. What is the bene, is [00:19:00] there a benefit and what drives that decision?
Chef Shelly: Yeah. No, it's just expense. Okay. Okay. It, if you do five layers of plastic wrap, you're basically getting out all of the air. Cuz that's the biggest thing.
You wanna prevent air from hitting it. And then the freezer paper just again gives a second layer protection for freeberg. Okay. It's just expense, cuz some of those bags are, can get expensive and we go, we seriously, we do some our Summer sausage and stuff like that. We always cryovac that.
Vacuum seal. But usually on our steaks and burger, we just wrap with several layers, like five or six layers of the plastic wrap and thin freezer paper. Got it.
Heath Hyatt: For expense now. Yeah. And you're right because, I buy rolls of that vacuum seal stuff and it is expensive.
It is for sure. It's, yeah. All so when I'd first contacted you, I thought, let's talk about, some of the stuff that [00:20:00] most hunters they deal with. I said, Hey, I like the trout, fish and catfish and striper. I catch, quite a few stripers throughout the summer and trout in the spring, and we'll catch catfish some on the river, and then, Most people, deer hunt, and we talked about bear and like the guys out west, the antelope and the elk, which I do say I believe, and I've not had a chance to eat it a lot, but I'm fairly sure that elk is probably my favorite wild game.
So let's just thank you. Yeah. I, and like I said I'm putting in for my tags. I want to kill one so bad, just so I can have it. No other reason. Yeah and I talked to you too about maybe before we get ahead of ourselves, everything that we take, I'm a big believer in if you harvest or catch, keep, whatever that we use, it's a purpose.
We use it. We don't waste, we don't waste game. And it's just, I, my [00:21:00] great-grandparents instilled dad on me when I was a kid. And I'll tell you the story that. I had went out one day and killed a pile of squirrels and I let him sit out back and I didn't do anything with him. And my great-granddad, he caught all over me and he was like, son, you don't do that.
You don't go out just to be killing stuff. And of course it was more violent than that, but yeah, we're downplaying it. Yep. Yeah I get it. Anyway, that has always stood with me and, to this day and I have, I'm guilty, I've made bad shots or done something to destroy the animal that, that was not obtainable and eatable maybe get a back quarter off of it, maybe a tenderloin strip or whatever.
But we hunt, of course, we love to be outdoors. But we hunt to sup to supply us with food. And we fit, I love to fish. And if I'm not, if I don't plan on eating it, I don't keep it. Yeah.[00:22:00] It's catch and release. Catch and release. You and I had talked about that and I'm a firm believer in waste.
Not won, not don't do it. Yeah. So let's just start with the fish. Let's start with, I, I spend a lot of time on the trout streams in the spring. That's where my trout fishing and Turkey season is the spring thing here. Yeah. So let's tap into those, what, let's talk about a little, maybe a little bit about prep.
Some different ways to cook it. Like I told you, I can grill it and other than that, I just, I'm not a cook, I don't care. You could give me a recipe and tell me to add a cup of this, a quarter cup of this, two teaspoons of that mix well and put in the oven and it still wouldn't taste right. I just, I can't do it.
I just can't do it.
Chef Shelly: That, there's one thing as a chef that I can't teach and that's the chef's palette. A lot of these I talk about this on my show, Shelly's Game Kitchen too. It's I can tell you at a teaspoon of this [00:23:00] and a teaspoon of that, but you have to taste it and then be able to determine, how much more Do I need more salt?
Do I need more pepper? Or what have you talk, talking about, we talked a little bit about the kind of fish that, that you catch and it's, the trout is here. It's a lot of catch and release too. And this smaller trout, the best thing is in my opinion, is to smoke 'em. And really cuz there, there's just so many bones and yeah, it's it's a pain. But smoke trout in, in like a dip or something like that. Put a little cream cheese and mayo and mix that up and make a smoke trout dip. Fabulous. Fabulous. Then with, a, as a chef, we look at fish based on style. Is it a white, flaky fish?
Is it, a red fleshed fish like salmon? Because each one has different techniques that are better [00:24:00] for those styles, but they're trans. You can transpose them into wild game or whatnot based on the style of meat. Specifically with the fish, the fattier fish, the red, flaky, or excuse me, the red fleshed fish are usually your fattier ones.
They do great with spicy things. They'll do great with, glazes, your white flaky fish are more mild, so you wanna keep the recipes more on the mild side unless you do like a smoke. So that's what I love to do with small trout is smoke 'em, but a nice pan size trout and really doing
I think one of the easiest things is, if you hear about scoring the flesh, the do three scores on the top and on the bottom, and then do a pane. You're just getting a crispier skin and it's actually helping to cook the fish faster because you don't wanna overcook it.
It's such a [00:25:00] delicate fish don't wanna overcook it. So being able to score that and have that be faster is the secret to ha still having moisture not totally dried out but cooked fish and then it easier to pull those bones away, in those scenarios. But a great oven baking is also great.
Those are things that. Fast and easy. Put it in a or on the grill, put it ha Do you like wrap it in tin foil with like onions and garlic and lemon slices and stuff, and then put it
Heath Hyatt: on the grill. So yeah. And I want to go back to, to remind me to ask you about the scoring. Okay. But yeah, so if I fix it, it's one of two ways and you've mentioned them both.
We put it in the the pan and sear it and cook it really slow after it gets there. And cuz like you said, it's thin, you don't wanna burn it. My, my best way for me to cook it is on the grill.[00:26:00] I soak it in butter, lemon juice, put a strip of bacon in it, roll it up in tenfold and put it on the grill for, less, 10 minutes, it's done.
That's the how I can make it eatable if you want to eat it. That's the way I do it. Yes. Go back to the scoring. Explain that to, cuz like I said, I am not a cook. Okay. Explain that to me. And when you put it in the pan, what are you frying it in?
Chef Shelly: So when you're scoring, it's just a super sharp pairing knife and you're just scoring the skin.
You're not going so deep that you're getting into the meat. You're just trying to score the skin. So very light score on the skin. And just depending on the size, if you got a size like this, then it can handle five or six.
Heath Hyatt: So that's like a two foot fit.
Chef Shelly: We're my, we're working. You've got a pan size like this.
Yeah. Three scores, like maybe an inch apart is perfect on both sides. And [00:27:00] then I. A high temperature, a high heat oil, like grape seed oil is my usual go-to. Or avocado oil or peanut oil, uhhuh, something that's high heat. You'll have a enough oil in that pan to cover the bottom of the pan, but not to be swimming.
It's just enough to coat the bottom on the pan. And then the other secret in this technique is super dry. You gotta ha you gotta pat that skin dry because moisture inhibits browning. So super dry, padded dry, and then quick cre sear as soon as it hits that grease or that oil and that pan in a hot pan, it's gonna be immediately cooking uhhuh.
And, that's like a maybe two to three minute on each side. And then if it's a really thick fish, you might need to finish it in the oven. That's the best way to, I put it at three 50 in the [00:28:00] oven to finish cooking the flake if it's a really fatty or a real fat trout. But usually trouts are thin and skinny.
That's, I, if it doesn't seem like it's done enough, you can flip it on the other side just to prevent burning. But that's, I love to do a SR. And then finish it in the oven for, two or three minutes. The journey on the Homan XP podcast network is sponsored by OnX. The most comprehensive mapping system in the world is available by going to OnX maps.com and downloading their app.
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Chef Shelly: Yeah. And that goes back to the same thing of the quality of the harvest. The quality of the evisceration and a good catfish is white flaky fish. It's clean, it's, if you've got a really beautiful river fish and [00:31:00] whatnot it's so good. And I love to do blackened catfish tacos.
That's gonna say
Heath Hyatt: those taco tacos. Yes.
Chef Shelly: Yes. And, It's a, because catfish, going back to that fattier, it can handle spice. So catfish has just got a little bit more fat to it, and you just need to cook it a little bit longer. But spice needs fat to carry the spice. So it's a beautiful fish to be able to do with blackening spice.
And I actually my spice line is Montana flavor to saber, and I have a blackening spice in that line. I've got seven different ones. I've got a blackening spice and an espresso rub that would be awesome with catfish. And, blackening, I love to do a cast iron, a hot cast iron skillet in that. And again, a high heat oil sear it until you just wanna see the flakes start to, come [00:32:00] apart, then you're done.
That's the thing is the technique to looking at fish when it's done. To me, fish is the easiest thing to cook, and other people are, they're so afraid of it because if you overcook it, it's dry. If you undercook it, you're eating slime. Yeah. But the watching the flakes of that fish start to, open up a little bit.
It's done. You're good. Yeah. You're done. And yeah. Black and catfish, everybody wants to do a fish fry and I love a good fish fry. The secret with the good fish fry is you have to season the breading. Even if it's just flour or whatnot. You've gotta season that. And I actually did an episode on Chili's Game Kitchen, where I, what we do as chefs is you don't know how much it's going to be seasoned.
It's fine. Yeah. It tastes like raw flour, but taste. Season your flour before you do your breading technique. And make sure that it tastes salty [00:33:00] enough. Make sure that there's flavor to it or put your blackening spice with that. Make sure that you can actually taste it in that breading because that's the first thing that hits your palate and make, makes for a better experience on your eating.
I was gonna say guess especially cause if you're gonna fry it a lot of that the fry technique is actually only frying. You're only getting oil into the top eighth inch. It's a ceiling technique to where then the interior is basically self esteemed. A lot of people think that frying is greasy and so forth.
If you do it right and it's the right temp, it's not that greasy at all because it's just sealing in. All of those beautiful flavors. If you don't have any seasoning on that fish or in that breading, then it's steamed in nothing but water because fish swim in water. [00:34:00] So gotta season your fish.
I all on a thick piece of catfish, I will season both sides with my fish seasoning or an all-purpose type of seasoning. And then I will also do the same seasoning in the breading before I roll it and fry it. Yeah,
Heath Hyatt: I was gonna say, we can't talk about fish without, talk about deep frying, cuz that south, you know how it is.
Everything gets deep fried down here. Everything deep, right?
Chef Shelly: Yeah. And it's so good. Oh my gosh. But I like tacos, fish tacos, whether they're grilled or deep fry. So it just to me is a. Oh my, that's my version of fast food is tacos. Yeah.
Heath Hyatt: Yeah. And the last I usually deep fry my catfish or my striper.
That's the two things. The kids love striper, we make nuggets out of it. Nice. And the, and now that you're saying that the last time I cooked it here about a month ago, it was very bland. And I did [00:35:00] not, we did not season the batter. There you go. So that I can see that was the issue.
Chef Shelly: Yeah, I think that's, if there's any, if there's one takeaway from all my shows or today, Heath is season every layer as you go.
Yeah. So season your raw or whatnot because then you're developing flavors in those layers and you don't need as much at the end if you don't season it along the way. You need way more salt at the end. If you're seasoned it along the way, you're experiencing the flavors as they're meant to be developed, which is as they cook.
Heath Hyatt: Yeah. Yep. Okay. Now let's move on to the Turkey cuz that's something a lot of people don't like wild Turkey. And I will say that I have been guilty of, I don't like Turkey legs and especially a wild Turkey. Yeah. Turkey, right? Yep. But, I did what you just [00:36:00] said is we started smoking them and using them in salads and in nice stuff like that.
And it's made a huge difference in Nice. So let me tell you how you can eat Turkey if I fix it. Okay. Cause this is the only way, but I, what I'd like to do is I'll cut the breasts out, I vacuum, seal 'em, put 'em up, and then whenever we're ready to eat 'em, I'll take it out, tal it and I'll cut it into strips like chicken strips and we soak it, I soak it in buttermilk.
Okay. And then we have a meal that's close to us that does season flour and I roll it in season flour and then we fry it in a pan. And you would not know. I take it to work and people can't, they'll eat it before it's, you turn your head, it's gone. Cuz they're, they're just smashing it down.
So that's the way that I generally eat Wild Turkey. So help us out.
Chef Shelly: So going [00:37:00] back to what you're saying about the legs, it's the working muscle. And that's why it's doing the majority of everything on that bird. And that's why a lot of people don't like them. You're perfect idea to smoke a Turkey breast, or excuse me Turkey legs.
I like the buttermilk brine aspect because there's acid in buttermilk and it's the acid that actually helps to break down those toughness. If. But it, you can do like a an acidic brine of some sort. That's not buttermilk, but those ones, you have to worry about how long you leave it because acid will make that meat mealy.
Buttermilk has the right balance of fat with the milk and then the acid combined. So it's a beautiful and perfect, like I soak my hearts in and livers and so forth and buttermilk before I, I [00:38:00] cook them. So I love the buttermilk brine. You could also do we've done whole wild Turkey, just like you do a domestic Turkey, but the secret is brining it.
Doing, getting a big enough. Cause you know, Turkey wild turkeys are big. You need a big enough vat to create like a brine and brine are just super simple. The biggest thing is you have to have five tablespoons of kosher salt to a quart of water and get that to where it's all melted.
And I like to do sugar, more salt than sugar. But the sugar is the biggest thing because, or excuse me, the salt is the biggest thing because salt actually creates that in enzyme aspect to break down the toughness of those, of the Turkey and also add moisture and so forth. And again, going [00:39:00] back to.
What that Turkey ate. So where you harvest it also matters because, around here in Montana, a lot of the turkeys are following the elk. Ah, and they're just eating elk droppings. Those don't taste so good. So you really where everything is harvested matters. It's not the bird as an, as a species, it's what they're eating.
If you get them where it's a lot sage brushy, you have more of a sage. However, a brine will really help that because foul, any type of foul or poultry loves. Sage like to do rub sage. However, some people as humans don't like sage. So you know, that's where you get people, oh, I don't really like wild Turkey, but other people do.
I think [00:40:00] those aspects come into play. But doing a full on brine and then roasting it that's what I'm gonna do for Thanksgiving this year is my husband Desta a wild Turkey and we've got it completely plucked and in the freezer and that's what I wanna do for Thanksgiving this year.
Have a big family and so forth and friends giving and stuff like that. Yeah, I, that's my opinion on wild
Heath Hyatt: Turkey. So just run through this brine real quick cuz you said salt sugar. And water. So is that it or are you adding something else
Chef Shelly: to it? No I do one of my I love on game like my pheasants and grouse and so forth.
I love cardamom pods. So what I do in my brine is actually peppercorns it's the salt and brown sugar. I love that one. And peppercorns bay leaves fresh time spriggs. And then I do [00:41:00] cardamom pods. So cardamom just adds that little sweetness aspect that I love with my wild game. Yeah, those, that's my game, Brian.
And I can, I've got a ratio that the thing with B brining that's so fun is. I know I'm gonna get off topic here just a little bit, but when I brine pheasant breasts, or if you've got that your wild Turkey breasts or the wild Turkey legs, B brining is one hour per pound, but it's pound of the piece.
So if you weigh that Turkey breast and that Turkey breast is two pounds, you need two hours in that brine. And so forth. But it, if you're doing the whole Turkey, then you gotta weigh that whole Turkey and that's, if it's 30 pound Turkey, I gotta brine it for 30 hours to get all of that in there.
So I gotcha. But that's when you [00:42:00] piecing it out like you have a brine is awesome. I would actually even suggest on your Turkey legs brining them before you smoke them, because what you can impart the salt. Draws into the full protein. So the salt in the brine helps all of those flavors draw into the full protein.
So if you like spice, so we were talking about blackening earlier, you can add some peppercorns, you can add some red pepper flake. Swan peppercorns would be awesome in a brine if you want a little kick to pull into that full protein. Because then when you're biting through it, you get flavor through the entire bite, not just on the outside.
So you know, if you're frying something and or just seasoning the outside and that Turkey breast is this thick, you're only getting flavor on the outside, not in the middle.
Heath Hyatt: And my problem with Turkey, [00:43:00] and I don't care if it's store bought or wild, I always, it ends up being dry. That's my, that's the worst thing for me is.
I, I can't cook it worth of crap because it ends up being dry. But now I'm thinking maybe I'm not letting that set long enough for sure. I know that's something I'm not doing. Yeah.
Chef Shelly: And the science behind braining is the same amount of moisture leaves that protein when you cook it, whether it's blind or not.
So brining adds moisture into that protein, and the same amount of liquid will leave it whether you grind it or not. So that's, if you're adding moisture in, that's how you prevent dry turkeys.
Heath Hyatt: I've wrote notes down, so I'm wor I'm gonna work on that.
Chef Shelly: Perfect. I can't wait to hear how it goes.
Heath Hyatt: So let's move on up the chart a little bit. Let's get into some maybe some deer and beared. I know we talked about bear.[00:44:00] And something you said earlier really has me contemplating the harvest of a bear cuz we run hounds. So they're chased. Yep. What I have seen through my experience with that and I'm going on almost 30 years of it and I don't harvest a lot of bear.
I, I don't really, I don't care to. But, we harvested, one of the girls killed one this year and I ended up killing one this year. So we have a freezer full of bear meat and we have rendered all the fat we could get off of it. Oh, nice. Yes. And we're, we're cooking with it constantly.
Good. But I, what I have seen is that the older, more mature boars are more rank. Taste wise and again, I'm taking into consideration what you're said about, the chase it seems like you're smaller juvenile bores, 150 to, 2, 2 50[00:45:00] do not taste as strong.
In the sos, which I don't have a lot of experience with that cause we try to avoid that at all cost. So I can't really say because I don't know that I've, I have eaten a harvest a sal, so I don't know. But a lot of guys are telling me that they're cooking bear through Sovi. Oh, nice.
That's how I've talked to several people now that's saying that's how they're doing it. For me personally, we use the hamburger in about everything. Of course we mix it with beef fat. Okay. When we have it processed I like the roasts and the summer sausage. I'm not a huge fan of the steaks.
And yeah, that's what, if I'm getting it processed, it's gonna be hamburger, roast and summer sausage. That's basically what I do with what we take. So what do you, what's
Chef Shelly: your take [00:46:00] on that? I don't have the best experience with bear either. Like firsthand experience as a kid, we had bear, my dad got bear and so forth.
Now my husband has not been fortunate enough to actually harvest a bear. So as an adult, I don't have experience with bear. But I can tell you from. An animal species, it's the closest to pig. And because it's the closest to pig, you really wanna look at it from those aspects. And even in the domestic pig world, the old old pigs are not the tastiest.
Because it is, it's gonna get ranier. And even in big game like elk, the old huge elk are, tough and chewy. They're not as good as the younger. I love the fact if you've been cooking with the bearer fat though [00:47:00] like you render down that and you've been cooking with that and it tastes good, then that's a good sign that the rest of the animal's gonna taste good as well.
But yeah, no I don't think that I would do Any of the steaks as well on a boar. I guess I would suggest on what I do with pork, and that's what when we were talking earlier is, I can talk about how you would cook pork and so forth. The fattier meat and bear is one of the fattiest ones in the wild game.
The more spice you can really get away with adding a lot more of heat and spice and so forth. The burger and cutting it with beef, that also helps to mild out the taste better qualities. And it is in the game world is it is one of the more gamey, ranier type of games.
And I, as a kid, I know. We just used burger [00:48:00] and I think we, we did a couple of roasts, but my mom wasn't the best cook. Sorry, mom. And when she did roasts, they just, they were completely tough, decimated. Yeah. It was the old time. Cooking of everything has to be completely decimated, but definitely with bear, you wanna make sure you have it to that medium.
Well a slight bit of pink is fine, but that's the same thing with quality pork. A slight bit of pink is fine, medium well, but because you have to cook it more. You're definitely gonna get more into that. Tougher or grainier aspects. And that's, I think that's just inherent to bear unless you get a really young one.
But like I said if you're cooking with flavorful rendered bear fat, now I think it that's a great sign that it's gonna be a nice tasting one. But yeah I think what you're doing is probably the best burger. And then [00:49:00] the roast, you can brine red meat too. Yeah. So a brine on a bear roast would be really good.
But I would, like I said, it can get away with a little bit more spice. So I would maybe add a little seon peppercorn to my brine and so forth. Doing one and determining how you like that flavor. Definitely do the brown sugar. And even on the bear, I would probably add equal. Sh brown sugar and salt.
On the game, or excuse me, on the upland and the Turkey, you want less sugar than salt. But on the bear I would do equal portions of kosher salt and brown sugar because I think that would really help the flavoring aspects, the sweeter with the fat of the bear. I think it would really be tasting nice.
Heath Hyatt: And something you said there, i, I want to hit on real quick is, the bear has to be cooked at a little higher temperature, and I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I've heard several people say that. Your [00:50:00] deer's 1 65, your bear needs to be about 180 5 internal. Okay. Does that sound right or does that sound wrong or wrong?
Wrong. Okay. Yeah. That's why we're here to learn so,
Chef Shelly: and perfect. Yeah. So when I cook my deer. I cook it to venison, medium rare, and even red meat birds. I do medium rare. Sandhi crane, it's a red meat bird, migratory birds or red meat birds. You can cook those to medium rare and it's going to be the best flavor.
And medium rare is 130 to 135 max. And then what I would do on bear is what you do on pork, which is 155. Okay. Now I know there's a lot of people can Google and they'll come up with these random numbers, but. Definitely U S D A and [00:51:00] health inspectors are gonna tell you 20 degrees more than what you need because even chicken is a hundred and sixty five, a hundred sixty to 165.
So there's no way you would ever wanna cook venison to chicken standards. And I would say bear, yeah, once you reach 155 you've killed all the bacteria in the game. If you are worried about it, 165 is even 160 is what they say on domestic chicken. And then you let it rest and it'll come up to the 1 65 and whatnot.
But I would not cook my bear more than what even domestic chicken needs because you've. You've completely killed bacteria long before that point. So I think that's overkill. Okay. I totally think that those temps are overkill. So [00:52:00] it's a good question. And it's also one of those things that I love explaining on, red meat birds and migratory birds.
Everybody looks at them like foul or like poultry, excuse me. They look at 'em like domestic poultry and they're completely decimating it, and then they're like, powder, and of course they're not gonna like it. That's not the way to experience the best qualities. Yeah.
Heath Hyatt: Yeah I definitely get my bear meat a little.
I'm a medium rare and I, it's usually a well to a well
Chef Shelly: or get your yeah. Get your bear a little bit more because it's pork, so you definitely have that. I can't remember what the, is it's, is it osis or am I thinking that's Buffalo? So I can't remember what the actual disease
Heath Hyatt: Yeah, it, I wanna say Trico there.
Chef Shelly: It's, yeah. Yeah. Trico. So yeah, you just wanna be able to kill that, but yeah, get it to a well done is, 1 60, 1 55, 1 60 max. You've killed the [00:53:00] trick. Yeah.
Heath Hyatt: Let's wrap this up with two things. I wanna talk about deer a little bit cause we've hit on it. We haven't really got into it.
And then I'm gonna let you finish up with whatever your favorite is. Okay. So let's knock out the deer deer. We do the same thing. And I guess ev I'm assuming everybody does the same. We use every bit of it we can use, a tenderloin's obviously my favorite cut. Roasts, hamburger steaks.
We eat a lot of or deer steaks. And everything else is, yeah. And then we make summer sausage out of anything that we don't have left. And yeah, of course we do the high temp cheese and the jalapenos in it and smoke. It's, oh, I love it. I love it. So that's what we do with deer.
Chef Shelly: Okay. And so what we do with deer is exactly the same thing.
We don't do as much burger elk burger is far superior. And we do a hundred percent. We don't cut it with [00:54:00] anything. It's a hundred percent elk burger. But deer, the steaks, the tenderloins backstrap, all of those things are and roasts. I, yeah we do that. I also will do shanks. And I will have I'll have Brad if harvest just bones, like he'll cut me up, leg bones and so forth. And I'll make stock uhhuh. So I'll have wild game stock venison, stock, elk stock foul or upland like pheasant. I do pheasant stock and stuff like that. Trying to use everything. And then antelope.
The shanks and we'll keep 'em like whole. We don't do 'em like, a lot of times in the store whatnot, at the butcher you'll have ossobuco, which is, they'll portion 'em out into two inch chunks. I'll do a full shank. So I'll get four, do nice full shank and I'll do a red wine [00:55:00] braze antelope shake, elk shake when I've got a big dinner party coming up.
But I love having Pure Elk stock venison stock. Pheasant stock, or just game stock. Every time I'm prepping, I will keep like the carrots and the onions that you always have trim. We call it trim. A lot of people just throw it away, but there's so much. That you can use there. And I just, I'll put it in a gallon size freezer bag and save my trim of onions, carrot, celery leak the herb stems anything like that in mushroom stems.
I'll put that in that freezer bag. And once I've got a couple of bags, then I'll thaw out some bones out of the freezer elk bones, or I've got two pheasant carcasses I'm gonna be doing here shortly. So I'll thaw out the pheasant carcass. I'll literally make stock and it's so delicious, so tasty, and [00:56:00] again, utilizing every aspect that you can from that harvested animal.
So we talked about you rendering the bear fat, that bear grease is amazing for lard and Cooking BA biscuits, you can, like I've made duck fat biscuits and so forth. I haven't made bare biscuits, but I absolutely would. I love the aspect and even as I've, I did, one of my episodes was with Liver Pat, and that's another thing because it's wild game.
People have a tendency to think, oh, it's gonna be gamey if you don't do it right. And if you overcook it, and going back to the Sovi, so you talked about, so Ving the Bear and so forth, the Sovi technique is keeping the temperature at the same temperature, so you never overcook it. And you get it to the perfect temp.
And especially with Bear. If you're going to go up to 185, you're gonna have. A tough [00:57:00] tasting. Yeah. But so that's the beauty of Sovi technique is it keeps it, it cooks it to that temp and then holds it at that temp. And I love to do, like on my episode of Shelly's Game Kitchen on carbon tv, I did nil NGA liver pat, and I do it in a sou vide.
So I'll buttermilk soak it and draw out some of that, inherent blood that's gonna be there, super cleaned, and then buttermilk soak it whole, and then I'll sliver it and put it, I, I. When I say saute, I'm not mean in getting color. I'm literally putting it for one minute.
Like when I thin slice the liver I'll put it in one I'll put it in a pan one minute on one side, and then flip it one minute on the other side. And I'm just, again, getting the temperatures to that level in helping to draw out some more of that blood. And then it goes into a SousVide [00:58:00] bag with sauteed shallots and garlic and so forth.
And the SousVide prevents it from getting overcooked. It comes out beautiful, delicious, fabulous. I absolutely love it. It, again, it's not like chicken liver pat. It's not, it's, it has its own flavor, but it's a good flavor. Clean again, it was harvested on an animal that was clean. Clean, killed.
And same thing with the heart. I, those were the things that I really challenged myself. So like when I was saying before, I actually, I had a restaurant for 10 years, a steakhouse. And my husband and I he worked at with me for two years and then after two years he left and I ran it. I, after I closed the restaurant after 10 years I actually went through culinary school and became, started private chefing and graduated at 50, at the top of my class.
But these are the things that I wanted, was [00:59:00] those basic techniques that really I could challenge myself. And I really wanted to challenge myself with wild game because yeah, we all can grill a steak. We can all, make a burger with Wild Game, but let's learn how to actually honor the full.
Animal to the best of our ability. So that's when I, I started making the shanks and doing the liver and the heart and so forth. And heart is just beautiful. Oh my gosh. It's such a clean, beautiful protein. It's it's a full on protein. So much goodness in the heart. How do you cook it?
I, so I will slice it into probably one inch thick steaks, uhhuh and then I'll clean out the ventricles and so forth, and then I'll just season flour and dust it in like a seasoned flour and then pan sear it. And it's, again, it's a medium rare because this is [01:00:00] wild game. And heart is it's just like a muscle.
It is. It's all it is a muscle. Yeah. Yes, exactly. You just cook it to medium rare pan seared and then, serve it with a sauce. Like I've done a black strap, molasses, balsamic reduction. That is awesome with my heart.
Heath Hyatt: Yeah. So I'm gonna go back to the deer real quick cause I wanted to ask you this, but I didn't want to interrupt so dear.
In most game, and you alluded to it earlier, most game is leaner. And when we go to cook this stuff, and I feel like we have learned through overcooking too much. Yeah. But I wanna just use the burgers for an example because that's where we had the most trouble, is if it's not mixed with something, it has fat.
Yeah. Then when I go to cook that burger, give me some tips where I'm not overdoing it because that seemed to be one of [01:01:00] my. Faults is wi and I'm just using the burger cuz that seemed to be what it was the most of.
Chef Shelly: So the biggest thing, yes, any type of innocent is super lean. Like in the beef world, 17 grams of fat per three ounce portion.
In most of the venison worlds it's 0.9 grams of fat per three ounce. So super lean and if you don't cut it even on the elk, like I said before, we don't cut it with beef. But a lot of people will add like either pork fat or they'll add beef fat because the fat helps as a binder to keep the meat together, but also to add moisture because if you do overcook it, it gets super dry.
But. On Ven Burger, it'll fall apart. If you're grilling, that's, it's gonna be falling through your grates. Yep. Yes. One of the things, yeah. One of the things that you can do is[01:02:00] like our grill if you wanna two different schools of thought. So in a pan searing process, I love butter and a lot of times people mess with it too much.
It's a set it and forget it because if you're, if you put it down and then you're constantly trying to, mess with it, I have a saying and it's food talks to you. If it's not coming up, it has not had that my yard caramelization happen yet. So super hot is what helps to sear and the searing aspect helps to keep it together.
But like we do our a hundred percent elk burgers on the grill and it's literally high heat. Set it and forget it until, like one of the tricks that we always did even at the steakhouse is if you start to see blood coming out the top [01:03:00] before you flipped it, that's like where you're getting into that medium stage.
So depending on how you like your burger, I like a little medium, rare to medium. On my burgers. You definitely don't wanna get more when it's game and the secret is super hot, set it and forget it until it's releasing easily. So you might have to have a scenario depending on where your flames on your grill is, how close it is.
You might not want it to have it like right there because you need to have some time for that. My yard. And my art is just that browning, that's what it's called when it browns and caramelizes on your protein and on your grill marks. So I would say having it overheat, but more so preheat that grill, have it clean before you put that game on it.
And then in the pan again[01:04:00] I love to do butter in a pan and sear it, set it and forget it. Do not touch it. Don't wiggle the pan. Don't try and move it around cuz that breaks it apart before it's had the chance to caramelize on the bottom. And then if you are still having problems, one of the great things that you can do with game is if it's a hundred percent pure and you haven't cut it with beef, add an egg.
It's you're making meatloaf, but you're not just whip up an egg and add that to your ground burger and season. Here's a secret season, the burger before you make your patties, like I like to lay out your burger meat. Say you've got a family of four or five or whatever.
So you've got two pounds of burger. Flatten it out a little bit and do a good layer of seasoning and then mix it together before you form your patty and you've got flavor again throughout instead of just on the top. Got it.
Heath Hyatt: All right. Yeah, I can do that. [01:05:00] I can now Are you flipping the burger or are you leaving it?
Chef Shelly: Am I what? Are you flipping it? Oh yeah. Okay. Yeah. Okay. We'll flip it, but you need at least that was that Appalachian accent. I didn't, yeah I do, I flip it, but it'll be at least two to three minutes before you get that my yard. And then flip it. And do the same thing on the other side.
Heath Hyatt: Okay. This, I love it. I'm like, food is my weakness. Like I love to eat my, my great grandparents, my, my mom, like food is, I love food. I could eat all the time, which is probably, I need to cut back on a little bit. But anyway,
Chef Shelly: It's the great equalizer and when you cook for somebody else, you're showing love and care.
And when you do that with something that you harvested, that level of care that you're giving to your family is just super [01:06:00] special. And like I said before, this is the original organic, you can't get more pure That's right than wild game. And it's another reason why I love it, but it's also.
It just takes techniques and if you think about lean protein techniques, you've got it down. That's right. Get creative.
Heath Hyatt: I can't thank you enough. I'm honored to have you on here. It's, you've already given me some tips that I'm gonna work on. So if guys and girls that are listening, if they want to look you up where do they go to look you, I know you're on Carbon tv, where, how do they look you up?
Chef Shelly: Thank you. And this has been such a pleasure and honor and I'm so glad to do this with you. I, my social media is Chef Meyer. And that's Facebook and Instagram. I am Shelly's Game Kitchen on Carbon tv, which is a completely free app. If you're not familiar with carbon tv, I. You need to get familiar.
It is so cool. There's so many, like 250 plus shows [01:07:00] on there with, and it's all outdoor content, so it's our type of people and our type of shows and I'm just one of 'em, lucky enough to be on there. I've got two seasons on there, so I think probably 24 episodes up and then I'm getting ready to start filming season three.
But you can download Carbon TV onto any smart TV or device and watch it for free. Just like you download Netflix, you can download carbon but it's free. And then I also am on kit.com and I will be, Doing new episodes and streaming live on kit once a month. And then also putting up other content usually on Thursdays.
So you can catch me at kitch.com/shelly-meyer and carbon tv is carbon tv.com/shows/ shelly's dash game dash kitchen. And then social media, like I said, chef Shelly Meyer, follow me on Instagram and I share recipes and so forth. And that's the other thing. I am working on a cookbook, [01:08:00] so I would love to hear back from the viewers.
I, I'm thinking about doing a cookbook and I was gonna do not just wild game, but also just my favorites from my restaurant days and before we had the restaurant we catered and stuff like that. So some of those, if you got a big party recipes of, we do Pig will roast a pig and have the whole neighborhood and friends come over.
So a lot of the questions I get is how do you figure out portions so you don't have waste? So I can share some of those secrets, but I'd love to know if people would like a just wild game cookbook or if they'd like a little bit of everything. Mostly cuz like I, I told when I was interviewing for my kits channel Shelly's Montana table, I said, I'm a lot wild and a little bit tame.
A cookbook that's more on that inspired is what I'm thinking. But I'd love to hear feedback.
Heath Hyatt: All right. Thank you for taking the time outta your day to help us with us after the harvest and things we can do with [01:09:00] the wild game. I think it's very important. Like I said, it's it's instilled in us, in our family that if you harvest an animal that you're harvest us to, to provide for the family.
I think our views are so in line and like I said, that's I think we should be preaching out to everybody honestly. So I appreciate your time. I appreciate you coming on and helping us and this has been a pleasure to do
Chef Shelly: this. Thank you. It's been my pleasure. So fun to talk with you Heath.
Thank you for having me.
Heath Hyatt: Yes. So thank you for helping us teach, train, and learn Chef Shelley. Perfect. Thank you.