Harvest Preservation & Wild Hogs w/ Jesse Griffiths

Show Notes

On this episode of Huntavore, Nick is joined by Jesse Griffiths; Author, Restaurant owner, and champion of local eating.  This episode jumps right into seasonal food preparation, and of course we pick the brain of the author who wrote The Hog Book on how Nick can keep enjoying his wild hogs.  A lot to harvest and hold onto on this episode of Huntavore.

Nick had the pleasure of digitally sitting down with Jesse to talk about seasonal foods and Wild Hogs.  In Texas, seasonality is key.  When it’s in season and growing, take advantage.  When the season is over and the heat of summer comes, those precious produce or proteins will be drying up.  He talks about his restaurant, Dai Due and how when farmers are producing, that is the time to bring in the great produce, and then to spread the love, preserving that bounty is key.  Pickling, drying, freezing, you name it.  Meat is similar in that Jesse’s menu will adapt to what the rancher has available.  That nose to tail doesn’t have to stay in the house, but nose to tail can extend to the entire community.  To finish up, Nick does want to talk wild pigs.  Jesse explains like it that pigs are so variable from one pig to the next, and even season to season.  No water, limited food and graze, the product at that point will be gamey. When the rains come and forage blossoms, that’s when hogs can be their tastiest.
Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Show Sponsors:

Tappecue Meat Probes

Instagram: @tappecue

Website: https://bit.ly/2NIr0Xj

Coupon Code 10% off: HUNT10

Umai Dry

Instagram: @umaidry

Website: bit.ly/3WhfnnX

Sign up for the newsletter for 10% off

Show Transcript

Nick Otto: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Hunt of War podcast, powered by Sportsman's Empire, where we celebrate the hunting and fishing lifestyle through the utilization and consumption of our wild game. No egos forking hand, beer in the other, no status, a piece of red meat on a hot grill, and turn it into a burn offering. Just catch it, cut it, cook it.

This is episode 1 27, Jesse Griffiths, harvest Preservation and Wild Hawks. On this episode of Hunt Devo, Nick is joined by Jesse Griffiths, author, restaurant owner, and champion of local eating. This episode jumps right into seasonal food preparation and preservation, [00:01:00] so heads up, gardeners, and of course we're gonna pick the brain of the author who wrote the hog book.

Nick is going to keep enjoying his wild hogs and Jesse's gonna help him with a few tips, a lot to harvest and hold onto on this episode of Hunt Ofor. Well, hey folks, another beautiful afternoon here in Michigan coming at you. Uh, yeah, we're recording on a Tuesday, but it is definitely a Thursday that you are here in this.

That's my who home here on the Sportsman's Empire is on Thursday, so thirsty Thursday. Um, Normally I would have something really nice going on a Thursday, but since it's Tuesday, I've got sparkling water. But, uh, I had a sour this past weekend and I tell you, if anything hits the spot for me during the middle of summer through, in that hot wave through in a heat wave, I'm definitely gonna want to go [00:02:00] with a sour beer.

I had a coconut strawberry this past weekend, and man, I'm still thinking about pulling that off the tap. That was such a good one out of a local brewery. Um, today we have a huge guest, someone who is a culinary mastermind. He is a James Beard Award-winning author and has just a huge following down in the southern part of the United States.

I'm joined with Jesse Griffiths today. Jesse, thank you so much for coming on this afternoon. Uh, I forgot to ask if you, uh, also like to, to drink a cocktail here and then, um, what, what's a great summer treat that you would be looking forward to as far as a cocktail?

Jesse Griffiths: A as far as a cocktail? Hmm. I mean, in my part of the world, that's a margarita or, or one of the variations, uh, upon a margarita probably made with [00:03:00] mezcal or something, but, uh, yeah, I think it's some lime juice, some ice, some salt, and some super strong booze from the desert.

Sounds pretty good. Excellent. Excellent.

Nick Otto: I think, yeah, like as far as summer goes, a good margarita, well, for you guys, it's warm all the time, so a margarita fits any time. Um,

Jesse Griffiths: it's, it's generally appropriate here. Yeah. But it's, it's especially warm here right now. I don't, I don't really appreciate you talking about how nice it is up there cuz it's, it's terrible here.

It's terrible. It's, it's kind of hellish out there right now. I think we're, we're hitting 1 0 8 today with some extreme humidity, so, um, I'm not gonna go and do anything outdoors.

Nick Otto: Sounds good. Not even, uh, a shady porch will do it. Yeah. You were talking about the temps and the conditions down there. 1 0 8.

Oh, I, yeah. Here in the north. We can't imagine that I can share with you the humidity, but as far as that we were, we are not touching the temperatures that you guys [00:04:00] are, uh, are doing. And so yeah, you're telling me like, just hunker down inside, that's pretty much what you guys can do this time of year. Um, or you're writing menus probably for your, uh, for your restaurant ddue.

Is your, did I say that correctly or I already screwed it up, didn't I?

Jesse Griffiths: That is pretty close. It's die. Just die. Ddue.

Nick Otto: Yeah. Ddue. Um, that is a restaurant, uh, that you yourself have started and that's been on my list. Uh, that if I do get in that neck of the woods, I have to come down. Um, I touched Texas this past spring.

I went on a hog hunt in Oklahoma. We will get into that here in just a little bit, but I was still a good five hours from even getting a chance to come and, uh, be at your restaurant. I'm sure a lot of people have heard of, of your place where you do your work there. [00:05:00] It's, it focuses a lot on items, or excuse me, or ingredients that you are finding locally.

And that is a thing that I was really excited about when I first was getting into, uh, getting into food was. Being able to find stuff locally grown, being able to find stuff that my neighbors, my neighboring ranchers, they were raising, uh, cattle or poultry or whatever it may be. And we've given the term locavore to that, that whole style of, of basically trying to acquire food.

And you've done that with your restaurant where you are finding everything that you can down there in South Texas. And granted, um, south Texas is a cornucopia of amazing things that you can find. How has, how has that influenced your style of cooking? Or should I say, has that been something you've always been excited about as [00:06:00] far as being someone who's bringing that locavore mindset to your restaurant?

Jesse Griffiths: Well, I've, I've been fascinating with fascinated with, uh, with sourcing. Locally, uh, for a long time. I mean, to say that it's any kind of novel idea would be would be kind of silly cuz it's probably one of the oldest ideas, if not the oldest. It's definitely one of the top two oldest ideas ever. Um, it's just eating what you can find around you.

The next would be probably procreation. Um, so I, I think that, I mean, it's been so long that, that we've been operating the restaurant or the business that it just feels kind of natural at this point. Uh, so, uh, DUI started in 2006, so we're in year 17 of operations at this point. Uh, opened the restaurant, the brick and mortar restaurant in 2014.

So we're coming up on our next year, be our 10th anniversary there. And so, you know, sourcing everything [00:07:00] like that just feels, like I said, pretty natural at this point. It's also gotten a lot easier in that say 2006, there's a couple little ragtag farmer's markets. Uh, selling a few things here and there, and getting a chicken was very difficult.

Uh, you know, I had to drive to a farm and talk to a guy and, you know, it was, it was, it was really much more, uh, much harder than it is now where there's a lot of like aggregators and middlemen that, that do all kinds of deliveries and, and make it a lot easier to source local food. So if I need a chicken, I can probably have 80 to a hundred chickens at the restaurant tomorrow at this point.

Um, there's also a lot more farms they've really proliferated and just the, the whole system has kind of come up, uh, at the same rate and during the same time period that we have. So it's, it's a lot easier now. Um, but we are very strict about it. Like if you come in. I always like to put it in the context of iced tea, which is, uh, I don't know [00:08:00] culturally what kind of weight iced tea has up there, but here it's a big deal.

Unsweet. But

Nick Otto: here and there,

Jesse Griffiths: uh, yeah, that we, yeah, we don't, we don't mess. Well, we kind of mess with that. But anyway, uh, so our tea is made out of Yon, uh, which is a, uh, like, I wouldn't say invasive, but it's a, it's just very widespread, almost weedy bush that grows in central Texas. And so it's the only native plant in North America that contains caffeine.

And so that's, that's what we make our tea out of, uh, for our iced tea. So if you order iced tea, that's what you're getting. You're not getting tea from, you know, maybe North America, but probably Asia. Uh, so you're getting it locally sourced tea. And then if you need a lemon with it, we can help you out.

Maybe three months out of the year we'll have limits. Um, and in some years we just won't. Uh, we've had some really bad ice storms in the past two years, um, down here that have been pretty devastating. Uh, in general. I [00:09:00] mean, they've, they've, they've destroyed, uh, anything from agriculture to infrastructure.

Uh, so, uh, things like that will really affect the menu as well. So, like, uh, iced tea with a lemon, which might be some seemingly very simple order is, is not really that simple, uh, at this, at this place. So, um, but I think it's really fun to operate like that, whereas like you're very limited by things a lot.

And so it's, there are some challenges, but once you get into the routine and know what's coming up and what's in season, um, it gets to be a lot easier. I mean, I think I, I annoy a lot of farmers and, and people that sell us produce, cuz I'm usually like four days. Before the blueberries are ready, I'm like, Hey, what's up with blueberries?

Where are they? And they're like, literally coming in like two days from now. They're like, we, we will have 'em. You know? But I mean, but I'm, I've gotten to get, or, or am able to be more tuned in, uh, specifically to when all these things happen and we know how much to buy and we know how to preserve, you [00:10:00] know?

So in the case of blueberries, you know, you wanna, you want to pickle 'em, you wanna make jam, you wanna dry 'em, you wanna freeze them, um, in bulk, you know, when they're at their peak. In order to have that. Uh, for the rest of the year or for at least part of the year, because there's gonna be a time here in Texas where there is no fruit, you know?

And that time is usually like, um, early spring, late winter, uh, you have the, the dredges of, of citrus and maybe a couple strawberries poking up here and there. But your pastry chef is gonna be like, what, what do I do? What do I make? And I'm like, Hey, you should have frozen more blueberries, I guess. Um, so it's, it's kind of a, it's a puzzle.

But it's a really fun puzzle to put together, and that applies to everything. You know, there's, you know, you'll see the quality of beef change throughout the year, or if we get in a a lot of rain, you'll start to see some more fat put on from, from the cattle. And, uh, you'll all, all kinds of things can influence.

You know, a hurricane can [00:11:00] hit the, the coast and then, you know, we're, we're struggling to get crabs and, and black drum, or the winds are too much and so we can't get fish. Uh, things like that. So we're constantly dealing with it, but, uh, like I said, it's really fun, but what it really boils down to is communication with the customer and being like, Hey, this is what we do and this is why we have what we have.

But we can usually put together a pretty robust menu these days based on what's available, because there just is more available and it's a really great thing to see is that there's just more business and entrepreneurship out there oriented around food, be it, uh, you know, people fishing in the gulf. New farms popping up, uh, dairies, cheese, things like that.

So it's, it's very promising. I think

Nick Otto: that is, that is, and I love the fact that it really is, you know, just you communicating that about your restaurant, that, listen, my menu is based upon what is [00:12:00] literally happening today, tomorrow, and next week. I'm literally ebbing and flowing with the environment, with the conditions that we are getting.

Yeah, those massive ice storms that you guys had, I can't even imagine what that would do to a citrus crop. I mean, just devastate that all the way out. And so simple desserts, like you'd think like, Hey, just a, a lemon meringue pie has become commonplace, but like, no, no, you don't get it. We didn't grow, we didn't have a lemon crop, so we don't have lemon meringue pie.

And that's just to think about that as not only as a restaurant, but even as a someone at home. To not be able, I mean, yeah, we've got grocery stores and big box sport stores that can get things from, from every area, but to really live locally on your local ingredients can put that, it turns checkers into chess.

Essentially. You gotta be thinking four or five moves, uh, ahead. Is that half of your c [00:13:00] your, your staff then, is that half of their puzzle as well is, Hey guys, we just had a big, or there was a big order of blueberries, like you were just saying, and I ordered double just to make sure that we have 'em, they look great.

We ordered double. Now we're gonna preserve half of these. Is that what your restaurant staff, is that what you as a Kitchener thinking, like how do we make these products la Or how do we make these produce last longer? How can we find ways to use them? Is it gonna be into syrups? Is it gonna be into desserts?

Yeah. And like what, what would be some Absolutely. Of the questions you're asking.

Jesse Griffiths: Well, I mean, right now is a, is a key time because this is preservation season. It's also, it always coincides with our slowest time of year because everybody's on vacation. We're, you know, we're in Austin, so we're in one of the biggest college towns in the country.

And so, you know, around summer the city kind of empties out. It's also very hot. People don't love to eat when it's really super screaming hot. Uh, [00:14:00] and so it gets really slow, but that coincides with peppers and tomatoes and garlic coming into season. And all these things, um, have not a short season, but they, they need to be purchased at their peak and they need to be preserved.

Cuz you know, we need to make, um, you know, dozens of pounds of paprika. So we are buying hundreds of pounds of ripe red Hungarian chilies from one farm, drying them, smoking them. And then turning them into a powder. And so that takes a lot of time. And so luckily, you know, we're not as busy serving customers, so our staff kind of pivots to this preservation, cucumbers, you know, we need to make all of our pickles for the entire year.

And this, this is not a fancy restaurant either, so we're making pickles for burgers. You know, we we're, we serve a ton of cheeseburgers. And so all of the, all of the dill pickles that go on each one of those burgers in December, January, February, [00:15:00] March, April, may, June, need to be produced right now. Um, and if we run out, we're in big trouble, cuz we won't, we won't source 'em from elsewhere.

So we have to make sure. And so there are literal, we don't call them trash cans, but let's face it, that's kind of what they are. They, they're very large, um, plastic receptacles with lids and they're on wheels and they live in our walk-in. Cool. And they, I mean they're massive at 50 gallon and they're all full of things like uh, bread and butter, pickles.

Still pickles, sauerkraut, things like that. And at the same time we are, um, drying, pickling, and preserving and canning tomatoes cuz uh, you know, as soon as the first tomato crop and we'll have two here in Texas. So we'll have a, a one that's peaking about right now, and then it'll start to fade. And then we'll have a fall crop that usually comes in September, October.

Uh, and so, or oriented around those peaks when farmers have too many tomatoes and the price goes down, that's when we start to buy a lot of tomatoes [00:16:00] and start to can those, uh, so that we have tomatoes to make, you know, whatever it is we need for the rest of the year. And so, yeah, everybody just kind of, um, you know, still is working.

Uh, you know, we're not serving as many customers right now, but we are still in the process of preserving anything that we can.

Nick Otto: Wow. Wow. Yeah, I would definitely be one of those staff members. You'd have to kick outta the cooler at least once a day, cuz I am a, uh, dill pickle fan. And you would just have me dipping pickles on the edge jar at different stages of salinity.

I'm just checking, just checking to see how they're working, how they're coming along. That's fascinating cuz I think of just even like our August rush, everybody's, uh, in like early September, August and early September, everybody's gardens are blowing up here in Michigan and we are just inundated and, you know, people are giving away tomatoes, they're giving away zucchini.

And it's, it's that moment that they thought about preservation too late. [00:17:00] It's like we haven't got that part where we're, we're thinking ahead or at least people early on in gardening haven't quite thought ahead. I've got, I got a couple friends who are just avid canners and they, they just know that that season's coming up so they just keep accruing more and more, uh, jars.

Yeah. But yeah, it always seems to catch up with a lot of people, like, shoot, just get rid of this bounty. But in the situation that you're in, you've really had to be able to think ahead and say, Hey, I'm thinking of menu down the way I, I want in these ingredients. So we have to be super proactive about that.

Transitioning it a little into your protein as well. And kind of going along with that whole preservation thing of, you know, and again, getting things local is the idea of like a nose to tail. Um, I know restaurants in, uh, in here in Michigan, they've really put that as a, again, like you said, it's, it shouldn't be trendy, but you're finding in some of these larger cities that it, it is a trendy thing to be eating nose to [00:18:00] Dale.

People are getting cuts and they're eating cuts of, of beef or of lamb or of chicken that they normally don't get a ha uh, ever to have. And they're really kind of getting the nuance. Of the animal, they're really starting to explore more about, well, when I think of beef, I think of, you know, burgers and uh, a sirloin steak, or I'm thinking of a ribeye steak.

But a, a cow or a beef is far more diverse than just those cuts. People are now looking at the chuck as something desirable and as home, as home cooks now, or even guys that are out at the barbecue, like brisket has gone from one of those pieces that we couldn't figure out how to use it to now they can't figure out where to find one cuz they're all bought up.

Everybody wants to be able to get ahold of brisket. How are you approaching protein in that way? Where are you also presenting different cuts and maybe introducing organ meat to customers just because [00:19:00] this is what you have

Jesse Griffiths: available? Yeah, it's a great question. And then yes and no. I mean, really we, we only buy.

Uh, three cuts of beef. You know, we used to try to bring in, um, halves or quarters. Uh, we just couldn't make it work. It wasn't, it wasn't viable. And then another thing that we realized, one thing that's really important, I think, is your relationship with farmers and ranchers and, and doing things that they need you to do as well.

And so it, it turns out that, you know, the way that we buy our pork and our beef, um, suits our ranchers really well too, because we will buy mostly halves of hogs, but sometimes we get a little backed up because we need, we need the bacon and the chops the most. We need that middle section more than we need the shoulders.

And luckily there's another guy in town who does barbecue. He takes all the shoulders. And so we're not literally buying whole animals all the time. I'd say the one animal that we [00:20:00] use extensively is the chicken. Uh, we, we, you know, the, the hearts, uh, we always have chicken hearts on our menu. We always have livers on the menu.

And, um, you know, we sell, we sell a lot of fried chicken only on Sundays though, but so we, we do like, it's a half of a chicken and it's a small chicken, and we're really selective about that. Um, you know, and beef, you know, we're, it's all, it's just all the hits, you know. It is, it's just the ribeye and the chuck, uh, which we age and then grind, and then we make pastrami out of briskets.

So not really anything like super sexy happening as far as, as on the, on the butcher side, feral hogs. How we will, uh, we take, we buy a lot of trim, uh, from the processor, so he's just taking the entire animals down. And then we also buy a lot of carcasses and at which point we. If we can get some consistency out of 'em, which is key.

I'm sure I, I have a feeling you're gonna want to talk about wild pigs at some point. Um, [00:21:00] it's typically, uh, it's typically a topic that's presented to me so we can circle back to that. But as we also use a lot of, of whole carcass. Uh, feral hogs. Um, and right now we're buying a lot of, uh, venison legs, um, because that, that kind of suits our current needs.

Um, but in all these cases, it really kind of comes down to what is the, what does the producer need, you know, what, what's best for them? And we work with them and they're like, yeah, well, you know, they've got a, a burger place, like a burger specific place that's buying up most of the animal for grind. And so we can take those rib eyes, you know, and it does help out.

Um, or in the case of our, our domestic pork, you know, it's, it's great for us to take basically the back two thirds of most of those animals and leave those shoulders cuz then it also gives him another customer, another price point, gets his name out there a little bit more and it gets that great quality pork out into the market too.

Which, I mean, our, our pork producers just [00:22:00] impeccable. He is, is the best pork I've ever had. And so I like to see it kind of spread out amongst other restaurants too. And so we're not taking the whole animal most of the time. Sometimes we will, um, you know, we, we do a lot with pork, liver, things like that.

We make boot in. It's a, it's a brunch staple, uh, for us as, you know, the liver sausage and things like that. But, you know, I don't know. I, I think that, um, that the assumption might be that we are just bringing in whole carcasses and just breaking them down. But from a restaurant standpoint, that's quite difficult to make it work.

Because if you think about it, like if you've got a foot race and the, the rib eye and the burger, then you need 'em to finish at the same exact time. Uh, you know, if you, if if the ribeye, if you're out of the, the, the 20 ribeye that you're gonna get off of that, that animal, then you, you've gotta sell 1000 burgers in the same amount of time.

It's not gonna happen. And so then what do you do? You just don't add rib eyes. [00:23:00] So that's why these, these, you know, markets and cuts are set up and, and as these producers get better at distribution and selling and, and, and diversifying what they have, you know, it's become easier to just go in and order

Nick Otto: the cuts.

That is a unique perspective that I didn't even anticipate. You even thinking of the needs and wants of surrounding restaurants and surrounding businesses. You mentioned your burger guy, your burger place down the way that they are gonna be looking for a lot of the small, or, you know, they're just gonna be grinding everything.

So you taking on the, the yoke of burden of saying, fine, I'll take the rib eyes that, uh, that's awful, awful nice of you, but to even like, But that in that perspective, the producer's like, Hey, I have a spot where all of these cuts are going. I don't have to try and hold a, a few cuts for somebody. I am gonna be able to then sell that whole cattle, that [00:24:00] whole cow based upon the, the three restaurants that I have here.

So that is a wonderful perspective that even if you are going to be, you know, you know, this is a business that's using local items, but even as someone who is living at home, how can I help out that nor neighboring rancher? You know, maybe it's, I've got friends that really, that all they wanna do is burgers and so they're gonna get that burger end and then I'm gonna be able to take more of the steaks and roasts, and at that point we can buy a whole cow rather than have to have the farmer half it or quarter it.

That's just a perspective that I, I had, I didn't even anticipate seeing. So that's very intuitive. That's very

Jesse Griffiths: cool. Yeah, I think it's, you know, also these relationships are, they're very long term. And so we have a lot of communication with our ranchers, and every once in a while it'll come out and be like, Hey, listen, I've got a pallet of this cut left over.

Or, you know, we had this batch of sows that got too big, and so [00:25:00] these loins aren't great. We couldn't sell 'em to you for this reason, but now we're backed up on that. You know, we have several hundred pounds of these, of these loins. Maybe they're too fat, maybe they're too lean, maybe this or that. And so we know they're there and then they can come to us and then we're like, oh, hey, we can help out with that.

You know? And so it's, it's just for me, it's just relationships and having good relationships with these producers. And, you know, we, we've, we've had, you know, this, uh, relationship, you know, buying and selling with many of these people for over 10 years. And so it's, it's just good to have that communication.

And then every once in a while they know what if, if they need to move something they can do. I think that like for a home cook or somebody that's at the farmer's market or dealing directly with a farmer or a rancher or any kind of producers, like if you, if you go to them and, and they're like, Hey, this cut, you might not have heard of it.

You know, it's like this, you know, let's just say short ribs. You've heard of short ribs, but let's say, you know, it's something that's not moving, you know, [00:26:00] like the rib eyes and the ground is, and then a lot of times that's the most helpful thing you can do is just explore with them. Because, you know, a farmer's market producer might be on a much smaller scale where they're, they're dealing with one or two animals a month, and then they can really get backed up on those off cuts.

And so it might really help to go to them and educate yourself on how to cook 'em. Um, and, you know, just try to learn, you know, how can I help out in that way? I mean, it's gonna be great meat, you know, so, you know that, you know, it's just like, and it's a nice challenge. So I'd say that like, and, and, and, Situation like that, it could be a little different.

You know, we're dealing with like medium-sized producers that are, that are, you know, they're killing a few animals a week, you know, and so we, we have the luxury of saying, yeah, we'll just take, you know, half of those ribeye every week. You know,

Nick Otto: you also were alluding to an idea that, you know, as you were creating your menu and bringing in different things, you mentioned a, the wild hog, um, but then you also mentioned that, uh, you were getting venison legs in, [00:27:00] um, and I, and I know in Texas there's, there's a whole series of things that are going on down there that I think are probably unique, uh, in the country as far as being able to get wild animals into a, a restaurant.

I know for me to be able to shoot a deer and then somehow be able to get that deer into a restaurant isn't going to be very easy in Texas. And I, I'm not sure how, how into it you are with either the FDA regulations or even, um, Um, how these producers are working as far as, uh, animals on their facilities.

But you seem to have found a way to be able to get wild hog and to get venison into your restaurant. How, how is that able to happen?

Jesse Griffiths: Yeah, I mean, it's, um, yeah, I have to be very clear about that because our laws aren't that different than yours. Um, so let's just, let's just say in the case of a whitetail, [00:28:00] so white tail's a protected game animal here in Texas, so we're not serving whitetail ever.

Um, if it was farmed, uh, I, there, there would be a way around that, but we don't, we don't even deal with that. So when I say venison, I'm usually talking about, uh, an introduced species or an exotic, uh, which there's plenty of here in Texas, there's, and that's a very convoluted, uh, Conversation as well about, about what is, what is wild, what is native, what is high fence, what is low fence, and so forth.

But I, I'd say that the, there's three species that we really focus on in the restaurant. That's the axis, A deer, the N guy, antelope, and the feral hog. And I'll just kind of go through that one at a time. So the axis, uh, you know, came over from India and has really proliferated in central Texas. I mean, to the point where you're, you might see a few of them while you're just driving around, like in certain parts of the state.

Um, to the west of Austin [00:29:00] especially. Um, it's a very, uh, very, uh, wealthy area. There's a couple counties out there that have like pretty, pretty high income, lot of ranches and stuff like that. And so these animals are, are somewhat protected by that, uh, by that, that situation in that, in that they are able to, uh, Kind of just be, be safe out there.

I mean, they're hunted a little bit, but they've, they've managed, they've managed to create their own populations and they're thriving in, in one way or the other. The NGA also, uh, you know, came over from India, uh, and that lives kind of on the coastal part of south Texas, basically Corpus Christi, which is about halfway down the coast, all the way down to the border with Mexico and the N guy, uh, lived down there.

And they're these very large antelope and we get a lot of those in as well. So those are mostly coming off of really large ranches also. [00:30:00] Um, and both of these animals, Uh, are exotics, uh, non-natives, and so they can be harvested 24 7, 365. Um, you know, they can be hunted at night. Uh, there is no limit on them, and so they can be taken, um, in a couple of different ways.

Um, we buy a lot of meat through a company called Broken Arrow Ranch, which distributes all over the country. Like you'll see restaurants in Chicago that are serving Broken Arrow Ranch Meats, um, New York, Hawaii, everywhere. I mean, they're, they are all over the place. It's a very, very high quality, high end operation.

So they'll go in and they will either shoot or capture with net guns, things like that. Um, uh, these animals, and then they have this very, uh, I'd say modern approach to processing them in the field. But they have, uh, trailers and in and inspectors. They have U S D A inspectors on site with them. That are making sure that everything is done [00:31:00] properly and chilled.

And they'll go and they'll kill 80 nil guy in a day and then bring them back to their processing center in central Texas and then age butcher and then distribute from there. And so they do that with both Axis and ngi. So the Axis kind of coming from our west and the N guy coming from our south. And so we're able to, I'm, I mean, I can place an order before 3:00 PM, uh, for access or ngi and have it, uh, at the restaurant the next morning, uh, because their operation is just so slick.

It's really cool. Um, so pretty much any cut. And so we buy tons of trim from them for sausage. Our breakfast sausage is made out of ngi. We also buy whole legs that we age, uh, and serve as tartar, uh, things like that. And we also do a N Guy steak. Uh, we have one on the menu all the time. So, Uh, just to be clear, yeah, no white tail, but we do these exotics.

There's a few reasons, uh, that I, I like the exotics. [00:32:00] First off is they're invasive. You know, they're competing with natives. Um, the access in particular can, can be highly competitive with white tail. People will tell you kind of different things about how, how bad it is, but you are really seeing a lot more axis out there.

And they're big. I mean, a big axis. Uh, a big male axis can be over 200 pounds easily, which, uh, for a. Uh, compared to a hill country deer, um, you know, a a central Texas deer is, is twice as big, you know. So our, our deer in central Texas are quite small, but our axis are quite large. Uh, so yeah, a hundred, a hundred to 120 pound, uh, white tail buck would be kind of large in, in a lot of this state.

Um, and we have, I believe, one of the highest populations of whitetail in the world, in central Texas. They're everywhere. Um, and then the no guy can get up to 4, [00:33:00] 5, 600 pounds. They're very big. They're elk sized. Um, and both these animals, you know, are pretty competitive, uh, with natives. And they're, they're also, like I said, they're invasives, so we need to control their populations.

They also tend to eat, Very well, very organically, which is another thing that I'm looking for is, you know, I want as close to a wild game situation as possible. I want like a native diet, um, you know, I want an unadulterated diet, uh, for these animals. And so with those two species, we're really able to achieve that.

Um, and then the third would be the feral hog. So that's a different situation there. So it's a, it's classified as a swine. Uh, so it's, it's a pig and therefore it's, has a little more strict regulations around it. So they have to be brought in, into a processor and killed live. So they're, they're generally trapped?

Not generally. They're always trapped. Uh, and different, kind, [00:34:00] different styles of traps. Um, right now, the, the trap that's in favor is that larger trap. It might be 30, 40, 50 feet in diameter and have a, a cell phone activated gate on it. With cameras, things like that where you're trying to trap the entire sounder, the entire family group of hogs.

And so, uh, people will bring in these hogs, these um, usually it's a trapper, maybe they only trap hogs or maybe it's a side gig, whatever. So they'll bring 'em into the processor and at that point they are inspected before they're killed and after they're killed. Um, and since the hogs that we're buying specifically from our processor out in the hill country, they're not leaving state lines.

They're just inspected by the state of Texas. Uh, and so we will get a carcass in that has a blue Texas stamp, or will buy lots and lots of trim, things like that. Cause you don't know what size, uh, a hog will be. That's the thing is, you know, [00:35:00] I can't really just like get on the phone and be like, Hey, bring me 4 75 pound.

Carcasses and make sure they're nice and fat too, because that's, I mean, you might get two that are 20 pounds, one that's, uh, 120 pounds and one that's 350. And they might all have completely different fat contents. They might come out of the same litter, they might be siblings and look totally different.

Uh, so hogs are, you know, they're, they're, they're kind of difficult to work with in a, I'm not gonna say difficult. They're challenged to work with a fun challenge to work with in a restaurant situation in that they are all so independently unique. Uh, you never know what they're gonna look like in the summer.

They're gonna be really lean. It's also very hard to trap 'em in the summer cuz they're, they do not tolerate heat. Uh, so a lot of trappers do not like to operate right now. Um, and if they do, they need to check their traps within the first hour of daylight, otherwise the hogs are [00:36:00] gonna die. Um, because they're mostly not, they're almost completely nocturnal at this time.

And so they have to be, uh, those traps need to be checked and those animals need to be brought in before that heat kicks in. Uh, cuz it'll kill 'em. And nobody wants that. You know, obviously want to kill him, but we want to eat 'em too. So, uh, you know, and also I think there's some ethical issues there. You know, we don't want 'em to suffer, uh, um, in an undue way, you know, so it's kind of a two, two different pathways to get 'em into the restaurant.

You, you're, your venison, your antelope coming through relatively simple, uh, almost like a hunting situation, like a, like a supervised chaperoned hunting, uh, you know, with the inspector on site. And then the, the hogs that have to be brought in trapped. And once they get to us, they're fully inspected and they're ready to be served.

However we deemed fit.

Nick Otto: When in the field, accuracy and precision count, that's why we switch our slug guns to rifle barrels, [00:37:00] tune our arrows and use a fish finder on the water. But why should our drive for control end there? The tapu line of meat probes gives an instantaneous look at the temperatures of our prized meals, both internal and the cooking chamber.

Tap IQ uses sturdy hardware made and assembled here in the US along with their user-friendly, sophisticated software that connects to your smart device, whether it's a traditional corded probe or the new cordless air probes that give you a wealth of freedom where wires would just get in the way.

Adding a TAP IQ meat probe can significantly help in getting to that medium rare on venison or waterfowl, ensuring your upland bird stays moist or even charting your long cooks on a smoker. Visit tap iq.com or find the link in the show notes and use the code Hunt. 10 all uppercase at checkout to save 10%.

Adding a probe to your kit can make you one tap away from your kit.[00:38:00]

Dry age steaks used to be a steakhouse only indulgence. An old world charcuterie was pricey due to being imported or created at a small batch specific scale. Thanks to Umi Dry. Their synthetic dry aging bags and casings allow you to create these meat crafting treats in your own kitchen, working in tandem with your fridge.

The Umi dry bag material allows moisture and air to pass through, making it possible to dry age large cuts of steaks or roses, paired with their curing and seasoning kits, along with safety and easy to follow Instructions, salamis and dry sausage are well within your grasp. Use the link in the show notes and sign up from the newsletter to receive 10% off your order.

UI drive helping us elevate our wild game from the home kitchen.

Yeah, that is an excellent, um, description of, of how that happens. So thank you for that. It's, it's really neat to [00:39:00] see how different ways are, cuz that's always the big hangup, is you need to get it into, uh, a processing facility and there's gotta be that inspector, uh, that's on site. If you're gonna be U S D A, if it's gonna go anywhere, you're gonna need those two, those two things.

And so to have the mobile setup for the N guy and the access, and then at the same time to have pretty much, you know, treating the wild hog as a domestic hog and the fact that it's gonna get inspected inside that door of the facility. And it's gonna have the inspector there as well. That's just a really neat way to use a resource that you said, is it, it's a non-native and in many ways can be invasive.

Um, shoot, the one one little critter I got right near us that affects our farm quite a bit is going to be, uh, the pigeon and these pigeons find their way over into my parents, or actually my brother's, uh, grain system, and they love to just pick the grain out of the [00:40:00] Turkey, uh, outta the Turkey feet. And if I'm not there every couple weeks to pop a few of these pigeons, we're just gonna have a big, big loss of feed, um, right off the top, even before it gets to the birds.

And so it's amazing to see the, to be able to utilize something that's a, I don't wanna say a problem, but to say something that's already on the ecosystem that's competing with natives to translate that into. An amazing meal that people can enjoy. I think that that whole invasive aspect of being able to utilize it while it's here is a really neat thing to do.

Um, and yeah, specifically with the, the hogs, you're right, we are going to kind of transition over to, to the humble wild hog. I went down with a completely open mind when I went down to Oklahoma. I've, I've seen a ton of shows. I've seen all the stuff on the internet, how they're a problem. Um, I heard from close friends that, ah, you don't want to eat those because of X, [00:41:00] Y, Z or you're gonna be, if it's not castrated, you're not gonna be able to eat this, eat this hog.

And I said, I'm, I'm going down with an open mind. I want to, I want to try and taste every bit of it, just as you were saying, when I go to that farmer's market and I'm gonna get something that I normally don't get in case of that short rib. I'm gonna take it on as a challenge. I'm gonna take it on as this is gonna be a fun time to experiment, to really highlight something that isn't going to get highlighted.

My experience in Oklahoma was nothing but pleasurable when it came to getting those wild hawks. Um, yeah, I could see the damage being done on this cattle ranch. I could see when we were going out at night, I was watching large boars basically suck grain outta these troughs that was intended for calves at that point and trying to, with just a rifle [00:42:00] and at quite a bit distance at night, cuz they were, they were really tending towards the evening, uh, to come out.

These things were hardy, these things were hard to bring down. They fit into that environment so well, so adapted to what they were as in as much as I wanted to say. Again, I'm a visitor. I see them as a worthy, I don't know, adversary as opposed to something that's this, uh, this problem. But again, that's, that's me being a visitor.

When I got to break into those hogs, I was so pleasantly surprised to see the quality of pork that I was getting off of these, these hawks. It may have been a unique situation in the fact that I was getting these off of a cattle farm, that a had a lot of grains and b had a lot of grain. That they were living the life.

They were living the life essentially. They, they had places to hide. They had places to [00:43:00] eat. So they were, they weren't going anywhere. They were feeling very comfortable, and I'm sure from season to season, that's going, that's going to change. But when you approach a hog, is it going to be something like you were just saying a little bit ago?

I want you to expand on that. Is it season to season that you're gonna be looking at those hogs to highlight certain parts? If you're getting a time in where you get a bunch of lean pork, are you gonna be wanting to get, uh, some additional back fat to just immediately grind that? Or are you gonna find different ways to be able to utilize those hog those hogs differently per different seasons?

Jesse Griffiths: Yeah, I mean that's, that's kind of the big question surrounding hogs, the big issue is just, um, is how each one is like distinct from the other. You know, there's the consistency between, between hogs and I think that's also what leads people to say, oh, you can't [00:44:00] eat them. You know, make 'em broad. A sweeping com comment like that, oh, you can't eat hogs.

And it's like you can't eat any of them. You can't even eat that. That 80 pounder that's been eating acorns for four months and is fat and it's just like probably one of the most delicious things you'll ever eat. Or you can't eat the one that's been, uh, you know, Foraging on dead crabs for the last four months in South Texas, and it's a hundred percent lean and might be a little rough.

So there's two different animals, you know, and I think that, you know, you, you have everybody kind of lump 'em all together. Um, I'm fascinated by the, uh, when you say, oh, you can't eat 'em because of X, Y, Z is like, I need to know what X, Y, and Z were because, uh, I've heard, I've heard it all, I've heard every weight limit.

You can't eat 'em if they're over 80 pounds. You can't eat 'em if they're over a hundred pounds. You can't 120, 130, I mean, whatever random number you want to pick. Um, and, and I'll, I'll be the first to admit, there are some pigs out there that aren't gonna be great. You know, that's absolutely true. Uh, but [00:45:00] to write them all off is a real, real shame.

And the situation you were in while you said it was unique, it's always unique though. You know, it's like every hog hunting situation is unique and every hog is fairly unique. Like I was saying earlier is like even within one sounder, you might see a really large difference in fat content. Um, the color of the meat, things like that between even the siblings.

Um, and so. Hunting them off of a cattle operation, uh, you're like, oh, it's kind of cheating. It's like not cheating at all. I mean, basically what you're doing is you're hunting hogs exactly where they need to be hunting. It's where they're having a real drastic interference with an agricultural operation, which is like where you need to be killing these pigs.

And if the side effect is that they have access to this forage and this grain and they're putting a lot of good fat and these are super delicious hogs, then that's a great situation. So, you know, yes. You know, you're fortunate over a situation where these hogs might not have as [00:46:00] much to eat, which might change seasonally as well.

Um, but yeah, I think that every situation is pretty unique and I'm glad that you were able to kind of dip your toe in, in a place like that where, where the hogs are gonna look pretty good. So yes. I mean, seasonally, I. Uh, you can't see a lot of of change now in Texas where there's a lot of, uh, deer feeders happening.

So in October, October through February, we tend to see a lot of food being thrown on the ground here, a lot of corn, um, you know, voluntarily through deer feeding. Uh, and so they tend to start to put on a little fat at that point, and that coincides with, uh, the acorn drop. So if you're in a part of the state where there's a lot of oaks, which is most of the state here, um, you'll also see 'em start to eat a lot of that.

Um, pecans are another good, uh, source of forage for 'em, but they'll eat just about anything generally, and I'll use that word constantly when I'm talking about pigs, like generally or most of the time, or, you know, because it's, [00:47:00] there's, there's no like, real consistency to their behavior or their diet. Uh, you, you will see it kind of dip in the summer and I think the best time of year to.

Eat hogs, eat fair hogs would be late winter when they've, when they've had a chance to put on a lot of acorns. And that's if they have access to food though, because if it's a really cold, harsh winter, relatively here, then they could get a little lean too. But, um, but I think that like a lot of acorn fat, uh, is really what you're gonna look for.

So seasonally, yes, the colder months are gonna be better for hogs, the warmer months where there's, uh, generally here I go, uh, not as much food on the ground. You're gonna start to see him lean up. But, you know, I think it was a couple years ago, I had a buddy send me a picture of a hog that he'd killed and it was in July.

Uh, and he's like, look at this, look at the fat on there. And I knew kind of vaguely where he was hunting, you know, up near a, a WMA Wildlife Management area, uh, [00:48:00] north of Austin. And I, I was like, uh, you know what? I bet I know where you were. And he is like, how would you know where I was? And I'd be like, you're in that, that area around all the cornfields.

And he was like, exactly. And I was like, that's right, because that, that pig has been eating fresh corn. Uh, cuz it was, it coincided, you know, it was like early summer, so it was, you know, probably around June when corn was just popping and these pigs were just walking down the roads eating fresh corn and tons of it and looking real good because of that.

Uh, so, you know, there will be some seasonal variation, you know, like you, but also, you know, a sounder a mile away might not have access to those fields and it's still just rooting around eating blackberry roots and, and bugs or whatever eggs, you know, ground nesting birds, you know, that's gonna be on the ground right now.

Turkey eggs, quail eggs, things like that. Unfortunately, um, you know, they're gonna be eating snakes and, [00:49:00] and lizards or whatever they can get their little snouts on. So, um, it'll, it'll really vary drastically. And I think that, you know, when. It was time to literally write a book about 'em. You know, I had to come up with an approach and that's why I came up with the, the four hog approach.

You know, we have small hogs, medium hogs, large souths, large bores. Because the problem that I had been seeing, um, or hearing from people about trying to tackle hogs, but was they were asking for like one umbrella recipe or one umbrella technique and be like, Hey, what's your favorite way to cook a feral hawg?

And my question would be like, is it a seven pound piglet or is it a 300 pound boar? You know, cuz obviously one of those is gonna go on the grill and one of those is gonna be sausage. Um, so there's really no one answer for an animal [00:50:00] like that. We don't see that. Uh, to that extent in game Now, people might say, oh, I like younger squirrels versus an older squirrel because you can fry it.

I mean, there's like, there's little subtle instances where that can happen. Uh, but like with a deer, I mean, you're probably shooting a mature, a mature deer almost a hundred percent of the time. There might be a dough, it might be a buck, but it's gonna cook very similarly. It might be a little tougher if it's a ruddy buck or a bigger buck or this or that.

Like there's gonna be some nuance in there, but not like when you're hunting pigs where that you pig might be completely lean or it might have a four inch fat cap on it. Um, and it might be, like I said, it might be a 25 pound carcass. It might be a 250 pound carcass, cuz you don't know what you're gonna shoot when you go out there.

I have no idea when you, I know you killed a pig. In Oklahoma. I have no idea how big it was. Like if you, like, I killed a deer in Oklahoma, I'd be like, oh, it was probably, you know, [00:51:00] 120 pounds ish. You know, you know, I, I would, you know, be able to kind of guess, but I have no idea. You might've shot a piglet, uh, you know, you know, a five pound piglet, or you might've gotten a monster out there, you know, 350 pound pig.

Um, so that's gonna make quite a bit of a difference. And so I, I think that like trying to give people a really simple, uh, kind of starting point, uh, to, to just. Begin conceptualizing how to butcher and cook their hogs was, was key. And so, you know, when we wrote the hog book, it was, this is the, the four categories just to get you started.

Now there's gonna be some variability within that. You might find a big bore that's got an exceptional amount of fat. You might find a big, so that doesn't, uh, you know, it, it can be all over the place, but you know, we need to generalize just to get everybody started. And I think it, I think that's a good system.

Nick Otto: Yes, cuz that was gonna be my [00:52:00] follow up question that we, that I was just gonna have that here. You are now an author of a, a cookbook essentially, or a how to handle hog's book being the hog book. And you've just alluded a little bit to it, like, how do I take somebody to help educate them on, on what they need to do or what are things that they need to be looking for?

And so just as you're saying here, You know, given all of their variability that there is here, let's at least start with, like you said, the four hog method. Sounds like it's very, uh, it's focusing on the size that I'm gonna have a young piglet, I'm gonna have a mid range, uh, sow, and then I almost gonna get to, uh, you know, the, the super pig or the big pig on the end being a, a large bore.

And each of those cuts is gonna have to take, or excuse me, each of those sizes is gonna have to take a different approach to what you are hopefully gonna be able to get edible on the other side. That's a great way to help people get a look at that, [00:53:00] just based upon the variability that we've been talking about.

Um, cuz I, again, I haven't had a chance to crack. I had to buy, uh, some car parts. So that's where my, that's where my birthday money went instead of getting the hog book. So I do apologize, I have not cracked the cover yet, uh, of your book. Um, but folks, I, if you're into hogs right now, I would definitely be encouraging you to check this out.

Check out that the hog book, you said you start out with four, uh, four sizes, and then from there are you breaking down? Do you have example recipes that are in there or are you giving people a general idea of like, this is a direction that you should be looking? How did you have plan, plan to approach?

Jesse Griffiths: Yeah, well, I mean, the first part of the book is about like their history and hunting them, and then the, then basically how to field care, like, you know, if you're going to gutless method, hanging field dressing, things like that. Uh, and then we break into four distinct chapters. Um, you know, being the small hog, the medium [00:54:00] hog, the large sow, the large boar, and then following each one of those chapters are the appropriate recipes for that size with, with an appropriate butchery sequence.

So a small hog is easily broken down, you know, it's just like, you know, you just wanna cut it into large pieces. You mean you're not gonna cut chops, you're not gonna make sausage, you're not gonna do anything like that. I'm talking small, you know, like a 20 pound carcass. Um, and just how to get the most out of that more tender, uh, younger animal.

You know, a lot of like braises whole preparations, smoking 'em, whole putting 'em on a rotisserie, you know, cooking 'em in banana leaves, things like that. And then you get into that medium pig, which is, you know, kind of a more diverse array of cuts, you know, and what to do with the medium hog. And then you get into the, what I would classify as the best pig, which is the big south.

You know, they typically are larger, they have the most fat on 'em. They're in my mind like the most palatable. And you have just the best variety. [00:55:00] Uh, you can make the most cuts, you can cut chops, you can do, sometimes you can make bacon. It might be thin, but I mean, you can make technically, or what would technically be defined as bacon, you know, like smokey, fatty, salty pork.

Um, so the, a big sow, you know, and the, and the sow chapter is huge compared to the. Small pig chapter because there's just more to be done with it. And then we get into big boars and so it, then it's more stews, currys, sausage, things like that, you know, cuz I feel like there's some pigs. I'll look at 'em and I'm like, that's sausage pig.

Like every bit of that pig is going into sausage, the loins are going into the sausage. I don't care. It's like it could just be on the thin side, uh, just big. Or because it's gonna be a big boar and have a bit more of an assertive, stronger flavor that I'm gonna, I'm gonna say, Hey, we're gonna need to make smoked sausage out of this, or chorizo or something that's gonna really kind of be more compatible with the flavors of that

Nick Otto: hog [00:56:00] adapting to the gaas that's gonna be coming out from that.

That's a great approach. And I mean, just like Johnny Mercury said, fat bottom girls make the rocking world go round. I could see why the style chapter's the biggest Yes. Um, yes. We have gotten now to the crescendo of our show. We have come down to the two dish breakdown. Okay, this is it.

Jesse Griffiths: Steaks cooked, medium rare.

Can I get my steak cooked? Want no question? You hungry? Hey ma, can we get some meat? Laugh? You heard get it?

Nick Otto: So, yes, we have come to the two dish breakdown. This is where Jesse, I'm gonna give you basically two scenarios and you're gonna walk us through two dishes that you are going to make. So I might send you, uh, a nice fastball right down the [00:57:00] middle for an easy slug home run.

Or I might send you a curve ball. You just might have to be on your toes for that. Are you, are you up for

Jesse Griffiths: this challenge? Does anybody ever decline?

Nick Otto: No. Nobody ever declines.

Jesse Griffiths: Okay, now I wanna be clear. Do I do come up with two dishes from each challenge or one dish per challenge?

Nick Otto: I'm gonna give you two challenges, and you just gotta do one dish from that challenge.

Okay? So, all right. All right. The first one, uh, this one might be the curve ball. And this one might mean, again, some variability. Uh, on my hunt in Oklahoma, my listeners will know that I, I tried to bring back as much of the hog as possible. I wanted to try and get every bit of that animal from the head all the way to the skin.

I wanted to bring that back. And so I actually torched my hogs of the hair, did the best scrape job that I could muster up on my, uh, novice side. And I think I did okay. And I've been graced [00:58:00] with being able to have basically half hogs come up with skin on. I've since then butchered 'em up, but again, I've got all this, but pork, pork skin, I know that there are things called teacher owns.

I know that there are things that I can do. Okay, but I'm just, again, not quite sure how I can turn this wild, uh, wild pig skin into something edible. What would be your approach to something of using the skin?

Jesse Griffiths: The skin? Okay. Well that's a, it's a bit of a trick question because we typically don't leave the skin off.

We skin 'em. Um, it's very hard to get the skin off where basically, like when it's done in a domestic situation, you're gonna, you're gonna scald and scrape and you're gonna pull the hair out of the follicle. When you burn it, you burn the hair down to the follicle, whereas you still have hair in the follicle.

Um, and it's burnt. Uh, so not optimal in my, and I'm just being [00:59:00] honest right now. Hey, optimal. That's alright. Again, I'm so, you dunno what happened and in my, in my opinion, um, Okay. But, uh, still workable. Um, so if you just have the skin and you want to make like classic chicharone, uh, you're going to, uh, poach 'em first until they're tender.

And then you want to take those and dry 'em, uh, in the oven, like, like real low and kind of get 'em, get 'em fairly dry after that. And then you're gonna fry them at a very high temperature, probably, you know, 3 75. And that's when you're gonna get that insane puff, uh, from them. And, uh, you know, that nice crunch.

And then they can be flavored. However, from there, now, now traditionally here, uh, you know, in central and south Texas, that'll be turned into a taco. And so that those. Those kind of chewy fried, uh, rinds. And a lot of times you'll see them leave a little bit of the meat on there. Um, not like [01:00:00] scrape the, the fat and the flesh off.

You'd actually just cut them into, into pieces. Like in Louisiana, that would be a crackling, where you would have these just chunks of skin fat and meat. Uh, and then that would be stewed in lard until it got nice and crispy. So a very similar situation. So, uh, I would, you know, go kind of a similar route, uh, where you could just simply like cook those down and try to render the fat out of 'em until they're nice and crispy.

And then that would be tossed in a sauce and then put it in taco. So you'd cut 'em into like little, I mean, lardons or like, like maybe about the size of your pinky, um, pieces. And then slow cook that until the fat started to render out. You want to get the skin tender, the meat part tender, most of that fat rendered, and then eventually that'll start to become crisp, uh, as the moisture cooks out of all that.

So that's like, if you're familiar with carnitas, [01:01:00] it's a very similar process, uh, but typically done, it's just fatty pieces of meat. But for the skin, that's what I would do. And then I would toss that, uh, just at the very last minute so it doesn't get soggy. You're gonna toss that in a sauce and you know, it's gonna be red or green depending on the, the chilies in there.

So like dried red chilies or fresh green chilies, you know, onion, garlic, cilantro, things like that. A sauce. And that's gonna go on a taco and that's gonna be fantastic. Um, you can also of course, do other things with chicharone. If you went the original route that I was talking about where you dry 'em in the oven and then fry 'em at a high temperature, you know, uh, Season that with salt and sugar and maybe dried chilies.

I guess that's two. I'm giving you two. I was only supposed to do one, but, uh, uh, bonus round. Um, yeah, but you know, it, it should be good. I, I would just, uh, be extra sure that you're getting as much of that hair out of there as possible. Um, you know, because it, like I said, it [01:02:00] will be burned down to the follicle and there still will be some hair present.

And I think that the, I actually addressed this in the book. Um, I actually talk about burning the hair versus the scald and scrape and, and you know, I, I think in most situations where people are hunting pigs, retaining the skin is, is like less than 1% of the time. Like, nobody does it because you, you don't know when you're gonna be back.

You don't have a pot of boiling water to scald and scrape or dip 'em in there for that matter. So it's just, it's really difficult. I mean, the main difference is, you know, In a situation where you're killing a domestic hog where you're gonna save all the skin, you've, it's scheduled, you know, when Wilber's going down, you know, it's like, okay, Saturday morning at six 30, we're gonna kill 'em.

We need to have the water hot. But when you go in hog hunting, you're like, we might be back at midnight, we might be back at 4:00 AM We might not be back or with a pig at all. And so, um, I think it's just like logistically more challenging [01:03:00] to get the skin, but there are ways to do it. You did it. Um, I, uh, yeah, I would definitely encourage you to, to try it out.

I mean, almost all my go-to recipes are gonna be Mexican in style. That's just part of the world I live in, you know? And also think that, that, that culture has a very firm grasp on hog cookery. So, um, that's my

Nick Otto: answer. Awesome. Awesome. So, yeah, go. I was thinking traditional teacher owns, and that's one thing that I need to dive into.

I, uh, cuz yeah, it was one of those things, like, I know there's three steps. I know there's a bunch of processes. Processes to this, and I think it's just knowing what I need to do, but even the larone style of it, where I'm gonna be just trimming 'em up. Yeah, they're gonna be a little bit crisp, but they're still gonna be, have that fat and a little bit of meat on 'em and throwing that right into a tortilla.

I mean, you can't go wrong with that. That sounds like a wonderful Yeah, as

Jesse Griffiths: well. If I had to narrow it down to one, I would say go the, the second route where you, you're skipping the multiple steps. [01:04:00] You're leaving the, the, the meat on there, the fat and the skin, and you're going slow and low. That might take, um, that's three or four hours, probably very low.

And you're also gonna get a byproduct of lard out of that. So you're gonna render a lot of lard out of there. I mean, depending on how fat the pig is. But I mean, there's a chance to get some, some lard out of it, and then at the end when it's crispy and then you just go in and toss it. I mean, you could also, you know, toss it something sweet and sour.

I, I'm going off too much. I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm offering too much information.

Nick Otto: All right. Uh, anything we can get our hands on, Jesse? It is all good because, yeah, my last, uh, breakdown here is you get to choose your own wild protein, and this might even be something that's seasonal that you're working on, but with us approaching 4th of July, we just want a summertime celebration meal for a group of people.

And this is, yeah, this is the softball where it's kind of like, what are you working on right now as you're getting ready [01:05:00] for, uh, maybe a 4th of July rush, or you've got a 4th of July gathering, what is something that you're gonna be throwing together with something that is a non-native or something that is invasive or in that case wild.

Jesse Griffiths: Hmm. Okay. Well, I mean, my first thought, but it's not a non, it's a, it's a native. I would, I would, I would boil crabs. Uh, blue crabs. That's my, that's one of my favorite things in the whole world is, is catching and eating blue crabs. I love it. You know, we'll go down to the coast. Uh, we'll spend like three or four days running traps and then just to have a big crab boil.

Whatever's left over just gets picked. And then we have crab cakes and crab spaghetti and stuffed crabs and whatever we can, you know, make with that stuff. It in flounder, uh, blue crab would be my, I mean, it's just a great party deal, you know, I mean, it's just to get a bunch of people around and boil some crabs and potatoes and some feral hog smoke sausage.

[01:06:00] Um, and some green beans and some mushrooms and some, uh, some peppers and some lots and lots of garlic butter poured over everything at the end. Uh, that would be, uh, probably my go-to. Like right now, it's like I, I think I'm more oriented towards like fish and shellfish, you know, I, I think. I mean, what if it wasn't a crab boil?

I would, I would probably be, uh, just a straight up fish fry. You know, I love fried fish, uh, fried fish and fried potatoes and whatever sauces you want to throw on those things, that's pretty fun too. Absolutely. Yeah. It's blue out here, so Yeah. It's good to, oh, yeah. Yeah, that's one of my favorite things too.

Sunfish. I love sunfish. I've, in the years past, I've had a commercial fishing license where I was able to go and catch Sunfish for the restaurant, which is a pretty cool job. Um, I, but I really love, uh, bluegills and we, we've got a great population of Sunfish down here. They get pretty big too. You know, we catch 9, [01:07:00] 10, 11 inch fish somewhat regularly, uh, down here.

And, uh, it's something that I really go after a lot, especially this time of year. Uh, so yeah, uh, I'd say, you know, a nice fish fry with, uh, whatever fish. Doesn't matter if it's saltwater. Fish, fish, water, fish. I don't care. Awesome. Yeah, that, that'd be my, that'd be my rudder up.

Nick Otto: Well, this has just been a great hour to just get to pick your brain, Jesse, and to hear from you.

Um, where can my listeners, uh, if they haven't already heard you, where can they find you? Um, whether that's social media or website, um, and where can they get a hold of your book?

Jesse Griffiths: Yeah. Um, uh, I've got two books out. Uh, the first one, it's called A Field that came out probably 10 or 10 years ago, I think. So, uh, so a field, uh, is available on Amazon.

That one's real easy to find. Uh, so just a field, A F I E l D a, chef's Guide to Preparing [01:08:00] and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, I believe is the. Subtitle, uh, that's real easy to find. Uh, and then the hog book, uh, not as easy to find, uh, so, well, it kind of is. Uh, we self-publish the hog book, and so it's only available from a couple places.

So, uh, the hog book.com uh, is a good one, and you can order it directly from us and we will ship, uh, it is available at the restaurant. Um, and it is also available, yeah, uh, that pretty simple. It's, it's very simple where, where you can find this thing. And it is also available on the meat eater store. Uh, so that is the only other online, uh, retail outlet, uh, that you can get it from.

And it's, uh, so it's also very easy to order it from bee eater. Uh, so it's just under their store, under books. And you can get it there. And that's, uh, the hog book. Uh, pretty, pretty simple and straightforward. Uh, the restaurant is Duwe. It's [01:09:00] in Austin, Texas. I also have another, uh, little food trailer out, uh, west of town called Los Salva.

This serves more like bar food. We serve no guy burgers and wild boar tacos and fries, stuff like that. It's pretty fun. It's a, at a distillery. It's at the Desert Door, Soto Distillery. Um, and, uh, my, uh, Instagram, that's the only social media I do and I'm also very inconsistent with it is, uh, uh, uh, sle. So that's the, that's the Cajun, uh, word for Croppy, uh, or I believe, as you say, crappy.

Uh, it's s a c period A period, l a i t. And, uh, that's, uh, how you would, uh, keep up with my adventures on the social medias.

Nick Otto: Well, excellent, excellent. Yeah, whether it's croppy or crappy, it's all the good fish. So yeah, that's, I like the, I like your version. Sec. Say it again. Sle, Seole, Seole. [01:10:00] I, I'm thinking I'm gonna refer to them now as just that.

Well, hey Justin, hold on for just, uh, a few moments. I'm gonna let our listeners on out. Folks, I hope you enjoyed this hour as much as I have. Um, just gleaning information on how, how restaurants work and how, you know, our relationship with the environment, with the conditions that are happening and everything that surrounds, uh, your environment right now can affect your food.

Whether that's a restaurant, whether that's you at home, all of these different, different things are gonna come into play and how, you know, maybe one animal comes in, you expect it to be a certain way, and it comes in something different. Take that on as a challenge. Take that on as something to learn something new.

Use it in a different way because, yeah, we, as hunters and anglers, were always presented with a new challenge when it comes to taking our food, killing the animal, [01:11:00] and then harvesting the best out of it. It's gonna be that challenge, but however you're facing that challenge, whether it's gonna be blue crab and you're gonna need to shuck the shell, or it's gonna be taken apart, a very large boar, whatever you're doing, make sure that your knife is very sharp.