Thursday, October 6, 2011

Emily Maass on Local Food in ALASKA! Part 2

Hello again from Alaska! Summer and fall may be prime fishing months, but colder weather means hunting season.

Yes, hunting. Vegetarians may want to avert their eyes, but for those of us who eat meat, hunting is a reality we have to acknowledge. No matter how free range, organic, or humanely your hamburger was raised, it was still a living creature at one time and somebody had to kill it so you could eat it.

OK, moving forward. Thousands of people travel to Alaska every year to hunt big game like moose, caribou, bear, and dall sheep. Locals hunt too, but they tend to hunt for food first and trophy second. Moose and caribou (aka wild reindeer) are most widely prized kills. One moose can provide all the red meat your family needs for an entire year!  The best part is that when a hunter has their kill processed they get to pick how the meat is divided and seasoned. How many pounds of ground meat? Steaks? Chops? Roasts? Breakfast links? Chorizo? Polish?

Nobody in my house hunts, but we only eat red meat sparingly so we are content with relying on gifts of game meat. I say gifts because game meat is so “local” that you can’t even buy it. You have to kill it yourself or receive it as a gift. Hunting out of season or selling game meat or game trophies are criminally punishable offenses.

Fortunately we have lovely, generous friends who often share their bounty with us. This summer we bought our first house, so some friends gave us a couple pounds of moose sausage as a house warming gift.

Yep, moose sausage. The best hotdog you’ll ever eat. It’s lean, tasty and local.

Moose sausage veggie scramble is a delicious and super easy way to use game meat sausage and whatever vegetables you have on hand. Just cut up the sausage and a mix of any veggies you have on hand. Season with salt and pepper. Throw the sausage in a pan to render the fat, then throw in the veggies and let it all cook down together. So simple, so tasty!

There’s not really a recipe for moose hotdogs, you just defrost the sausage and throw it on the grill. We use whole grain hotdog buns with the usual hotdog toppings. Moose hotdogs are particularly good with grilled vegetables, baked beans or baked french fries.

Unfortunately for most of Sarah’s readers, moose hotdogs will not likely be on your plates anytime soon. However, if you visit Alaska and make some friends, maybe they’ll have you over for dinner and serve you some moose chili, spaghetti with moose meat sauce, or a good ole moose polish. If all else fails, just go to one of our local diners or street vendors and order up a reindeer sausage on a bun or on the side of an egg breakfast. It’s the next best thing.

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