Food is one of the highlights of every trip. You know this essential fact if you’ve been hunting. Nothing compares to breakfast over a fire at deer camp on a brisk fall morning. No dinner is as good as one with the wild game over a fire, old hunting stories, and a few cold ones. From companionship with fellow hunters to the taste of delicious food after a long day outdoors, good meals make the hunting experience better.
But which meal is the best of the best? Lucky for you, we decided to make a list. It might differ from yours, but we reckon more than a few of these eatins’ are universally beloved. Don’t let your mouth water too much while reading—computers are expensive!
A hunting camp classic that is as good today as when your great-granddaddy was the camp cook. It tastes good, is easy to prepare, and is perfect for putting in a thermos and taking to the stand or blind. Put it in the crockpot in the morning and go hunting. Cook up some cornbread for dipping, sprinkle with some shredded cheese, add a dollop of sour cream and dig into one of the best meals for hunting camp (or home, for that matter).
9. Eggs, Home Fries, and Venison Sausage
Didn’t your mother tell you that breakfast is the day’s most important meal? Fill your belly with a good breakfast and avoid running back to camp to feed those mid-morning munchies. Wake up early, cook, and enjoy rock star status with fellow campmates. You can’t ever go wrong with eggs in the morning, and the home fries and venison sausage complete the classic meal while giving your breakfast that authentic “hunting camp” taste.
Okay, maybe we could’ve included bacon in the breakfast section, but when preparing meals for hunting camp, bacon is so much more than a breakfast food. Eat it straight, make a BLT for lunch, or wrap blue cheese stuffed backstraps in it. However, take plenty of bacon to hunting camp if you use it. This versatile food is bound to be your most popular camp food. But you didn’t need us to tell you that. Everyone loves bacon.
7. Deer Jerky, Peanut Butter Crackers, and Candy Bars
A hunter’s lunch of champions. Suppose you’ve eaten a proper hunting camp breakfast. In that case, your stomach should be full until at least 2 p.m. If you are trying to eat healthily or think you are developing scurvy from your hunting camp diet, substitute an apple for the candy bars. A light lunch like this will ensure you are starving when it comes time for dinner, the main event.
6. Grilled Backstrap & Potatoes
Sure, it might seem simple. But oftentimes, a simple meal signifies that you, or someone in your hunting camp, have had a successful hunt. Grill the backstraps to medium-rare with your favorite seasoning, bake or fry the potatoes, and enjoy the culinary spoils of the hunt. Add some red cabbage on the side for the perfect dash of added flavor.
5. Sloppy Joe
“I made em’ extra sloppy for you. I know how you hunters like em’ sloppy.” Sloppy joes are delicious and easy to prepare. They are also an excellent place to use up some ground venison. (There’s a reason your mom usually offered sloppy joes at the end of the week, before a fresh trip to the store.) Whip up a batch at your hunting camp and watch them disappear like bread off the shelves ahead of a hurricane.
4. Wild Game Stew
This dish is perfect for those hunters with patience. (And what else is a good hunter if not patient?) Fill a crockpot with wild game meat, potatoes, onions, celery, corn, tomatoes, a can of beer, a little water, salt, pepper, and whatever else is in the refrigerator or spice rack. Turn it on low. When you return from hunting, you will have a delicious stew to eat before processing whatever you just killed.
3. Venison Kabobs
Cut up venison and vegetables, skewer with a stick, and apply heat. It’s so easy a caveman could do it, and they did. Sure, the earliest recorded kebabs came from medieval Turkey, where soldiers roasted freshly-killed meat over campfires. But you can’t convince us that kebabs aren’t as old as the oldest cave paintings. Stick. Meat. Fire. If they could do it, so could you!
2. Gobbler Hot Wings
Not all hunting camps are deer hunting camps. To make gobbler hot wings, roll chunks of gobbler breast meat in breading and fry until breading stays on. Place the breaded pieces on a cookie sheet and drizzle with wing sauce. Bake the “wings” at 350 until they are cooked through, then give the pieces another coating of wing sauce and enjoy. Don’t be surprised if this one becomes a turkey camp tradition.
1. Pulled Pork Sandwiches
There comes a time when it happens to every hunting camp—the dreaded skunking. Camp members are left sitting around with bruised egos, wildly exaggerated excuses, and growling bellies. It pays to prepare for the day when no one brings home the meat and brings some from the store. Pulled pork sandwiches are tasty enough to get even the saddest hunter’s spirits back up and have him looking forward to the next day’s (or the following year’s) hunt.
This article was originally published on October 22, 2018.