This summer Kaleigh got a chance to go on a caribou hunt with a few of her shipmates on a stop on St Paul Island. If you haven't heard of it - google it - it's about as "in the middle of nowhere" as you can find in the Bering sea.
Kaleigh shares, Hunting has been a part of my life since I was a little kid. My dad and I would load up the truck for the weekend and head to Patrick County, VA to our hunting cabin tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We would turn off the main road onto the one mile bumpy dirt road, listening to classic rock bouncing up and down on the seats. We would drive through two creek crossings and up the final hill through the archway of white pines my grandfather planted.
Once we made it to the cabin we got to work, cleaning, unloading the truck with food for the weekend, flipping on all the breakers, fetching water from the creek in five gallon buckets since we had no running water and getting a fire going in the wood stove. When the chores were complete Dad and I would get dressed in all camo, load the ATV and drive to our deer stand with our trusty Browning .270 he affectionally called “Ruby”. We would sit in our stand next to each other for hours in silence, taking in all the sounds around us waiting for a whitetail to come our way.
This summer, I had the pleasure of helping my friend on a caribou hunt on St. Paul Island located in the Bering Sea. Caribou there don’t have any natural predators so they are huge (think the size of a cow) and have a beautiful layer of fat on top of the meat. After he shot the caribou the real work began, field dressing. We took our time cleaning the caribou and putting the cuts into game bags. We loaded the bags onto our frame backs and hiked about a mile out back to the road. We spent the whole next day breaking the quarters down into steaks, roasts, straps and tenderloins.
The first time I tried cooking the caribou I followed a simple recipe one of my shipmates shared with me to sear it.
- Cubed caribou
- Garlic powder
I took one of the big hind roasts and cleaned it up cutting any sinew or connective tissue off and cut into one inch cubes. Then heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat. As your pan is heating, season the caribou with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then add roughly 1/2 TBSP to 1 TBSP of butter to the hot pan, as it begins to bubble add your seasoned cubes of caribou. It will brown up quick so be ready with tongs to flip after about a minute. Flip the caribou and let it brown on the other side. All in all it takes about 2-3 minutes to cook. Take the caribou out of the pan on a plate and enjoy! Make sure you don’t over crowd your pan, you want nice, brown sear and if you add too much meat the pan will be too cold and produce too much steam. Do a couple of batches in the same way.
Caribou Harvest Hash
- 1 Yam/Sweet Potato (cubed)
- 1/2 Onion (chopped)
- 5 Carrots (sliced)
- 2 Beets (sliced or cubed)
- 1 Garlic clove (chopped)
- 1 Bunch of Kale (chopped)
- 1 pound ground Caribou (or other ground red meat)
- Sharp Vermont White Cheddar (grated)
- Olive Oil
- Chili Powder
Hashes are one of our fall staples because they are easy to make with whatever root veggies and ground meats you have on hand. This is a great meal with a glass of whiskey or wine to warm your soul.
First pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees while your oven is heating prep your root veggies. We went to the Kodiak Farmers Market and almost all of the ingredients from of friends Janelle and Judy who run an organic farm. Slice and cube the yam, onion, beets, carrots and chop the garlic. Leave the kale aside for now. Try to cut the veggies so they are about the same thickness for even cooking time.
Place the veggies in a bowl drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, rosemary and chili powder. Toss and place on a baking sheet into the oven for approximately 30 mins.
While the veggies are cooking in the oven, take the kale off the stem and chop the leaves. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sit aside. Take a cast iron or any pan and heat over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil, add caribou and season with salt and pepper. Once nice and brown place in another bowl and set aside.
When the veggies are nice and soft then add the kale on top and place back into the oven for 5 mins to allow the kale to wilt. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and mix in the ground caribou in with the veggies and top with sharp cheddar cheese. Enjoy!