Slow Cooker Wild Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches

There are two things you should never settle for: dry meatloaf and dry turkey. Turkey season always finds us looking for ways to make a moist, tender dish from our harvest. This little slow cooker trick of ours makes just about any meatloaf exceptional, even wild turkey meatloaf. The butter also helps... 

Makes 6-8 sandwiches

- Ingredients - 

Wild Turkey Meatloaf
2 lbs wild turkey (you're grinding it, so any cut will do)
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ white onion, minced
handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 egg
2 tablespoons Weston Mesquite Seasoning
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Bourbon Molasses BBQ Sauce
½ cup molasses
2 oz tomato paste
⅛ cup Worcestershire sauce
⅛ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon bourbon (We like Maker's Mark for this)
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

(each of these just depend on how many sandwiches you're making and how much you like cheese and bacon)
slices of cooked bacon
hoagie buns

- Tools - 
Weston Meat Grinder
Weston Slow Cooker
Weston Smoker

Use a Meat Grinder to grind the turkey through a coarse (7mm or so) plate. Mix in the remaining meatloaf ingredients. We used our Chopper to chop the parsley and mince the onions and garlic.

Grinding turkey through the coarse plate maintains the meat's integrity (no mush here)

Butter the bottom and sides of the Slow Cooker crock. Pack the ground meat mixture into the crock tightly. Cook on low for 3 hours. The turkey is ready when a thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf reads 165ºF.

Freshly ground wild turkey pressed into the slow cooker crock, ready to become meatloaf

Preheat your Smoker to 200ºF. While the turkey meatloaf cooks, prepare the sauce by whisking together the ingredients.

We used our Chopper to finely mince the onion.
Slather the sauce onto a sheet of foil, then smoke the sauce at 200ºF for 1 hour.

Freshly smoked bourbon molasses BBQ

Once the meatloaf is done and the sauce is smoked, you're ready to make sandwiches. Slice off the amount of meatloaf that you're going to eat now, and then fry it in a skillet with a little oil, over high heat, just until browned.

Tender, moist meatloaf in the slow cooker

You can vacuum seal and store the rest of the meatloaf in the fridge or freezer until you're ready for more.

The finished product

Once you have flipped the slices of meatloaf, place a slice of cheddar on the browned side to allow it to melt while frying. Assemble the sandwiches by placing the meatloaf into a hoagie roll with a couple of slices of bacon.

Turkey meatloaf, gooey cheddar, crispy bacon, and thick, smoky bourbon BBQ sauce

Green Chorizo Bison Burgers for Earth Day

It doesn't have to be Earth Day to eat sustainably, but it's certainly a good day to be reminded to. Bison can be an especially sustainable alternative to the beef you buy at the store. Federal law prohibits artificial growth hormones when it comes to bison. The species is also more capable of staying healthy on their own so few antibiotics are used in their farming. They also don't have nearly the environmental footprint of a cow, eating much less and treading more lightly. Those of you who harvest your own meat are likely thinking, "Hey, my wild bison / venison / elk is just as sustainable as farmed bison!" We agree and that's why we're thrilled that this recipe will be just as delicious using your harvested meat. 

makes four ¼ lb. patties

- Ingredients - 

1 lb bison, cubed
½ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup fresh curley parsley
¼ cup fresh spinach
2 serrano peppers
5 sprigs fresh oregano, stems removed
1 garlic clove, smashed

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

Sweet Potato Hash
1 sweet potato
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon cumin
½ cloves
½ teaspoon pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt

For Serving
12 oz queso fresco

- Tools -
Weston Smoker and wood chips

Step One | Preheat Smoker
Preheat your Smoker to 200ºF. Fill the water bowl and soak your wood chips. 

Step Two | Grind Bison Meat
Use a Chopper to roughly chop together the spinach, herbs and garlic. 

Chopped spinach, parsley, oregano, cilantro, serranos & garlic

Use a Meat Grinder to grind together the burger ingredients through a coarse (7mm) plate (leave out the salt & pepper). 

One of the many benefits to grinding you're own meat is being able to grind fresh herbs right into the ground meat
Once the ingredients have been ground together, sprinkle in the salt and pepper. 

The finished product: freshly ground bison peppered with greenery

Step Three | Form Burger Patties
Form the ground bison into patties using a Burger Press.

This will press the meat together tightly and ensure that the patties don't fall apart in the smoker. If you're still worried that they will, you can freeze them overnight or use foil, poked with holes, on the racks. 

Step Four | Smoke Burgers
Place the patties onto the racks of your smoker and smoke at 200ºF for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches your preference. 

A smoked burger is where it's at.
We love a good 140º medium rare burger, so we pulled the burgers at 135. Remember to account for resting time - you'll probably want to cook the burgers to 5º less than your final temperature. 

Step Five | Prepare Sweet Potato Hash
While the burgers are smoking, make your sweet potato hash. Preheat the oil to 375ºF. Quickly cube the Sweet Potato using the French Fry Cutter.

We wrap our sweet potatoes in a wet paper towel or cloth and microwave them for 45 seconds before putting them through the cutter. 
Deep fry for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until the cubes begin to brown lightly. Remove from the fryer basket and immediately toss with the seasonings.  

Golden brown sweet potato hashbrowns, fresh from the fryer

Step Six | Assemble in the Smoker
While the burgers are still in smoker and have about 5 minutes left, pile the sweet potato hash onto the tops of the burgers, then crumble the queso fresco on top of that. This will keep the hash hot and melt the cheese.

Carefully remove the patties and serve on buns or wrap in tortillas. Condiments are up to you. These are very flavorful, juicy burgers, so we ate ours without anything else. Sour cream, mayonnaise, hot sauce and any combination of those will all be good accompaniments if you so choose. 

Wild Turkey Sexy Fries

In San Francisco, there's a well-known Indian street food chain called Curry Up Now, where they dish out sweet potato waffle fries smothered in your choice of meat or vegetable, cheese, and fried leeks. My choice was always the lamb curry. Now that it's spring turkey season and I'm still dreaming of those sexy fries, I couldn't help but wonder how it might taste if made with wild turkey. So we tried it, and I might argue that we've even topped the genius originators of this dish with our version of the recipe. See for yourself...

- Ingredients - 

Wild Turkey Curry
1 wild turkey thigh
1 cup water
6 oz tomato paste
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon dry cilantro
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 sweet potato

1 leek
handful shredded cheddar jack cheese

oil for frying

- Tools - 
Weston Slow Cooker
Weston Mandoline Slicer or French Fry Cutter
Weston Deep Fryer

Step One | Wild Turkey Curry

Set your Slow Cooker to low. Combine all curry ingredients in the crock. Slow cook on low for 6 hours, until the turkey falls apart. Use a fork to roughly shred the wild turkey.

It only seemed proper to use our Camo Slow Cooker to make the Wild Turkey Curry

Step Two | Sweet Potato Fries

Preheat the Deep Fryer to 375ºF. Use your Mandoline to waffle your sweet potato fries. You may also julienne the fries instead using the Mandoline or a French Fry Cutter.

Using our V-Slice Mandoline with the waffle blade for make waffle fries

Soak the fries in cold water for 30 minutes (this will help them cook more evenly). Once soaked, deep fry the sweet potato fries for 3-5 minutes, shaking the basket occasionally.

Sweet Potato Waffle Fries, about midway through their frying process

Step Three (or 2.5, really) | Fry the Leek

While the fries are soaking, slice the leek lengthwise into ¼ inch thin slices. Deep fry them for 3 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.

Step Four | Assemble

Place hot fries onto a platter, spoon on the wild turkey curry, hot & straight from the crock, then sprinkle with cheese. Top with fried leeks. The cheese should melt on its own from the heat of the fries and curry.

You're probably going to want a fork for these...

Enjoy your messy, delicious and... well, sexy fries.

Smoked Wild Turkey "Hobo Dinner" with Acorn Squash & Brussels Sprouts

Foil dinners are all the rage lately. This is a good one for the smoker at home, but it's also not a bad idea for camp!

- Ingredients - 
1 wild turkey thigh

1 cup water
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup kosher salt

1 acorn squash, cut into ½ inch cubes
12 oz brussels sprouts, cut in half
4 slices bacon, cut into lardons
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
Weston Mesquite Seasoning

- Tools - 
Weston Vacuum Sealer + bags or canisters

Step One | Brine Overnight

Place the turkey thigh into a large Vacuum Bag, then pour in ¼ cup brine.

Turkey thigh vacuum sealed in a brown sugar brine

In another large bag, add the brussels sprouts and squash, then pour in the remaining brine.

Acorn squash & brussels sprouts vacuum sealed in a brown sugar brine
Vacuum Seal both and refrigerate overnight.

Do I have to brine it? You should, yes. Any food that goes into the smoker can easily become dried out. What's more: turkey, and even more: wild turkey can be exceptionally dry. So it is pertinent that you brine it first to ensure that it comes out of the smoker looking juicier than ever. It doesn't hurt to brine the veggies as well. Trust us, both the moisture and the flavor will be exponentially better if you brine. 

Step Two | Smoke
Preheat your Smoker to 200ºF. Fill the water bowl. Soak wood chips for 30 minutes.

Roll out a large piece of foil. Lay the turkey thigh, acorn squash and brussels sprouts out on the foil. Sprinkle the bacon lardons and butter cubes over the turkey, squash & sprouts. Sprinkle all over with Mesquite Seasoning.

Seasoned turkey and veggies, ready to be wrapped in foil

Close up the foil and place the packet into the Smoker and smoke at 200ºF for 6 hours or until the turkey thigh reaches 165ºF.

Seasoned turkey, sprouts & squash at the early stages of smoking

Toward the end of smoking, the foil will be yellow - that's normal, from the smoke

That's it - serve!

This smoky wild turkey literally fell off the bone when we poked it with a fork. 

Beer Battered Avocado Tacos with Ginger-Carrot Salsa

National Beer Day is next Thursday. That gives you a solid head start on making these Beer-Battered Avocado Tacos to celebrate! Here in Cleveland, we have a restaurant in the Ohio City borough called Orale! where Negra Modelo Battered Avocado Tacos are a mainstay on their menu. This is our remake of their amazing idea. 

Makes 6 tacos

- Ingredients -

2 avocados, sliced lengthwise into sixths
1 cup Negra Modelo
1 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Ginger Carrot Salsa
6 carrots
4 coins ginger
¼ head red cabbage
4 roma tomatoes
1 onion
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne
juice from 1 lime

corn tortillas

- Tools - 
Weston Kitchen Kit
Weston Deep Fryer

Ginger Carrot Salsa

Use the Kitchen Kit's Citrus Juicer to juice the lime.

Use the Kitchen Kit's chopping attachment to roughly chop tomato, onion and ginger.



Do not remove the chopping blade. Use the Mandoline Attachment with the Grater Plate to shred the carrots.

Use the Mandoline Attachment with the straight blade to shred the cabbage.

Remove the Mandoline Attachment. Add the remaining ingredients and replace the lid. Turn the handle slowly, just to mix the salsa with the chopping blade.

Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the avocados.

Negra-Modelo Battered Avocados

Preheat your Deep Fryer to 375°F.

Whisk together flour, cornstarch and Negra Modelo.

Dip the avocado slices into the batter gently, then place them into the deep fryer basket. You'll want to do just 3-4 at a time so that they don't stick to one another. Deep fry 3-5 minutes, until golden and floating.

Remove and cool on a paper towel while you fry the rest.

When all of the avocados have been fried, prepare the tacos by placing two avocado slices into a corn tortilla (or two) and topping with the carrot salsa.

#TipTuesday: How to Spring Clean Your Freezer

Photo courtesy Joel Lickliter, Home Cookin' Hunter

1. Drag out the beer cooler and fill it with ice.

2. Throw on some rubber gloves or our Kevlar Gloves (the fingers and padding are rubberized).

3. Unplug the freezer.

4. Check everything for freezer burn - throw away anything that's accumulating ice crystals.

5. Check dates on everything. Anything that's expired needs to be thrown out. Here's a little help on how long you should be keeping everything in the freezer:

If these foods are vacuum sealed properly, they should last 3-5 times longer than the listed times in the chart. Ultimately, your senses are the best guide to freshness. Always check for funky colors or odors.
6. Throw everything else that's not freezer burnt or expired in the old beer cooler.

7. Chip away the ice building on the sides of the freezer with a spatula and throw it in your sink to melt.

8. Use undiluted vinegar to wipe down the walls and shelving of the freezer.

9. Plug the freezer back in. Monitor its temperature. So long as it's getting colder, you should be able to return the still frozen food items after 30 minutes. The frozen foods will help to lower the temperature. After a few hours, the freezer should be back to 0°F.

10. Transfer what you can of the good, non-freezer burnt, not expired food to better packaging. Seal everything with a Vacuum Sealer to ensure as much air as possible is removed from your foods.
Good candidates for repackaging are store-bought meats that are on styrofoam trays wrapped with plastic, liquids packed in plastic storage containers, and anything in reclosable freezer bags. All of these tend to allow air in your packaging, and you'll see those little ice crystals called freezer burn building on the surface of your foods.
11. Load everything back into the freezer. When you load, try to spread packages out into one layer, rather than stacking them. This helps them freeze evenly and keeps your freezer working efficiently.
It's also a good idea to take inventory of what you have as you load and record it on a chalkboard nearby or a sheet of paper stuck to the freezer with a magnet. Sometimes foods in the freezer fall into the 'out of sight, out of mind' void. 
12. Start good freezer storage habits moving forward. Your job will be much easier come harvest or hunting season cleaning:

  • Use a Vacuum Sealer to store just about any kind of food you're freezing. Using a Vacuum Sealer not only increases shelf life and freshness, it's also helpful for organization. Vacuum Sealer Bags are transparent, allowing you to check freshness without opening the bag. They are also made of a permanent-marker friendly plastic, so you can easily label all of your foods.
  • Zipper Seal Vacuum Bags are also a great option for items that you're storing long term, but that you might need to store short term later on. They allow you to vacuum seal for the freezer items that you're keeping for 6 months to over a year. You can then open the package, use what you need, then use the zipper seal to seal the leftover food for a week or so in the fridge.
  • Use Freezer Paper & Tape to wrap steaks and chops tightly if you don't have a Vacuum Sealer. Freezer Paper is also easy to label, so you'll be able to identify the freeze date and contents of the package without opening the paper.
  • Ground Meat Bags are the best way to store ground meat in the freezer if you don't have a Vacuum Sealer. They too allow for easy labeling and are made of polyethylene to keep the light out and protect the ground meat inside. 

Bacon Bloody Mary Egg Salad

It happens every year. You boil countless eggs, dye them, and then Easter is over and you're left to wonder: "What to do with all of these leftover Easter eggs?" We have a recipe so good, you'll find yourself boiling eggs if you don't have leftover Easter eggs.

- Ingredients -
6 hard boiled eggs, quartered
6 slices crispy bacon, roughly crumbled (we put ours in the toaster oven for 15 minutes at 400F)
2 cups roughly chopped celery stalks (include the leaves)
¼ cup mayo
⅛ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon horseradish
juice from ½ of a lemon
Tabasco sauce, to taste (we did about 8 drops)
⅛ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

If you're making sandwiches
Pretzel buns
Leaf lettuce
Cocktail olives (ours were chipotle cheese stuffed - highly recommend!)

- Tools - 
Weston Manual Kitchen Kit with chopping blade

Place the celery into the kitchen kit and chop for about a minute, until the celery is at a rough dice. Add the remaining ingredients, with the exclusion of the eggs.

Chop for about 30 seconds, just to mix. Add the eggs, then chop again. Turn the handle just a couple of times (the egg will chop very easily, and you don't want mush—ours is a little over chopped, to be honest). Add the bacon and turn the handle a few more times, back and forth, just to crumble the bacon a bit more and integrate it into the egg salad.

That's all that's involved for this egg salad recipe!

If you're making sandwiches, lay a piece of leaf lettuce on the bottom of a pretzel bun, load on the egg salad, then close the bun and use a toothpick to attach the cocktail olive to the top of the bun.

Our 10 Favorite Easter Recipes

You didn't expect a traditional list from us, did you? Sure, we have ham and carrot cake. But the hams are glazed with bourbon & beer and the carrot cake has sweet potatoes in it. We also have a few pasta dishes on the more colorful side. Our mashed potatoes and corn sides use coconut milk . The bread has Easter eggs in it. We also found more ways than just carrot cake to incorporate carrot into the meal. Oh, and we included a pear pie because Easter is all about DESSERTS. Get that Easter Pinterest board started — you're going to want to pin these...

1. Bourbon Glazed Smoked Ham with Apple "Stuffing"

Apple cider, brown sugar and bourbon make up the glaze for this killer smoked ham recipe. Studded with cloves and sprinkled with orange zest, we can think of no greater flavor pairings for your Easter Ham. Plus, you get a bonus Apple Stuffing recipe to serve on the side!
2. Ale-Glazed Ham

If there's something wrong with you and the last one didn't sound good, we also have a killer beer-glazed ham. The rub is mild, letting the ale do most of the work for the flavor. It's not as elaborate as our Bourbon Ham, but it is just as delicious. 

3. Butternut Squash Cannelloni

Some of us can't have Easter dinner without pasta. Skip the lasagna or simple pasta side and spring for cannelloni this year. And not just any cannelloni - Butternut Squash Cannelloni! This dish is equal parts savory & sweet, coupling cranberries with caramelized onions and topped with sage and brown butter. Maybe you should just skip the ham altogether and serve cannelloni as your main course!

4. Carrot Ravioli

We really like the idea of serving carrots at Easter ...something about the Easter bunny eating carrots mingled with the fact that it's a cool, crisp spring vegetable. It makes for a tremendous ravioli filling, so we see no reason for these Carrot Ravioli not to make it onto your table this year. 

5. Scalloped Corn (vegan)

We made this vegan-friendly "cream cheese" corn around Thanksgiving for our vegan friends. Turns out, the lightness of this dish provided by the lack of dairy and substitution of coconut milk, coconut cheese & coconut butter makes it a perfect springtime side as well.
6. Garlic & Rosemary Mashed Potatoes with Toasted Almonds (vegan)

We can't think of a single reason why you wouldn't put roasted garlic and rosemary into your mashed potatoes and top them with toasted almonds. Unless you're allergic to nuts. Okay, so that's a reason. But it's the only one. 

7. Carrot Fries

In keeping with the spirit of carrots, carrots, carrots, we present: Carrot Fries: Your New Favorite Easter Side. The carrots are a fresher alternative to heavy sides and the dill yogurt dipping sauce screams 'Springtime!'

8. Easter Egg Bread (Greek Tsoureki Bread)

Tsoureki is a braided sweet bread easily recognized by the decorative red eggs between its braids. We dyed our eggs naturally with beet juice, then made use of the beet pulp in an accompanying beet jam. The result is an ultra sweet, perfectly festive Easter loaf. What better bread for Easter than one with Easter eggs?
9. Carrot Cake

This is not your average carrot cake. Sweet potatoes, ginger and pineapple juice make it special - plus we made it in a slow cooker, so keep that oven open! 
10. Pear Pie

Surprisingly enough, pears are actually in season in many areas of the country right now. If they're in season near you, take advantage of the harvest and make pie! Our Tarragon & White Wine infused Pear Pie will be a definite crowd-pleaser at your Easter dinner.