Editor’s Note: The Best of Bud is a compilation of advice and recipes gathered by the late Ralph W. “Bud” Leavitt who retired as the Ban-gor Daily News executive sports editor and outdoor editor in the fall of 1988. He continued to write a weekly column until his death on Dec. 20, 1994. During his nearly half-century as the BDN’s outdoor columnist he penned more than 13,000 columns and one book, “Twelve Months in Maine.” He starred in his own TV program, “The Bud Leavitt Show,” which aired on the Hildreth Network for 20 years, and the nationally acclaimed “Woods and Waters” outdoor program on the Public Broadcasting System. While some of the folks Bud interviewed have died, their contributions and memories remain with us.
The following are some seasonally appropriate recipes as recorded by Bud:
Maine Yankee chuck
The best woodchuck are taken between early September and hibernation time. The animals in that period are at prime.
An old New England favorite, Yankee Chuck, starts by salting and peppering woodchuck meat to taste. Roll in flour. Put ¼ cup, or a little less, of vegetable oil in a baking pan. Place meat in greased pan and bake uncovered until golden. Use a 350 degree oven. When meat has browned, add just enough water to cover bottom of pan with chopped garlic clove in the water. Simmer slowly until water evaporates.
Use a 5-pound chunk of meat, rump, top of round, loin or rib. Roll and tie if necessary. Lard generously with bits of suet. Salt and pepper to taste. Place meat in a conventional roasting pan and roast in low oven, about 300 degrees, basting frequently with liquid shortening. Allow 35 minutes cooking time per pound. Carve across the grain of the meat. Serves six.
Since Maine has not had a legal moose season since 1935, Aziscoos roast moose should only be served with the curtains drawn and windows closed tight. Maine wardens have a very keen nose for moose shot and cooked when the law’s on.
A delicious way to serve a 5-pound venison roast.
Mix 5 cups vinegar, 5 cups water, three sliced onions, one sliced lemon, 12 whole cloves, six bay leaves, six whole peppercorns, 3 tablespoons salt.
Place roast in a large bowl, add mixture and let the meat stand 36 hours, turning occasionally. Remove meat and brown in hot fat.
Add 1 cup of the seasoning mixture, cover tightly and cook slowly until tender, adding a little water if necessary.
Not even Donat Bisque, Millinocket’s answer to the French Chef, can improve on that one as a venison special. Or I’m willing to bet he can’t, providing it’s a small bet.
Deer Camp Turkey
Six turkey legs
½ teaspoon barbecue sauce
½ teaspoon chili powder
7 tablespoons shortening
1 cup flour
Wash turkey legs and pat dry. Salt, pepper to taste. Roll in flour and brown in hot fat. Place skillet in oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Pour barbecue sauce over legs and sprinkle well with seasoning. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for about 90 minutes or until tender. Baste turkey every 10 minutes or so. Feeds six hungry deer hunters, or six bird-watchers, or six backpackers, though not all at the same sitting.
Goes well with a premium Aroostook potato and a fresh mess of fiddlehead greens.