Photo and Recipe by: Ambassador Molly Elliott @elliotmo
- 6 oz fresh morel mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 20 oz ground game meat, 10-15% fat (antelope is pictured)
- Rubbed sage
- Avocado oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 bunch fresh scallions
- 1 stick butter, room temp
- 4 soft kaiser buns (or gluten-free substitute)
- Head of romaine and other toppings
- Prepare the mushrooms. Clean any stems with dirt or debris, and discard. Put mushrooms in a deep bowl, fill with cold water, and gently agitate mushrooms, allowing dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Lift mushrooms out of the bowl and place in a colander (this leaves all the dirt at the bottom). In small handfuls, quickly rinse a second time, under gently running water, and place mushrooms on a kitchen towel.
- Cut larger mushrooms in half, lengthwise, and gently pat with a towel to remove excess water.
- Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet on high heat. Add the mushrooms to the dry pan. Gently stir with a spatula, allowing the water to quickly escape.* Keep stirring gently until all water is cooked off, 5-7 min.
- Turn heat down to medium. Add 2 big glubs of avocado oil to the mushrooms, and the minced garlic. Stir to coat and to keep the garlic from burning, another minute or two of cooking, then remove the mushroom/garlic mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade.
- Process the mushrooms until resembling the texture of ground meat, 3-5 quick pulses, 1 second long each.
- Spread the ground meat loosely into a shallow, wide bowl; add the mushroom/garlic mixture, and egg. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch or two of sage. Fold the mixture into the meat until well incorporated.**
- Form the mixture into 4 even sized balls, and shape into tall patties, depressing a hole into the center for even cooking.
- Turn Traeger on to Smoke setting. Smoke burgers for 40 minutes.
- Add the scallions to the grill and remove the burgers. Turn temp up to 350 F. When grill come to temperature, put burgers back on, cooking an additional 5 min per side (10 more minutes total). Oil the buns, and place on grill, turning over after a couple of minutes.
- Remove the burgers, and tent with foil. Remove the scallions, and chop finely, including all the charred bits. Mix the softened butter with the scallions in a medium bowl.
- Smear the scallion butter onto toasted buns, add the smoked mushroom burgers, and your favorite toppings.
Tips: *Pan must be very hot and dry to begin with. The mushrooms will release a large amount of water and without a hot enough pan, the water will accumulate into a steamy boiling mess. This causes the texture of the mushrooms to be rubbery and gummy, instead of having a pleasant bite.
**Folding the meat mixture gently helps to ensure a tender finished burger, instead of a tough, packed dry version.
Squirrel Cakes with Spicy Slaw
Andrew Weisner, @andrew.weisner
My wife and I are both avid hunters. I introduced her to the outdoors through deer hunting when we started dating. After taking her first deer (whitetail doe) she was hooked. We are both good cooks and enjoy cooking together.
My recipe was developed out of necessity, due to an abundance of squirrels from a successful 2017 season. We usually take off the opening day of squirrel season (Aug 15 in Indiana), and hunt at my grandpa’s cabin. Our son was born in December 2016 and we were unable to get a babysitter for the opener. Lucky for us, our beech trees in the back yard were loaded with beech nuts and squirrels! We were able to limit out several times during the season from our back patio between naptime and taking turns feeding our son.
I hope you enjoy our squirrel cakes with spicy slaw.
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flake
- 2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
- 4 Tablespoons White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Real Mayo
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 3 Shakes Crystal Hot Sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ Head Purple Cabbage
- 1 Head Cabbage
- 4 Carrots
- 4 Squirrels
- 2 Cups Stock
- 1 ¼ Cup Crushed Club Crackers
- 1/3 Cup Celery chopped
- 1 Small Onion chopped
- 1 Green Pepper chopped
- 1 Carrot chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Stone Ground Mustard
- 1 Clove Garlic chopped
- Juice of ½ Lemon
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of 2 Key limes
- 1 Cup Mayo
- 1 Jalapeño chopped without seeds
- 1 Egg
- Avocado Oil
- Old Bay Seasoning
- ½ Tablespoon Salt
- Combine slaw dressing ingredients, mix well and set aside.
- Finely shred purple cabbage, cabbage and carrots (I use a potato peeler making 1in stokes to shred carrots).
- Combine slaw mix with slaw dressing 30-45 min before serving.
- Liberally season 4 whole squirrels with Old Bay seasoning and place in a crockpot with 2 cups stock. Cook on high until squirrels are fork tender and can shred off bone. Drain liquid, shred meat, remove bones and set aside.
- In a food processor combine celery, onion, green pepper, carrot, garlic, stone ground mustard, lemon juice, lime juice, salt, and Jalapeño. Pulse for about 20-30 sec until items are blended.
- In a mixing bowl add crushed Club crackers, mayo, egg, lemon zest and mixture from processor and squirrel meat. Combine ingredients.
- Place a cast iron skillet with avocado oil on medium-ish heat. I have a piece of crap electric stovetop with a 1-10 setting. I use number 4 for reference.
- Patty squirrel cake in hand and place in oil. Squirrel cake should be about as round as baseball and about 1in thick (should make 10-12).
- Cook 3-4 min each side or until cooked all the way through.
- Plate slaw, add squirrel cake and serve with lemon wedge.
- This dish is best accompanied with an ice-cold beer. An IPA or Pale ale cut through the heat of the slaw. Lime beers (Bud Light Lime, Uinta Lime Pilsner) also pair well.