Sawmill Gravy



  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons butter


In a large skillet, combine the sausage, bacon, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the sausage is browned and crumbles.

Stir in the flour, salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the half and half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Stir in the butter until well blended.


The Only Venison Jerky Recipe You’ll Ever Need

ftd-venison-jerrrky-620x330Don’t get cute with your venison jerky recipes; stick with something proven like this one.

Most hunters love to eat the meat they have themselves hunted, and there’s no doubt that venison jerky appears near the top of the list of their favorites.

While the cuisine craze that has taken over the world of online recipes continues to influence even the most basic dishes (bacon-infused ice cream, anyone?), sometimes keeping things basic with common ingredients and avoiding extensive preparation and cooking procedures just makes sense.

After all, if you’re making something like jerky, you don’t want to get caught up in extreme flavors and take away from the great taste of venison or elk meat.

To all the passionate hunters, try this tasty recipe of marinated venison or elk jerky, and keep it simple. Feel free to add more complex ingredients if you wish, but the basis of a good jerky marinade starts with these essentials.

Here’s hoping your fall hunting season is successful enough to provide you with plenty of meat to make jerky with.


Marinaded Venison or Elk Jerky


For every 1 pound of venison or elk meat, you will need:

  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh garlic cloves, pressed or ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • red pepper flakes to taste


Using a sharp knife, slice your elk or venison into ¼-inch pieces. If you want softer jerky, slice it across the grain (it helps if it is still partially frozen), or if you like chewier jerky, slice it with the grain (it will need to be totally defrosted for this).

In a large bowl or pan combine the marinade and pour it over the meat. Cover with foil and place it in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours, stirring it occasionally to make sure all the meat stays covered by the marinade.

Drain the marinade from the meat and discard.

Place the jerky slices on dehydrator trays so that they are not touching.  Set the dehydrator to 155° and dehydrate for about 6-12 hours.

Check the jerky periodically to see that it does not get over-dried. It is done when it is completely dry yet still pliable, not crumbly.

The jerky should be stored securely, preferably in a zip lock bag, and eaten within a month if it isn’t frozen. Note that drying the jerky slightly longer keeps it better longer, but is harder to chew.


Crab Stuffed Salmon Roast

I love to eat all sorts of fish. My wife however, only eats salmon. Therefore, I have to get somewhat inventive when it comes to cooking salmon because for me, I can get tired of it after a while. For this recipe I used two large slabs of salmon and rolled them into what looks like a meat roast and then stuffed the inside full of crab meat, veggies, and cheese. It came out pretty much awesome. It also fed us for a quite some time because of all the meat in such a small space. This is rather easy to make, but it does take some preparation for it go off without a hitch.


Crab Stuffed Salmon Roast

Crab Stuffed Salmon Roast

Salmon Slabs Crab Meat Diced Mushrooms Ricotta Cheese Parmesan Cheese Fresh Spinach Salt and Pepper Fresh Dill Sugar So as you might think by the picture it looks pretty tough, but it really isn’t. Like most of my recipes, gathering all the ingredients is often times the challenging part. To get started, remove the skin from two large slabs of salmon and lay them on a cutting board or clean counter top.

Salmon slabs

Salmon slabs

Next, use the backside of a spoon and spread the ricotta cheese like spreading peanut butter on one slab. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, crab meat, spinach, and top it all off with the fresh dill.

Loaded side of salmon

Loaded side of salmon

For the next part, simply place the other salmon slab on top of the first sandwiching everything inside. Use some baking string and tie it up so it forms what looks like a roast. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and sugar all over the outside of the roast. At this point it should be fairly easy to manage. Put it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish and the amount of ingredients you decide to stuff the inside with.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

I used actual crab claw meat from the grocery store. I would have used the fake crab meat found in packages for a fraction of the price but my wife just refuses to eat that…so…the real stuff had to do. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and create you own to fit the seasons or whatever tastes good at the moment. If you would like to see more recipes and other outdoor related content, follow me on Twitter at@bradsmith319 or on facebook. Enjoy!

Pretty good stuff!

Pretty good stuff!





Cedar Plank Trout

I’ve found that far too often that the only time people are treated to a meal where fish fillets are baked in the oven on a cedar plank comes strictly from their imagination as they are watching TV personalities enjoy it on an outdoors show. On the outside looking in, this cooking method seems sort of intimidating because it does involve the idea of a fire hazard in baking wood in the oven, but there really just isn’t anything to it. For this recipe, I used rainbow trout as the fish of choice. Any fish would work, but I just love trout!

Cedar Planked Trout

Cedar Plank Trout ready for the oven!

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Wine Braised Duck

For the longest time braising always sounded to me like something French chefs did for dignitaries and well-to-do’s when they were out hunting fox working up an appetite while riding on a horse. It wasn’t until I gave it a try myself that I found out how incredibly easy it is to do. A dutch oven is a necessity when it comes to this style of cooking but it is absolutely worth the investment for the amazing meals that can come out of it. In this recipe, we are braising duck. A mallard to be exact. The slow steaming process of the dutch oven makes the meat so tender it practically falls off the fork. It also combines all the juices and flavor from everything else in this recipe to come together with every bite. Read more

Pheasant Pizza

Both my wife and I have been craving pizza lately. However, our New Year’s resolutions are still mostly holding strong as they pertain to eating better in in 2014. Unfortunately, that seriously put a cramp in our ability to order pizza delivery. Instead we decided to make our own thus telling ourselves this is a much better alternative than some of the major pizza makers out there. In sticking to our wild game roots, pheasant was the meat of choice to be added as the featured topping. Like most of my recipes, I try to make them as simple as possible. This pizza is no exception. Read more

Venison Tenderloins with Blackberry Sauce

For some people, the very thought of venison just turns their stomachs. Most likely, they have never had venison prepared the right way, and if they did, it was still probably pretty bad. A lot goes into to making good venison that is as equally appealing to the eye as it is to the taste buds. Hopefully this dish will help turn the tide back in venison’s rightful favor. The blackberry sauce in this recipe adds some extra flavor that really blends well with the sweet potatoes and pulls everything together. This is a simple recipe. One of the easier ones in my opinion. My wife proclaimed as she was declaring this recipe the best meal of the week, “This would make a wonderful fall dish”. Maybe so. But for me, anytime is a good time for venison. Read more

Perfect Pan Seared Fish

Have you ever wondered how restaurants always seem to serve the best looking pan seared fillets of fish that just look and smell amazing? Some of those pictures of this style of cooked fish in menu items at sit down restaurants and Friday-night-get-outs just beg you to order. Well it’s really not as hard as a $20-something menu item might lead you to believe. Actually, it all comes down to a little trick that a lot of chef’s around this country probably keep secret just for job security at their current place of employment. This simple secret? Add sugar. Read more

Cream Sauce for Fish Tacos

So as it turns out, my wife absolutely loves my fish tacos. I’ve been working on different sauces to go on these taco’s lately and finally found a keeper that will be my new go to when it comes to the topper that brings our tacos together. It’s a very simple recipe that requires a few fresh, canned, and pre-packaged ingredients so a little prep work before the meal is unfortunately required. Good for us though, it is completely worth it. It is also good for just a condiment so there are other opportunities for this recipe than just for tacos. Like most of my recipes, I rarely include the actual measurements. That is for you to figure out on your own to make this recipes yours. Read more

Bacon Basil Rainbow Trout

It’s been a long while since the last time I had rainbow trout. The other day a friend gave me a few fillets that he had and I decided that I wanted to try something special when cooking them up. This recipe utilizes just a simple pan sear for the fillets but includes an incredible tomato, basil, bacon saute’ designed to top the trout fillets creating a special flavor that would pair wonderfully with any white meat fish. It comes together very quickly and is also fairly simple to make. Read more