Monday, December 7, 2009

Welcome Hole in The Wall Visitors!

To all of those who have "linked over" from the amazing Fort Worth Hole in the Wall Blog, via the interent, or world wide web as the case may be, we welcome you to our amazingly professionsal, amateur cooking blog.

To give you an idea of what we are all about, we are couple of DFW based fellows, with culinary interests, and some cameras. We post seperatley on occasion, and together on occasion. Our interests range from delicious smoked meats on the one hand to egg in the basket on the other. There is even a post which tells you how to boil water. Also, WE DONT TAKE PRISONERS. We really don't. At no point have we even been presented with the opportunity to take prisoners so...pretty much there have been no prisoners.

I'm SmokeHopper, I'm the "wheelman" of this operation , and El Smokeador is the "getaway driver". Both of us just driving fast and crashing into stuff, and making briskets along the way. There is no "Brains" of the operation. (Coincidentally, "There is No Brains", is the name of my band) Please check out some of our greatest hits, and stay tuned for more posts in the future. CaberNog- Everyone's favorite Holiday mixture of Cabernet and Eggnog will be featured shortly. (gross? probably) Also, there will be cash giveaways and HUGE prizes. (there will be no cash or prizes).

Best Hits:

Butterfinger Brisket -

Sandwich Quest One Million -

The Best Cheeseburger in Comanche County -

Southwestern Style Eggs Benedict -

Thanks for stopping by everyone! And thanks to the Fort Worth Hole in the Wall Blog!

Fort all of our regular readers who have no idea what I'm talking about, please go check out the following link, and get ready to have your mind blown, via web log:

Great Blog. Probably the best index of good restaurants in Fort Worth, accompanied by quality reviews. If you are bored on a Friday night in this city, you don't have to be. Just go check out this blog, find a place, and go there. And then eat. And then thats it.


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Couple Ways to Cook Pheasant and How to Cure Pheasant Induced Stomach Ache

Greetings friends. I hope you are well in this most glorious holiday season. It has been a couple of months since my last post, and for that I apologize dear readers. The hot dogs in the USDD proved to be too much, and I have only recently come to the realization that while it was not the entirely best idea, it certainly wasn't the worst. And that it needed more hot dogs. But I digress.

About a month ago, around Halloweentime, I took a couple people to Nebraska on a quest to defeather as many pheasants as possible while at the same time putting as much lead in the air as possible. Both goals were attained.
It should be noted that Maskell, NE is about a 12 hour drive from Dallas but is only 15 minutes from Vermillion, SD. If you ever go to Vermillion you will understand why this is such a vital part of the trips. Had I gotten waivers signed, I would post pictures to help with the narrative, but I didn't, so I wont. We really couldn't have asked for better weather for the hunts, I don't think it got below 40 at night and stayed right around 70 during the day and there was no snow, so hiking through 2-3 feet of snow wasn't an issue this time. Check back in January and I will tell a different story. Long story short, I think we all had a blast and most importantly limited out on pheasant (36).
On the way home it was decided that since we each had 12 birds that we should definitely deep fry some to see how different it was from McDonalds Chicken McNuggets. The next weekend about 20 people came over for a pheasant fry/smoke off. I have smoked some of these birds before, but this time was a little different. To begin, I got pressed for time and the brine did not turn out how I wanted. A brine can just be really salty water, or you can add fruits and whatnot. I have been wanting to add oranges to my cinnamon/sea salt brine since the last time I did this, but I ran out of time and didn't get a chance to get oranges. Improvisation.
(schepps makes the best orange juice for brining pheasants that don't turn out like they are supposed too)

It should be noted that when I was boiling the water to dissolve the salt/cinnamon chips in I got very tired. Once it was all dissolved I turned off the burner, added the juice and left it on the stove to cool. That was midnight and the plan was to add the birds at 1am to let them soak until about 1pm the next day. My couch had other ideas and I wound up sleeping until about 6 am with exactly zero birds in the brine. In the business this is called a brinefail (I think its happened before).
(Water, schepps OJ, cinnamon chips and salt. Cooling while I sleep.)

(3 birds a brining~roughly 6am)

About 2pm I put the six beasts (only 2 were beasts the other 4 were hens) in the smoke to begin their transformation. Bottom line, they cooked weird and I still don't know why. The last time I smoked pheasant, all of the meat was ready in about 3.5 hours. This time the breasts were ready after about 3, took them inside to carve out the feast and the legs/thighs were still bloody as all getout and not cooked. Threw them back on for another hour to see what that would bring. It dried out the breastmeats but not to a point that they weren't delicious as S.

So, I chopped up the 6 breasts, put them in a bowl and we made sandwiches out of them (sandwiches not pictured). But they were delicious. Smoked pheasant tastes not unlike a smoked chicken, it's just different. Same texture as chicken or turkey, but without the gamey taste as other wild birds.

The hit of the day was the deep fried pheasant. There are three really important parts to making deep fried pheasant.

1) Buy a deep fryer.

2) Use spoiled milk.
(Picture of spoiled milk not pictured.)
3) Fry the pheasant.

For reasons unbeknownst to me there was a 3 or 4 week old unopened carton of milk in my fridge that the preparer did not smell, or look at to see if it was old. I do not fault him for this as I should not have 4 week old milk in my fridge. It's my fault that they tasted great, you could say. Regardless we prepped the pheasant by cutting it into chunks, soaking them in said milk and battering them in a good mixture of flour and spices. It should be noted that I had nothing to do with this part and do not know what ratios of spices to flour they used, but it wasn't too spicy or too not spicy so.....I hope that helps. But seriously, many thanks to the preparers for spending an hour or so cutting up the birds and getting them ready for the fryer. Once they had a good consistency of potentially good crust we fried up about 4 batches. Each of which was devoured in a matter of minutes. Spoiled milk was the key.

No it wasnt. But it could have been. There really is no way to tell because just about anything you batter and deep fry is going to generally taste good. FORESHADOWING?

The last method that I was probably the most excited about was making homemade pheasant noodle soup. When it came time to make the soup I was not as motivated as I was when I began to thaw out the single pheasant that I was going to make soup with. Rule of thumb, use more than one pheasant.

I hesitate to call this a disaster, because it tasted great, but it is now in my trash in the alley behind my house. I don't know if it was the stock that I made overnight, the adding of rice or what, but lets just say that the soup was Elin and my stomach was Tiger. I didn't mention that I had planned on making homemade egg noodles too, but forgot all of the materials when I went to the store so I opted for pheasant and rice soup. Chicken and rice is a good soup, so this should have been too.

Begin things I didn't do right that you should do right if you attempt pheasant noodle soup and want to do it right, which I will be doing in a post sometime in the new year. NOT FORESHADOWING, STATEMENT OF FACT.

Salt and pepper pheasants and put them in water that has been boiled and reduced to a good simmer. I did this but only used one pheasant. Make sure you have enough water that they are both covered.

After simmering for a good 1.5-2.5 hours take the bird out and set it aside. This is what you should have remaining in the pot. Pheasants are pretty lean birds so there is not much grease floating on top like when you make chicken stock.

(Bird set aside for overnight storage)

Strain the dirty stock into a separate bowl, clean original pot and transfer back.

This could be where it went entirely wrong for me. I let the stock cool, put it in the fridge for overnight storage with the bird. I don't know if this did anything bad overnight, but it's entirely possible.

The bird and the stock sat in the fridge until I got home from work around 9pm the next night. I chopped up some carrot, celery and onion and set them aside.

Did the same with the bird meats.

Brought the stock back to a boil, reduced to simmer and added in the vegetables.
(Carrots sink.)

Once the onions and celery became somewhat translucent and soft I stirred in the pheasant. Added salt and pepper sparingly with a little garlic powder.

After letting it simmer for about 1.5 hours I added in some rice and let it simmer for another 30 minutes or so. When it was finished I immediately got a cup and dug in. I did not take very blog friendly pictures of the soup, so I will have to revisit in pheasant soup pt. 2. As stated above, not enough pheasant, but it still tasted great. The stock itself didn't have the same taste that a chicken stock has, but I think it was because I only used one pheasant. Or maybe I didn't let her simmer enough from the start.

An hour after consumption my stomach started hurting something fierce. I ordered a pizza and it felt better.

~El Smokeador~

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