Scott Leysath is The Sporting Chef, a leading authority on the proper preparation of fish and game and a self-proclaimed meat hunter. He's the host of The Sporting Chef, Sundays at 1:00 pm ET on Sportsman Channel. He also hosts Dead Meat available on MyOutdoorTV and is the Executive Producer of The Fishmonger on Outdoor Channel, Mondays at 7:30 p.m. ET. Each program has a unique niche, but all put a special focus on the meat gleaned from hunting and fishing pursuits - how to handle it, how to butcher it, how to cook it, and particularly intriguing, how to cook lesser eaten animals and cuts of meat. Scott joins The Revolution this week to talk hunting and fishing for sustenance, educating people to increase the utilization and decrease waste of the game meats we hunt and fish for, the importance of supporting local food chains that include fisherman, farmers, ranchers and more.
Scott says that the underutilization and waste of the game meat and fish that we harvest each year is on the rise. There are different reasons for this underutilization, one of which is ignorance. There are many people out there that don't have a firm grasp on animal anatomy, they don't understand what all is available to them on the carcass for consumption, the different cuts, how to process an animal and as a result they'll leave behind plenty of delicious and edible meat. Others may abandon meat on the carcass simply because they don't know what to do with those cuts or how to cook it. Another element of underutilization and waste could be food snobbery. Some people only want to eat prime cuts of meat and they are willing to abandon everything else except those cuts. People will breast out a turkey and toss everything else, Scott says, or they'll take just the backstraps and tenderloins from a deer and treat the rest as second rate food. The same thing can be said of fish, people are quick to take the fillets but trash everything else. Education is a big part of solving this problem of underutilization and waste, he says. When people learn how to cook tougher cuts of meat and make them just as delicious as their prime counterparts, it can change minds. Scott talks about an episode of The Fishmonger that proves nearly every part of an animal has edible value if you know how to prepare it, even the eyeballs. He also highlights the way his show Dead Meat targets animals and fish that people don't think of as good table fare and then turns them into delicious dishes.
Is it practical or affordable to hunt and fish for a large percentage of your protein? Scott says it really depends upon how you approach your hunting and fishing pursuits. If you are hunting with a guide and paying large sums of money to take a trophy animal, if you are paying large sums for a lease to have access to huntable land, if you are hunting out of state and paying large license, tag and travel fees - these are all scenarios where a person can't expect to hunt for meat more affordably than purchasing it. However, if you hunt and fish on a more in-state, local level where you are able to keep your costs way down it's more than possible to affordably feed your family with healthy and delicious meat. Scott talks about the opportunity to use the food side of hunting to embrace and encourage new hunters to join the outdoor community. The more educated people are, the more that they find out where their food comes from, the more they will appreciate it, he says. Hunting with an emphasis on food is a real opportunity to advance conservation and hunter recruitment.
Scott also visits the connection that other cultures have with their food, and he highlights an upcoming trip to Puerto Rico where he'll hunt and eat iguanas.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Sporting Chef so be sure to watch the show and learn something new about cooking your wild game each Sunday at 1:00 pm ET on Sportsman Channel. Plus, don't miss the much talked about program The Fishmonger on Outdoor Channel, Mondays at 7:30 p.m. ET.