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Thread: Cooking Spruce Grouse...Thought Here

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    Member TruBluTex's Avatar
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    Default Cooking Spruce Grouse...Thought Here

    I've been finding a lot of folks here cut the breasts off in strips or small cubes and fry 'em in some way. I was wondering if anyone has ever cooked 'em whole, still attached to the breast bone, like one would do with a cornish hen. I reckon the same marinading method would apply, provide a stuffing in the cavity (optional), simply baste and cook 'em in the oven. I suppose the real trick would be make sure the temperature is set right and cooked at the right duration. Reckon a good temperature would be around 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.

    Any thoughts from the Spruce Grouse experts? This is gonna be a new adventure for me...

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    Member TruBluTex's Avatar
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    Correction on cooking time: 10-20 minutes. Typo...

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    I have found after a great many years of hunting in Our Alaska, that if you don't shoot the stupid thing in the first place. Cooking them is not an issue.

    Or as my better half explained it to me some thirty years ago, "You bring home another one, and you'll eat it"

    This has helped to guide me in those moments of indecision.

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    I'd be more inclined to try that with a ruffed or blue. The red meat just doesn't meet my poultry expectations...

    I'll try it with a blue this next year and let you know how it goes.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

  5. #5

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    Spruce hens are sorta palatable IF you get them BEFORE the snow falls, and IF you soak the meat in buttermilk for at least 24 hours, or salt water ans wine. These draw some of the nasty out and actually tenderize it.

    Concerning eating spruce hens, my wife agrees with Big Al's.

    After the snow falls and they go to eating mostly spruce boughs, I prefer to eat a well-boiled shoe. Tastes better........
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawken54 View Post
    Spruce hens are sorta palatable IF you get them BEFORE the snow falls, and IF you soak the meat in buttermilk for at least 24 hours, or salt water ans wine. These draw some of the nasty out and actually tenderize it.

    Concerning eating spruce hens, my wife agrees with Big Al's.

    After the snow falls and they go to eating mostly spruce boughs, I prefer to eat a well-boiled shoe. Tastes better........
    That is so strange to me. I've only ever had one bad batch... and it was mostly ptarmigan.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    Member TruBluTex's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback, Guys. I bagged two of 'em early October, field dressed 'em, and then vacu-sealed 'em after gettin' home. I'm planning on goin' back out this Thrusday but imagine the area is has snow on it. HOPEFULLY, I will run into some Ruffed Grouse instead. Needless to say, I gotta make my first attempt at fixing Spruce successful, otherwise, my wife will never touch anything I bring home from the field. I'm not even sure where I'm goin' will have any Ruffed Grouse in the vicinity but hopeful. Needless to say, I'm still learnin' what areas to go and have struck out on several occasions.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Your first thought, when that first spruce hen bite gets in your mouth is, if I soak them in kerosene first, maybe..... Don't fool yourselves friends, it won't help!

    I do wonder why anybody wants to shoot a bird you can club.

    "SAVE THE SPRUCE HEN FOR SURVIVAL" They just might burn like a roman candle.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Ah...

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Your first thought, when that first spruce hen bite gets in your mouth is, if I soak them in kerosene first, maybe..... Don't fool yourselves friends, it won't help!

    I do wonder why anybody wants to shoot a bird you can club.

    "SAVE THE SPRUCE HEN FOR SURVIVAL" They just might burn like a roman candle.
    ...you're just bitter. Spruce hen eats as well as any other bird if you know how to prepare/cook it. But that's OK. More for me.
    The smaller that government becomes, the bigger my support for it will be. The opposite is also true.

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    Sayak, do you have any wild stickleback recipes too? My freezer's full and I am wondering how to prepare them.

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    ...you're just bitter. Spruce hen eats as well as any other bird if you know how to prepare/cook it. But that's OK. More for me.
    Again we agree Sayak.

    I consider spruce grouse to be excellent (not good but excellent) table fare. It has something of a heart/liver flavor to me, but with a meatier texture.... as far as I'm concerned, that is the best of both worlds!

    I've eaten them fried, grilled, and jerkied without a single complaint. I've used them in stew, over rice, and with potatoes and gravy in several versions with seconds... maybe thirds, and leftovers!

    Al clean em in the field.

    The only bad dose I ever got was when a friend and I killed a mess of ptarmigan without cleaning them on site... That was the learning curve...

    I like them.

    I'll send you a pm Tex.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Ptarmigan, I have no issue with at all, I've killed thousands over these many years. All with .22RF rifles, never a shotgun and always in the spring.

    Now you hit on the matter of taste, that's fine. Liver-worst. I hate liver the worst and do not like the taste of blood. If that is what you like, I have no issues with that.

    Just remember that, the blood taste is not to every one's pallet. Nor, I might add, the taste of turpentine.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Talking Gremlin. you @#$%^&!

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Gremlin View Post
    Sayak, do you have any wild stickleback recipes too? My freezer's full and I am wondering how to prepare them.
    How would I have an recipes? I always release these noble wild game fish. Shame on you for even thinking about harvesting them.

    Please imagine, if you will, the magnificent fight from one of the little beggars, the landing, the gentle cradling of the body while unhooking from the barbless hook, then the gentle release into the current. Ah, my friend, that is the way of the outdoorsman. Eat them? Never!

    (My wife says dip them in seal oil.... alive.... make sure you swallow them head first)
    The smaller that government becomes, the bigger my support for it will be. The opposite is also true.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    I have found that if you eat them (grouse) fresh, they are considerably better. Once they have been frozen, the gamey taste comes out and they require some further prep. I'm with Soggy and Sayak though, I have yet to get a bad one. I eat a lot of them full of spruce needles as well as berries and can't tell a huge difference between the two.

    I'm not sure how cooking the whole bird would turn out. Seems like they are a bit on the lean side to withstand roasting. I'd be sure to use one of the oven bags like they use for turkeys though.
    AKmud
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    I agree with Al about the liver taste. I don't kill or eat ducks or spruce hens. Ptarmigan is fine as are sharptails and ruffies.
    pete

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Here's the skinny:

    - Head shot only (gut-shot tastes like French roast coffee);
    - "breast" the carcass immediately and cool it if you can;
    - take home and soak in cold salt water and/or vinegar water overnight;
    - cook with plenty of spices and oils (I prefer them grilled on a barby while constantly brushing them with a mixture of melted butter, worcestershire sauce, tobassco, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning).

    I avoid winter chickens for the needle taste. Berry fed ones are the best (Sept).

    And yes, ptarmigan rule, but they're all in the same family, right?
    The smaller that government becomes, the bigger my support for it will be. The opposite is also true.

  17. #17

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    I do as you describe. I mix up a mix of flour, spices etc., coat the breast, sear in a pan w/olive oil. After a crust has formed I lay the breast in a glass roasting pan, lay a piece of bacon on each breast, pour some red wine in the pan but not on the breasts, cover and cook for 40 min @ 300F or so. The last 15 min I uncover to dry the top and crisp the bacon a bit just for texture.

    I think the best thing to do is soak in salt water this seems to remove the blood.

    Pete

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    You guys forgot the last step of the recipe.

    Remove from pan, toss the contents. Eat the pan!

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default ....

    ... bitter....
    The smaller that government becomes, the bigger my support for it will be. The opposite is also true.

  20. #20
    Member TruBluTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    I have found that if you eat them (grouse) fresh, they are considerably better. Once they have been frozen, the gamey taste comes out and they require some further prep.
    Uh-oh! Well, lesson learned there for the next time but reckon I'll see how they will turn out when it comes time to prep & eat 'em. I appreciate everyone's personal tips and will definitely put it to use.

    BTW, finally got my first Ruffed Grouse this past Thursday! Funny story....stopped to take a whizz and slung my shotgun behind me. Started my business, looked to my left, and not 12 feet way a Ruffed popped up from under a fallen tree. Swung my shotgun over perpendicular to the bird, fired, brought the bird down, and continued with my business.

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