Back a few years ago when the Paleo Diet hit full force like a tornader in an Alabama trailer park, I wondered just how many folks would go full-blown caveman and stick with it.
(First, we Alabama folks say tornader and know trailer parks are like magnets for them. After one rolls through you’ll see television reports with gap-tooth Jimmy saying something about a “roarin’ train sound” before Wheel of Fortune went off the teevee and he jumped in the bathtub. The intellectual description would be “a tornado in a pre-fabricated home community” but that’s a little hoity-toity. No one in a pre-fabricated home community eats potted meat with saltines, wears Roll Tide underwear daily or believes their second cousin who makes good money as a secretary at the pulpwood plant would be a potential date. Mobile home communities probably don’t have a lot of hardcore deer hunters, either. Trailer parks do. Maybe. Just guessing.)
The Paleo Diet involves eating meat, nuts and berries but avoids processed foods, dairy or other things cavemen wouldn’t have had. That’s it in a nutshell. (Heh, no pun intended). Poor cavemen. They didn’t have cheese curds, poutine, New Glarus Spotted Cow, pizza, Nacho Cheese Doritos (the best chip ever), Haagen-Dazs, bourbon, butter, fried chicken, boudin, coffee or other great stuff. Yes, I know those aren’t good for you. That’s kind of the point of the diet, though. Cleanse the body, establish a new dietary lifestyle, improve your health and so on.
I like the idea of the diet. Who doesn’t like meat, nuts and berries, other than vegans? Meat, nuts and berries are available pretty much anywhere. I can walk through the woods here in the Southeast and find something to snack on, more than likely, even if it’s a crawdad in a stream, blackberries or muscadines, a cattail, pecans … something. If you have a gun or bow then you could whack a hog, deer, squirrel or some kind of furry meat-provider.
But I also like all those terrible foods I listed above, too. Which is why I suspect Geraldine DeRuiter probably enjoys some of those things, too. She’s the acclaimed writer of The Everywherist.com, which has her columns that made my wife and I snort-laugh. Thanks to my old college pal Kirsten for posting DeRuiter’s utterly fantastic column about the Paleo Diet on Facebook, I now have a new writer to enjoy.
DeRuiter describes the diet thusly: “The Paleo diet demands that you only eat what cavemen did, which means that you need to chew raw woolly mammoth meat for hours with a mouth full of rotting teeth, and wash it down with a nice refreshing gourdful of mud.”
She said she’s kidding, but I suspect she believes that. I do. Except for the wooly mammoth meat part. I’ll bet we could substitute deer, elk, warthog, nutria or some other leg o’ something and get the diet job done. I won’t be eating the sad carrot mush cookies she describes, though, and you’ll have to read her blog to see why.
Or, one of the reasons why. We have a cat. I’ve looked into that abyss.
Uncle Ted Nugent probably could provide some nutritious, succulent venison for Paleo folks. Here’s one of his favorite ways to prepare grilled goodness:
By Ted Nugent
Though this favorite Nugent family recipe is as basic as flesh and fire, and quite honestly, all we need is flesh and fire to truly appreciate the superiority of venison, this little twist on tradition seems to maximize the natural flavor of our favorite meat.
I was raised on Vernors Ginger-Ale, a Detroit-brewed soda that is absolutely delicious, served hot or cold. It’s effervescent!
Take your favorite cut of meat, (can you say BACKSTRAPS!) and after proper cold aging and the careful butchering and slicing off of all the silver skin, fat and membrane, lay thinly sliced medallions in a glass dish deep enough so that a can of Vernors and a cup or so of quality olive oil, or oil of your choice, cover the slabs.
Add a dash of your favorite seasonings over each medallion, cover in Saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. We like ground ginger, paprika, oregano, garlic salt and garlic pepper. But over many years of creative experimentation, we have discovered that you just can’t go wrong with any seasonings of your choice.
Get creative, go wild, hit that spicy road less traveled already!
The next step is also very subjective, and though a well-seasoned cast iron skillet is always killer, as is usually the case, nothing quite compares with local seasoned hardwoods and coals. Mesquite, oak, cherry, apple, hickory are all good, as long as flames are kept under control, any good wood works great.
We like to combine dry seasoned wood with fresh cut green chunks to keep the smoke going and minimize the flames.
We tong each medallion still dripping with the seasoned Vernors and oil, and lay them over red hot, golden, orange coals.
Venison is always best when rare to medium rare, so we singe them quickly over these hot coals, turning them but once apiece. It only takes a minute or two per side as long as the coals are real hot.