Friends, we need to have a serious talk about a vital topic.
For years, all of us have abused a good friend. We’ve taken advantage of someone close to our hearts.
And it’s time to stop.
We have to stop mistreating bacon.
Every time we combine wild game and bacon, we wrap one with the other. Sure, it’s delicious, but it’s also… lazy. We can do better. Our wild game deserves better. BACON deserves better.
So, to help get everyone started thinking of bacon as something other than gift wrap, here are a few recipes combining bacon and game.
Duck, Sausage and Peppered Bacon Gumbo
It’s peppery, meaty, smoky, and is one of those “put some hair on your chest” sorta meals. A pot will feed you for a week, but it’s even better when shared with a kitchen full of friends.
- 6 to 8 duck breasts, skin on preferred
- 1 pound peppered bacon, diced
- 1 pound Andouille sausage, cut into rounds
- 1 cup flour
- 1 ½ cup onion, finely diced
- ¾ cup celery, diced
- ¾ cup bell pepper, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bottle of dark beer
- 6 cups of chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon each of dried oregano and thyme
Start by rendering the bacon in a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven. Once you’ve crisped up that smoky goodness, pull it out and set it aside. Remove most of the grease and set it aside for later.
Salt and pepper the duck, then place it skin side down in the Dutch oven and sear until it’s perfectly golden brown, around 7-8 minutes. Flip it, sear for another 7-8 minutes. Now, pull it from the pan and defy every fiber of your being to NOT eat it on the spot.
Now, we get our Cajun on and make a good roux (pronounced “roo”). Put a ¼ cup of the bacon grease back in the pan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and put those delts to work, stirring until the roux takes on a nice, mahogany color. Somewhere between baseball glove and Remington 870 buttstock should work. Now add the onion, celery, peppers and garlic and stir until all the veggies are covered and slightly softened.
Pour the dark beer into the pot (not your gullet) and the chicken stock. Stir until everything is blended. Crank the heat to get the pot a boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Add the rest of the spices, and salt and pepper to taste.
Grab that leftover duck, peel off the skin and dice into 1-inch cubes. (Editor’s note: Rendered, crispy duck skin is delicious.) Add the duck breast and Andouille and simmer for another 90 minutes.
Serve over steamed white rice and top with diced bacon. Enjoy.
Wild Game Meatloaf
This ain’t your mom’s meatloaf. Bacon, bison, beef, venison… Oh, yeah. This meatloaf is awesome straight from the oven. But if you want a life-changing experience, slice some off the next day, pan sear it nice and crispy, then slap it between two slices of your favorite bread.
- 1 pound 85/15 hamburger
- ½ pound ground bison
- ½ pound ground elk or venison
- 1 pound bacon, diced
- ½ cup red pepper, diced
- ½ cup green pepper, diced
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 1 ½ cups, plus 2 tablespoons, Japanese-style Panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning (it’s a thing, really)
- 1 ½ cups, plus 2 tablespoons, marinara sauce
- Salt, pepper and garlic powder
Fire up the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the beef, bison, venison and bacon in a large bowl. Add the peppers, onions, bread crumbs, egg, steak seasoning and marinara. Now wash those grubby mitts, then mix everything together, kneading everything well to mix. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors develop.
Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and pack the meatloaf mixture into the pan, pressing well into every corner. Now, place a 9x13-inch baking dish on top of the loaf pan, and carefully flip that beyotch. Remove the loaf pan and sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder.
Bake for an hour then crank the dial to 400 degrees and keep on roasting until it starts to crisp up and a thermometer stuck in the center hits 165 degrees. Should be about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven, humidity, planetary alignment of Mars and Venus, etc.
Pull the loaf, tent with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice, serve, repeat as necessary.
We hope you’re starting to see that bacon deserves a greater role than just a salty cover. With just a little work and thought, bacon can deliver a much bigger flavor impact to your game dishes.
Together, we can end the abuse of the bacon wrap.