FALL IS THE PERFECT SEASON FOR OUTDOOR COOKING

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Luke Clayton, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    "FALL IS THE PERFECT SEASON FOR OUTDOOR COOKING"
    by Luke Clayton

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    Luke Clayton


    Cooler weather is not far away. I was loading up for a fishing trip yesterday morning before sunup and noted a subtle change in the feel and SMELL of the air that occurs about this time every year. The smell of decaying leaves and vegetation, stirred by those cool early morning breezes bring promise of cooler weather and hunting seasons. Mid day in Texas is still hot but relief is definitely in sight! I do a great deal of outdoor cooking throughout the year but dearly love to cook outside when the weather is cool.

    In the woods behind our house, I have a little ‘camp’ set up, complete with an older model camper, which is home to my hunting supplies and camo. I have my smokers, fish fryer, Dutch kettles, wok made from a plow disk, and BBQ grill out here. A circle of rocks outlines my campfire pit and around the pit I have cedar posts set into the ground and 2 X 12 planks nailed on top for seats. My 3D archery targets are set at varying yardages in the trees which allows me to warm by the campfire while honing my archery skills during the winter. Some good times and great meals have been enjoyed in this rustic setting that my wife demands I keep out of sight of the back yard! A couple of times during the winter, a few buddies and I have ‘sausage making day’ here which has become somewhat a celebration of the hunt. We choose a cold day, keep a roaring campfire going and transform everything from wild hog to antelope into a variety of smoked sausages. In case you might be a bit new in the arts of outdoor cooking, let me share a few very simple recipes that I guarantee will keep your guests coming back for seconds or THIRDS!

    DUTCH KETTLE QUAIL (or chicken wings)

    This one I learned from my buddy outdoor writer Bob Hood. Begin by pulverizing a couple rows of Ritz crackers. Melt a stick of butter in a Dutch Kettle (with recessed lid to hold coals). Coat quail breast and legs, or chicken wings, in the butter and roll in the Ritz cracker meal. Place in the kettle, cover and put coals on top and underneath. Cook for about 45 minutes then check for doneness.

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    Photo by Luke Clayton


    GRILLED STRIPED BASS - White bass fillets will also work for this dish but thicker striper fillets are ideal. Begin by dusting fillets with your favorite dry seasoning. Place a few pads of butter on top of each fillet and coat fillets with a generous amount of basil. Place on foil and grill in the smoker or over hot coals. The fillets are done when they flake easily. Squeeze lemon after the fillets are done and serve with seasoned rice. I often put a few pieces of plum or peach wood on the coals to add a bit of smoke flavor.

    PLUM COBBLER - In a Dutch Kettle, add one large can of plums or peaches, one stick butter and stir in a box of yellow cake mix. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and place coals on top and under the Kettle. Let cook for 45 minutes. This desert is ready when the surface of cobbler is a golden brown.

    GRILLED DOVE BREAST - I learned this unique approach to grilling dove breast in a camp in Mexico a couple years ago. Simply place a sliver of jalapeno into a small slit in the dove breast and wrap with bacon; this is the way we’ve been grilling dove breast in Texas for many years. The Mexican cook that prepared our meal of whitewing breast basted the dove with syrup while it was grilling. The slightly sweet flavor lends itself well to the rich flavor of dove.

    OUTDOOR COOKING SUPPLIES - For many years I have purchased my outdoor cooking supplies from Allied Kenco Sales in Houston. Everything from cast iron cookware to sausage and jerky making supplies are offered. They even stock casings for making link sausages at home. For a free catalog call 800-356-5189

    CATFISH CATCHING TIP - Now is prime time for catching channel catfish over holes baited with soured grain. Regardless which lake you fish, concentrate on water around 20 feet deep, around standing timber, close to a submerged creek or river channel. Bait the area with soured grain or cattle range cubes. On yesterday’s trip to Lake Tawakoni, we found the catfish were on a very subtle bite. They were simply mouthing the bait and often the only indication of a strike was slack line or a very slight tug. I was using a spinning reel with a very sensitive rod and experimented a bit, making comparisons of my catch ratio between this rig and my conventional bait casting rod/reel. I caught three times as many catfish, in the same period of time, with the lighter tackle. Granted, I probably would not have been able to wench a big catfish out of the heavy cover with the light rig, but all the fish we caught were in the 1.5 to 3 pound range. If you’re having trouble getting the hook set on tentative biting catfish, try switching to lighter tackle!

    When we launched the boat, I visited with an older gentleman with a kick tube. He had the look of a fellow that knew what he was doing. “You fishing for crappie?” I inquired. “Naw, cats” he said. “Been doing real well drifting for blues with cut shad.” When we returned to dock around mid morning with a good ‘mess’ of channel cats, the older fisherman was packing up his kick tube. “Y'all do pretty good?” he asked. “Lots of ‘fryer’ catfish,” I replied. “Come take a look in the ice chest,” says he. “The old gentleman had a box FULL of blue catfish weighing between 2 and 6 pounds. He landed them all from his little kick tube that was rigged with a graph and, yes, even a trolling motor! I hope to track him down soon and learn more of his unique technique!

    DOVE HUNTING UPDATE - This is shaping up to be a very good dove season. John Bryan runs the hunting on the Holt River Ranch near Graford in Palo Pinto County. Dove numbers are extremely high here. I’ve never seen a larger concentration of birds in Texas, anywhere. Bryan says he has a few openings for season hunting or day hunts. For more information, call 940-452-3415.


    Listen to Outdoors With Luke Clayton at www.catfishradio.com and check out the new fishing videos at lukeshotspots.com
     
  2. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    State:
    TN
    Great article Luke. Best time of year is when everything starts changing.
     

  3. Catmanblues

    Catmanblues New Member

    Messages:
    2,224
    State:
    S.E Ohio
    Awesome article with great info.
     
  4. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    Thanks very much, Guys.. The gentleman usng the kick tube rigged with graph and trolling motor really knew his stuff! I regret not having the time that day to photograph him and spend some time visiting about his technique. I am on a mission to go back, locate him again and do an interview. I never cease to be amazed at the interesting folks I encouinter when on the water or afield hunting. God Bless You, Luke Clayton
     
  5. Smellycat

    Smellycat New Member

    Messages:
    530
    State:
    Harrison Arkans
    Luke, Looks like you got a great set up. I may try something like that. I have a few acres, not much, but I really like your idea. Sounds like great times.