Game in Gravy

Junior Doughty

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I used squirrel, but this recipe works just fine with just about any kind of meat. You can use squirrel, rabbit, chicken, duck, venison and beef or pork. You can even add vegetables and make a stew.

I used a Lodge 2 quart, 8", #8CO2 Camp Dutch Oven. It's the perfect size Dutch oven for 1 or 2 people. In fact, mine is my favorite Dutch oven, and when my ship comes in I'm getting another one. Big Dutch ovens are great for scout troops and families, but they're terrible for crotchety old bachelors like me. My little 2 quart Camp Dutch Oven also fits the burners on my gas stove. The legs sit perfectly down in the grate.

You'll need:


            1 sectioned squirrel (about 1 lb)

For the roux:

            1/4 cup oil
            1/2 cup flour

Everything else:

            5 cups water more or less
            1 tsp garlic powder
            1 tsp salt
            1/2 tsp black pepper
            2 tsps Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce

A campfire roux
  Any Cajun would be proud of this roux. (The white specks are reflections.)
Begin by making a roux with the oil and flour. It's easy to make a roux over a campfire, especially if you're using a tripod or a rope hanging from a limb. The key is the size of the fire. Most everybody builds a fire at least 20 times too big. Their fire gets so hot they need a 10 foot pole to stir their gravy. We're not simmering a cow here; we're simmering a squirrel.

Butt 4 chunks of firewood together into an X with maybe a 4" x 4" space in the middle and use twigs and sticks and build a small fire in the space. As it burns down, add sticks until you've got a bed of coals. Notice in the above photo that my fire is smaller in diameter that my 8" pot. Simply lower the pot to the point where it touches or almost touches the coals. It will get plenty hot enough to make a roux, and you won't break a sweat as you squat there and stir.

Adding the meat
  Use tongs if you have them.
When your roux looks nice and brown and—wonder of wonders!—you've managed that without burning it or yourself and you're starting to think you're the King Of The Campfire Cooks, add the meat to the pot.

Stir the meat-roux mixture for a minute or so until the meat turns white on the surface. That means that it has started to cook. Your roux will turn lumpy, but don't worry. If you want some chopped bell peppers or onions in your gravy, now's the time to add them. Just throw them in there with the meat.

Ready for the water and spices  

This is what your meat-roux mixture will look like when you're ready to add the water and the spices.


Adding the water and spices. Add the water and spices slowly or good bye cast iron pot, and in the fire goes the meat and roux.

Please note that this frugal outdoorsman premixed his water and spices in an empty soft drink jug.


Simmering. We're now ready to relax and let the pot simmer. When the mixture begins to boil, put the lid on the pot and raise the chain or the rope a couple of inches. Watch your fire. If it gets too low, use your toe and nudge the firewood chunks closer together. You want small flames only. Steadily rising smoke and no flames is better.

If you're simmering something tender, say young squirrel, rabbit, or chicken, simmer for at least 2 hours. If you're simmering something tough, say old squirrel or venison or beef, simmer for 3 hours. Add water if the gravy gets too thick. Add a little flour or cornstarch if the gravy isn't thick enough.

Ready to eat!
  Click here to see how I made the tripod.
Here we are—ready to eat after 2 hours of simmering. Notice that even with more than 2 hours of burning, my original 4 chunks of firewood are less than 1/2 burned. As you can see, when I said use a small fire I meant it. Use a small fire.

Serve this mighty fine squirrel in gravy over rice or mashed potatoes. Sop the gravy with a cathead biscuit. Chase with buttermilk. Fill belly. Sleep. Worry about how the po' folks live.

Guess what? Some of us live and eat mighty damn fine.

Copyright 2001 by Junior Doughty

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