Review – Char Crust Rubs
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A huge shout out to Susan Eriksen (Mrs. Char Crust) for sending me some of her products to try.

Char Crust is kind of a rub, but unlike any I have reviewed before. The best way I can describe it is to call it a rub that works like a blackening seasoning. Char Crust utilizes their amazing blends along with high heat to seal in the juices.

I review quite a few great products and although the flavors are usually different, it’s always really cool to find something different. Char Crust is different, and I give the product credit for 2 of the best steaks I have ever had.

For my Char Crust review, I had decided to use some mule deer steaks I had thawed. My friend had given me some meat after a successful hunt and I had put a package in the fridge to cook for dinner some night. Now I am a good cook, a really good cook actually, but I think steaks are my nemesis. It doesn’t matter if they are on the grill or in the frying pan or some other method – they always seem to be overdone, underdone, tough or all of the above.

So, the Char Crust website conveniently provides directions. Since I wanted to fry the steak in a pan, I followed the directions for sauteing using the Roasted Garlic and Peppercorn blend. Hot pan, hot oil, steaks well-dredged in the rub.. about 3 or 4 minutes per side and they looked amazing. They were a little pink for me so I popped in the microwave (gasp!) for 30 seconds which made them just right for my taste.

These steaks were amazing. Really. The flavor was off the charts, the steaks were tender and juicy. I wasn’t surprised about the flavor but I was a bit surprised at just how well-cooked the steaks were. The flavor profiles in the rub were fresh and rich. Of course you could taste the garlic and pepper but there were lots of other notes as well.

I was so taken with my results that I got another package of steaks out of the freezer and had steak again the following night except I used the Southwest Chipotle rub. Bam! Same results regarding tenderness and juiciness, with a completely different flavor. Very complex with sweet and heat and smoky. Loved it!

I can’t wait to try these products on other meats and different cuts of meat.

From the Char Crust website:

*You can use Char Crust® dry rub on any meat or fish, even vegetables.
*The Original Char Crust® was created in 1957 at our family’s legendary Chicago steakhouse.
*We make all of our products ourselves, in small batches, with premium ingredients.
*All of our products are “clean-label”, certified kosher, and most of of them have moderate amounts of sodium (Ginger Teriyaki is actually low sodium).

Only Char Crust® Seals in the Juices®!

*Our dry rubs are so fast and easy to use, with delicious results. Simply rub any meat, fish, or vegetable, then cook. Char Crust® does the rest. We make cooking fun!

*Professional chefs have used Char Crust® dry rub seasoning in their restaurants for over 50 years. Now you can too! Enjoy delicious food, made fresh in your kitchen in minutes.

Thanks again to Susan for sending me these products to try. I can’t wait to try the rest and I will definitely keep you posted. I’m convinced that Char Crust will not only make your food taste better, it will make it turn out better! Best of all, I’m not afraid to cook steak anymore! Char Crust will be a mainstay in my pantry.

A Review – “Buck, Buck, Moose” by Hank Shaw
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I wanted to thank Kathi Johnson and Hank Shaw for getting me a copy of “Buck, Buck, Moose” to review. ~Desert Rat

From the Press Release:

Noted cookbook author and James Beard award-winning writer Hank Shaw has just released his third cookbook: Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things (H&H Books 2016).

More than a cookbook, Buck, Buck, Moose is the first and only comprehensive guide to working with and cooking all forms of venison – and it’s available just in time for hunting season and the holidays. In addition to more than 100 recipes, the book includes:

− Stories of the hunt and essays on why venison holds such a special place in society
− Instructions for butchering, aging and storing your venison and how to handle all parts of the carcass (including the odd bits)
− Extensive section on curing venison and how to make sausages, dry-cured salami and jerky
− And… venison beer and wine pairings

Shaw takes the cook/reader around the world from nose to tail, with recipes from six continents for every part of the animal. From the simple – Country Fried Venison, to the classic – Steak Diane, to the unexpected – Venison Tripe Neapolitan.

Released in September, this essential guide already has sold more than 10,000 copies and has received nearly 100 percent “5 star reviews” (179) on AMAZON.

About Hank Shaw: A former restaurant cook and journalist, Shaw is the author of three cookbooks: Hunt, Gather, Cook (Rodale 2011), Duck, Duck, Goose (Ten Speed 2013), and Buck, Buck, Moose (H&H Books 2016), as well as the James Beard Award-winning website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (honest-food.net). He has been featured in numerous major media outlets ranging from the New York Times to NPR and Field & Stream, as well as on numerous television shows, including Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and CNN’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It with Mike Rowe. His writings have appeared in Food & Wine, Organic Gardening, Garden & Gun, Petersen’s Hunting, The Art of Eating, among others.

So first off – to call this book a “Cook Book” is to do it a huge disservice; this is a coffee table book that happens to be full of amazing wild game recipes. It’s a manual on how to care for you game in the field. It is a primer on food safety. It’s part technical guide, part personal musings and partly a conversation with your butcher about what cuts work best for what.

The photography is amazing; the recipes are exotic and homey and comforting and zesty. At the time of the review I had an elk roast left in the freezer. I’m usually not too big on roasts, so I thought this would make for a good test case. I picked the Italian Pot Roast recipe.

As might be expected, this recipe is a “red-winey, tomatoe-y, oregano/thyme and rosemary-y” pot of goodness. The roast came out tender and nicely flavored with lots of accompanying sauce to drizzle over the meat.

The recipes in this book are amazing; literally a trip around the world. These recipes account for different cuts of meat and different types of game. From South African Bobotie to Massaman Curry to Icelandic Venison with Blueberry Sauce there is something for every taste. The book is smartly divided into sections of cuts – roasts, loins, primal cuts, stews, ribs, meatballs, etc. If you’re one that likes the “wobbly bits” as Hank calls them – heart, liver, kidneys, etc. – there is a whole section dedicated to those recipes. My favorite section is the section on sausage. I can’t wait to try all of those recipes!

My only concern with the book was that these recipes could be intimidating for the novice hunter-chef. Rest assured, these recipes are well-explained and easy to follow. Anyone with the most basic level of skill in the kitchen will now have the ability to table some amazing fare – well beyond grilled steaks or spaghetti sauce that had become the staples for many of us. Even better – if you have someone in your circle of friends or family that turns up their nose at wild game – I guarantee you’ll find a cure for that somewhere in this book. There are some amazing recipes in here and Hank does a great job coaching the cook through the why and the how as well.

If you like to hunt moose, deer, caribou or antelope – this may well be the last book you’ll ever need to buy. From the time the creature hits the ground, until it lands on your table – Hank has you covered. The book is well-organized with fantastic photography, clear instructions and lots of narrative which provides a ton of info besides the actual recipe.

I would absolutely, 100% recommend this book. Right now, you can buy it on Amazon for less than 25 bucks. It will be the best 25 bucks you’ll ever spend – especially when it comes to putting game on the table.

Holiday Libations From The Dry-Rubbed Rat
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Not that I am advocating the consumption of strong liquor, but…. I know that during the Holidays many of you like to entertain. Here are some great punch recipes, associated with my military background. These recipes were all pulled from the message board Army.ca

How about some “moose milk”?


Moose Milk – My personal favorite!

40oz Lambs Dark Rum
40oz Kahlua
40oz Vodka
4L Vanilla Ice Cream (the good creamy expensive kind)
4L eggnog

Mix all together, breaking up the ice cream a bit. Sprinkle nutmeg on top if you so desire. Stir occasionally as the ice cream starts to melt. Enjoy!


Artillery Punch

1 qt strong black tea
1 qt rye whiskey
1 bottle red wine
1 pint Jamaican dark rum
1/2 pint brandy
1 jigger benedictine herbal liqueur
1 pint orange juice
1/2 pint lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a large punch bowl with a block of ice. If found too dry, sugar syrup may be added. Decorate with twists of lemon peel.

and another..

Served by the Officer’s Mess of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada:
ATHEL BROSE (loosely translated “nectar of the gods”

1 lb honey 2 1/2 c steel cut oats (NOT rolled)
2 c. water
1/2 gallon scotch

Mix all ingredients( but scotch), warm gently on low heat only until blended. Remove from heat, let cool and stir in scotch. Allow mixture to soak overnight w/ secure cover. Strain oat mixture from liquid and discard (or use for bread). Place liquid in glass jar and swirl (or roll) daily for 2-4 weeks.Several months if you can stand it ! Try not to open the container as you go to keep contaminants out.
The longer you wait the smoother it gets! Strain one last time and serve to all!

Bull’s Milk???

Both the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess and the Officers’ Mess of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment serve versions of “Bull’s Milk” or Moose Milk on New Year’s Day. There are at least two recipes:–

Hot version. Heat slowly until warm:
• 80 oz Dark Rum
• 40 oz Brandy
• 40 oz Rye Whisky
• 12 qt Egg Nog

Cold version. May be kept cold by adding a block of ice after mixing:

• 120 oz White Rum
• 26 oz Brandy
• 26 oz Kahlua
• 3 or 4 gal Ice Cream (Chocolate, Vanilla or Neapolitan)
• 2 or 3 gal Milk or Egg Nog
• 1 qt Whipping Cream
• dash Vanilla Extract
• dash Nutmeg

Not so sure about this – not for the faint of heart:

“BOAT GAS”

What you need.

- 1 very big pale, or small garbage can ( clean ), or crock pot – and a ladle
- depending on the size of bucket used, buy about 4-5 frozen fruit punch mix – throw it in
- buy lemons, and limes, and strawberries etc and cut up and put in the bucket
- add about 1 bottle vodka, 1 bottle white rum, 2 bottles tequila ( basically whatever you want ) ( bottle generally 40 pounder)
- Stir up until the boat gas eats away at your ladle
- serve to a friend first and watch for negative effects. Usually let the “lab rat” sit for 5 minutes. If all checks out, go nuts. Enjoy the evening.

The fruit adds flavour, but also when all the booze is gone you can eat the alcoholic fruit, that way when your wife/girlfriend asks you if you actually ate anything healthy at the party ( or does that just happen to me? ) you can say “yes dear, i had fruit”

and finally…. “Windex”

“Windex” (later named “Prop Wash” by a rigged vote in the mess, damn those Air Force rotters … !)

- one part vodka
- one part white rum
- two parts Parfait D‘amour (a blue-coloured licquer by Marie Brizzard)
- dilute with Seven Up to suit your taste … while your taste buds are still functioning … (supposedly, 7Up is better than Sprite)
- makes a delightful, uniquely-coloured drink that will lift floor tiles (yup – I wouldn‘t make that one up) and will leave a mildly radioactive glow on your glassware (which we discovered at our wedding reception … )
- Theyd serve it to unsuspecting guests, and when they‘d ask about the blue colour we‘d explain that we‘d used Melita coffee filters and Windex … whereupon their faces would turn a shade of blue to match the drink!

Enjoy. I’m not responsible for you not drinking responsibly

Everglades Seasoning – A Review
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A friend at work recently gave me a bottle of Everglades Seasoning to try. She raved about it, and I couldn’t wait to try it.

Some recent Striper Fishing trips gave me just the right opportunity to try the seasoning.

I tried their All-Purpose Seasoning but they make some other sauces and rubs as well.

This is a great seasoning right out of the bottle with some pepper and citrus notes in there, along with some onion and garlic. Finally, there are some notes that you justttt can’t quite put you finger on. The blend is fresh and savory, and all of the flavors balance nicely.

I used the seasoning on some baked fish with lemon and dill – that dish turned out great. Where the blend really shined though was mixed in with my flour and cornmeal when I pan fried the striper filets. This was a huge hit with my family and that fish turned out great!

You can view lots of cool recipes on the Everglades website: RECIPES

You can buy their products online here: BUY Everglades products.

I didnt try this product on other meats but I know it would go great on chicken for sure. I can’t wait to keep experimenting!

I enjoy unique spices and rubs, and this one certainly falls into that category. Give it a try!

Review – Original Southern Kick Rub – by Streetside BBQ
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I’d like to thank the good folks of Streetside BBQ for sending me some Sweeet Heat Original Southern Kick BBQ rub for me to review.

Original Southern Kick BBQ Rub

The label says “Sweeet Heat” and that’s exactly what it is. I’ve tried “sweet n heat” rubs before, but I think this one has the most heat of all of them. The cool thing is, when you taste a little rub on your tongue, there is a lot of heat. Use it on your BBQ, and the heat turns into a nice glow.

I tried it a couple of ways. First on smoked pork chops. I rubbed them pretty heavy a few hours before smoking, then I smoked them until they were about 165 internal temp and then gave them a sear. These turned out great, and both the sweet and heat flavors came through nicely.

Next I tried it on chicken. Rubbed the chicken on both sides and refrigerated for several hours, and then put on the smoker.

I took the chicken up to about 170 and then raised the smoker temp to try and crisp up the outside a bit. I basted with a mustard based sauce and I really liked the way the flavors came through. They cook up with a nice balance of sweet and heat.

Great job by Streetside BBQ. This rub has a nice consistency. It’s flavor is fresh and bright, and it has some serious heat which mellows out nicely as it cooks. If you like rubs that have sweet and heat, this is a “must try”!

You can check out their full line of products here: Streetside BBQ Products