Q&A: Hunter & Wild Game Chef, Danielle, from Wild & Whole
We recently caught up with Danielle to talk about her passion for hunting wild birds, cooking and she even kicked in a few tips. Enjoy!
Danielle: The idea of starting a blog came about because I knew that my particular lifestyle was far from average.
I believe in eating mindfully, I strive to eat with intention and gratitude every day. I believe in slowing down, getting outside and reconnecting. I believe wholeheartedly in knowing where my food comes from. Wild and Whole is dedicated to this philosophy and my hope is to inspire others to do the same.
Because I am a creative soul at heart, I found that taking photos of the meals I harvested and of outdoor experiences was a way for me to express this meaningful way of life.
GoWild: What’s the one thing you’d want a stranger to know about your website?
Danielle: Not only do my husband and I hunt for all of our own meat, but it is prepared in a healthy way. All of my recipes are made using fresh, whole-food ingredients. You will also notice I have a lot of dairy-free, Paleo/Whole 30 and even vegetarian recipes on my site. I don’t eat like that 24/7, but I do lean in that direction and I enjoy sharing those options.
GoWild: What’s your favorite thing to do in the outdoors?
Danielle: I love doing anything that involves bringing my two dogs along (Marina, a golden retriever, and Zissou, a Deutsch Drahthaar). I take them everywhere I go—hunting, hiking, camping, and backcountry skiing. They even ride on our SUP boards when we take river trips.
GoWild: Do you have a favorite animal to hunt?
Danielle: Yes! Maybe it’s the native Texan in me, but dove hunting is hands-down the best! There is a feeling of excitement and anticipation for the kick-off of a new hunting season. It’s a great way to “target practice” and I also enjoy the hot weather. After a good dove hunt, I love kicking back with an ice cold beer and grilling some birds.
GoWild: How about your favorite animal to cook? Why?
Danielle: That’s a tough one. I love all of them (well, maybe not Merganser). It’s going to be a toss up between Turkey, Mallard, or Hungarian Partridge. The fat rendered from Turkey keeps the meat juicy and it’s so versatile. Duck is full of flavor and Huns are so very tender!
GoWild: Why are you excited to partner with us?
Danielle I am most excited to have the opportunity to share what I love with other outdoor enthusiasts. I think the aspect of community that GoWild is creating is fantastic, especially when it comes to hunting. I enjoy seeing what other people are hunting or fishing for in other parts of the U.S. that I can’t get in my home state. This app is a great way to connect and learn from others, I feel blessed to be apart of it!
GoWild: If someone was interested in hunting but was intimidated about processing and cooking their own meat, what would you say?
Danielle: For me, putting time into processing my own meat is a way of showing respect and gratitude for the animal. I take a lot of pride in knowing that no one else has touched my food, and I like being able to control every ingredient that goes into the meat.
If you're intimidated by this process, you have to just dive in and go for it! There are tons of tutorials on the internet, just take the time to do a little bit of research. A few tips about processing and cooking:
- A sharp knife is a safe knife. Use a quality boning or fillet knife to process your meat and keep it sharp. I personally use a boning knife (made by Global) that has some flexibility to it. It allows for more control and you can bend the blade to carve around bone - getting every bit of meat off.
- I always “dry-brine” by sprinkling salt over the meat hours before cooking to help tenderize and keep it juicy. This makes a pretty dramatic difference in wild game.
- Don’t over-cook the meat! Cook duck/goose breast like you would your steak and serve it about medium rare. Treat your pheasant like you would chicken, knowing that it takes way less time to come to the internal temperature of 165. Use a meat thermometer if you need to, pull it off the heat 10 degrees before it reaches the desired temperature, and let it rest under foil.