Monday, June 29, 2015

Turkey Popper Recipe

I found this recipe somewhere on the HuntingPA forums a few years ago, and it quickly became a camp favorite. I figured it was worth sharin' the recipe with y'all. Bear in mind, it works for just about any dead critter, not just turkey.

First off, a few notes. It's not really following a recipe so much as it is slapping some stuff together. A lot of the process is open to experimentation. Also, while they're not hard to make, it does take some time to prepare. If you can rope another person or two into helping, it goes much quicker.

The following recipe will make about 30-35 poppers.

Here's what I gather to start:

1 turkey breast
- Some folks marinate the breast prior to making these. I don't think it's necessary. Also, it's a lot easier to cube the meat when it's still 3/4 frozen.

1 pound of bacon
- Get the good stuff, otherwise it'll fall apart when you try to wrap it.

1 package of cream cheese
- It helps the cutting process if you throw it in the freezer for a half-hour to help firm it up. You can substitute other cheeses, but be advised that most of it will melt and fall off during the grilling process, whereas cream cheese doesn't.

1 jar of pickled jalapeño slices
- You can slice fresh jalapeños, but they turn out a lot hotter than the pickled slices. If you like hot stuff, give it a try. Your guests may not share your enthusiasm.

A pack of wooden skewers
- Soak these in water while you gather everything together. This will help keep them from burning up on the grill.

Next, I'll slice the bacon in half. Most bacon has 16-20 slices per pound, so this will give you 32-40 slices to work with.

Then I will cut my block of cream cheese into 35-40 slices.

I pick out 35-40 decent jalapeno slices from the jar and put them in a separate bowl, as to not expose the whole jar to raw turkey.

Then, I will cube the turkey breast into around 1" chunks.

Once all that's done, you can start assembling. Simply place a slice of cream cheese and jalapeño on your cube of meat, wrap a slice of bacon around it, then run a skewer through it to hold everything in place. I can generally get five or six poppers per skewer.

IMPORTANT: Once you're done, do not return any of the ingredients to their containers. Raw poultry, illness, etc. Some folks throw it away, but I just throw what's left on a skillet, scramble a few eggs and mix it all together. Makes for a good appetizer until the poppers are done.

I typically grill mine on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, then flip them and cook for another 5 minutes. YMMV depending on your grill. I've also heard that throwin' 'em in the smoker for a few hours is even better still, but I don't have a smoker to test that theory myself. Cookin' them on the stovetop would work to, in a pinch. If you have to, cut one open and make sure it's done, or get it to around 140° on a meat thermometer. I've been known to brush on some spicy BBQ sauce as they cook, but again, it's not really necessary and I don't worry with that much anymore.

The only bad thing about these is that they usually disappear in a lot less time than it takes to prepare them!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Random Pictures

Here's some random pictures I've snapped over the last few weeks. Individually, they ain't worth a full blog post, but they're worth a mention in a bulk post.

This was taken in early May, but it purty much sums up
June in Central PA. We haven't gone 48 hours without rain in
quite a few weeks.

Some folks bring awesome rides
to the bar.
I bet this ol' gal has seen a bar parkin' lot more than once though.
Enjoyin' some apple pie shine by the bonefire at Joe's graduation
shindig. In other news, Jesse and I, long past the age of frequent
recreational drinkin' games, repeatedly pummeled Joe and his
cronies at beer pong that night. It was quite satisfyin'.
It took a little work, but the girl and I spent a recent Sunday
cleanin' out the water feature in the back yard.

That stubborn chunk of corn stubble
rode a couple hundred miles before
fallin' off, after bein' stuck in the
lower grill cover for several days prior.
Happiness is fresh strawberry pie in the milkin' parlor...
Happiness is also a Monday mornin' turkey fry for breakfast,
while everyone else is at work. FYI, if you haven't tried
Lefty's Fish and Chicken Mix, I highly you getcha some.
Sunrise from the milkin' parlor.
A couple young bucks visited the estate the other night.
A side effect of all the rain is we've seen plenty of full
and double-full rainbows as of late.
Dinner was delivered to the house the other night. I took this
from my mailbox after almost runnin' 'em over as I was comin'
home from work.
I had a fuel wood cutting permit for Michaux State Forest
the other week, and since I couldn't borrow a bigger truck,
I just made do with the 'Yota. I don't want to do it too often
since she's only a four-banger, but it's good to know what
she's capable of if needed.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A nice buck

I saw this hoss the other day at the farm, only a few hundred yards from where I was lucky enough to get my buck in archery season last year. My groudhog gun was nearby, so I was able to get a few decent pictures through the scope.

 I'm still strugglin' to get outta turkey huntin' mode, but seein' this big boy helped.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Body Count '15 - #9 and #10

The girl alerted me to this'n traipsin' around the front yard a couple days ago. I didn't weigh her on the scale, but so far it's the biggest I've gotten this year at around an estimated nine pounds.

A few days later, I fell on the other side of the spectrum with this young'n at the farm. I may let a young turkey or deer pass, but groundhogs ain't that lucky. This'n went down as one of my gorier kills as of late, as the 55-grain varmint tipped bullet did quite a number.

Monday, June 22, 2015

At long last... Turkey Season, pt. 2

I really wish Google would get their shit together and get a decent mobile app for Blogger. With enough programmers and developers employed to fill an entire city, you'd think they'd have an app that you could actually do a half-decent blog post on, unlike their current offerin'.

But, I digress.

I finally found time to sit down at the computer, so hopefully I'll be able to catch up on a few posts.

First off, the second half of the PA turkey season. We were a little slow outta the gate this year, but the fellas managed to get on the board a few more times to make for another exceptional season outta our camp.

Tater needed only two days to account for two birds. The day after his success late in the second week, he was able to guide his friend Dylan to his first gobbler after an excitin' hunt.
Dylan's first gobbler, and a good one. 7" beard, 1-1/8" spurs, 19-3/4lbs.
That same mornin', Ron tagged a beautiful longbeard as well.
8-1/2" beard, 3/4" spurs, 19-1/2lbs
Memorial Day weekend, we were again able to host our friends Pete, Carey and TJ from Bear Track Outfitters. We hunted hard, but the two days they had with us, the bipolar weather made the birds fairly tough. I had the pleasure of guidin' Carey the first day of their hunt, but the birds just didn't cooperate whatsoever. TJ and I headed out on the evenin' of their last day and we saw several birds, but we just couldn't get them into gun range. After pullin' the trigger on the trophy of a lifetime his last visit, I was glad to see TJ still gettin' fired up with all those birds in front of us.
Carey and I headin' back to camp after a slow, but enjoyable hunt.

I got some great footage of this bird while huntin' with TJ,
but we just couldn't get 'em in gun range.
Dad and Danny were back at it again the last week, and Dad finally managed to connect on a fine longbeard. After his early season whiffs, I'd outfitted his Browning 10-gauge with a proper turkey choke and some Hevi-Shot Mag Blends. Dad loves to empty the gun, and I was a little nervous about springin' for the expensive stuff, but thankfully he was able to get it done with one shot.
10-1/4" beard, 1-1/8" spurs, 19lbs

Ron closed out our season with a jake. I was pretty proud of him for gettin' both his tags filled, since he didn't get many opportunities in the woods this year.
4-1/2" beard, 1/4" spurs, 14lbs

I didn't get to take as many pictures this year as I would have liked, but I did managed to snag a few. Here's a coupla notable ones...
When I get tired, I usually say screw it and just lay down
beside the tree for a few minutes and nap. Thus, this is
my view, and it's usually a good one.

A young buck browsin' along the edge of a well pad.

It's a little hard to see since my camera had trouble focusin'
through the foliage, but I had a black snake slither up to within
four feet of me.

Some sorta neat little critter. Never looked into what it was,
but I thought he looked neat against the wood grain of
my Charles Daly.

My final sunrise of the 2015 Spring Gobbler season. This
is one of the reasons why we set the alarm for dark-thirty.

All in all, it was another enjoyable and successful season. Although I personally only got one bird, I had plenty of excitin' hunts and close calls. Besides, the one I did get was thrillin' enough to last several lifetimes, and I'll take that trade-off. I'm always ecstatic when my friends and family get into the birds, and with Dad battlin' some health issues recently, I was more than thrilled when he called to tell me about his successful hunt.

The first week after the season ends usually brings a sigh of relief as we start catchin' up on long-forgotten chores and sleep. However, it doesn't take real long to start jonesin' for the spring woods again.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I had all intentions of doin' some serious bloggin' today. Sat down in my recliner for the first time in quite awhile, and wound on catchin' up on sleep instead.

So, for now I'll just leave you with this brick of culinary excellence I enjoyed a few weeks back...

I started with a stout chunk of deer loin, which I sliced in half like a loaf of bread. Next, I gave it a good rub down with a spicy barbeque sauce a friend had whipped up from scratch. I then threw in some cream cheese that needed used up (it had been frozen, and it gets crumbly after that) and a handful of pickled jalapeño slices. Put everything back together, wrapped it with bacon, and slapped it on the grill. I cooked it to an internal temp of 135°, grabbed a cold beer and chowed down.

From start to finish, it took around 45 minutes, and it was pretty damn delicious, if I do say so myself.