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Eat and run

12/6/2007

Yesterday's break from deer and ducks led to a run to Arkansas' Little Red River for some late season trout fishing. Six hours of roundtrip driving and six hours of nonstop fishing got me thinking about food like all of my hunting and fishing outings do.

Give me something good that I can take afield. No sense burning up hunting or fishing time in some restaurant. It has to be quick, tasty, easy and with no mess, so I can eat between casts and shots.

Here are some tried and true road foods that work for me.

Apples and oranges: I struggle with meeting the eight daily servings of fruits and vegetables thing, but I love apples and oranges. They make for great road food. They're portable, self-contained and can bang around in my daypack without creating a mess.

Nutritionists say they posses lots of vitamin C and fiber, too. A crisp apple or a sweet, juicy orange is a great pick-me-up when in the field. Stay away from bananas, grapes, strawberries and blueberries. They'll make the inside of your daypack look like summer bear scat.

Egg roles: Portable, self contained, delicious and readily available. (Every gas station has them.) The egg roll was a wonderful gastronomic invention. I'm not sure who invented them, but I wouldn't be surprised if that camper/conqueror and ultimate road warrior Ghangis Khan had something to do with it. Bite off one end and squeeze your favorite sauce into it.

A tightly wrapped egg roll will not leak. Warning! Don't put the little packets of hot mustard sauce, soy sauce or sweet-and-sour sauce in the breast pocket of your shirt on your shooting side if hunting big game. The kick can create a sort of Oriental roux that's tough to wash out, and the hot mustard fumes can blind you, negating any opportunity for a second shot.

Fig Newtons: The ultimate road cookie. Portable, tasty and moldable in a Play-Doh like way. Even if mashed by your way-to-big deer skinning knife or quart bottle of Doe-N-Heat urine, the Rorschach resulting shape is still edible. All other cookies crumble into an indistinguishable pile of dust. Backpackers, runners and cyclists revere the Fig Newton for its energy properties.

It's a good fruit and fiber food, too. Most big grocery stores sell 1 lb. packages that include two 8-oz. cellophane-wrapped stacks of cookies. A single stack easily molds into the shape of a women's softball and can be eaten like an apple. I prefer to buy them at gas station quick shops where single 8-oz. stacks are packaged in a protective cardboard sleeve.

Jerky: Again, easily accessible at gas station quick shops. However, the best jerky is homemade venison jerky. Venison is all natural, low fat and full of greater amounts of vitamins and minerals then its beef counterpart. And gas station beef jerky costs twice as much as a gallon of gas and is gone quicker. Jerky is the ultimate portable meal with a long shelf life.

I started a bag during the mid-October early muzzleloading deer season and rediscovered and finished it off in early December during the last weekend of the modern gun season. And I wouldn't be afraid to eat the venison jerky I made that I vacuum-sealed and cached down in the basement for Y2K and forgot about. It's so good, I've attached my favorite recipe for you to try.

So, there you have it. My favorite hunting and fishing road foods. E-mail a comment to me and tell us your favorite road foods, and share a good jerky recipe if you have one.

Venison Jerky

5 lbs. venison, thinly sliced

1-1/2 tsp. Morton Tender Quick Salt (optional)

9 tsp. table salt

2 tsp. garlic powder

1-1/2 tsp. cardamom

2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 tsp. Accent

Mix all ingredients; chill in refrigerator for 24 hours
Lay meat on a cookie sheet; brush with mixture of 1 oz. Liquid Smoke and 1 oz. water
Bake at 140 F for 6 to 8 hours. Store in airtight container.

Recipe handed out and courtesy of "Critter Curry" at the Pinnacle Mountain State Park annual mountain man rendezvous.