From Field to Table Cooking

Whenever possible we try to hunt, gather or grow our own ingredients so that we know that we have the best quality ingredients, harvested at their peak.  The French seem to never lost sight of this important rule, but as Americans we are only now coming back to these roots with the whole “From Farm to Table” concepts, which is the latest buzz word in the restaurant industry.  We have been doing what I call from field to table since the beginnings of my cooking, in fact, it formed the basis for my learning to cook, as I had these great ingredients, but didn’t always know how to use them to their best advantage.

The most important factor to elevate your cooking to create quality restaurant level food is very simple?  Obtain the same quality ingredients as the famous chefs get in their special orders and first pickings through the delivery trucks.   Such ingredients yield better results than buying a new gadget such as the immersion circulator that Mario Batali uses.  Instead buy the same tiny waxy golden potatoes or the rainbow shard, the real farm fresh eggs, the exact baby arugula carried by hand and cook them at their peak.

By |March 2nd, 2015|Cuisine|Comments Off on From Field to Table Cooking

A Shooting Party at Lunch

This antique chromolithograph folio print on paper dating to circa 1880’s reminds us that lunch should be an important part of any shoot.  A few of our favorite picnic recipes, which started from our days afield with the Blue Grouse Hippies include:

Lentils ala Cheverny

Blue Grouse MacNuggets

Salade Nicoise

We hope to find you picnicking along the Sporting Road!





By |June 30th, 2013|Cuisine, Recipes, Wingshooting|Comments Off on A Shooting Party at Lunch

Penne all’arrabbiata with Tender Belly Sausage

I have been making this dish since college days and the first version of it came to me from a penne all’arrabbiata recipe, which translates as “enraged penne.”  The sauce can be hot to very hot, depending upon the amount of dried red pepper that you decide to use.  The dash of vodka and heavy cream enhances the flavor and color.  This dish only takes about 20 minutes.

But the real revelation to this dish came to me tonight, after reading my favorite magazine, Garden & Gun, which is a Southern Living type of magazine only more hip, with shooting and lots of Southern recipes, mostly pork.  Only there was no pork this week.  So left feeling hungry, I headed off to the kitchen.

I grabbed some Tender Belly Franks and they say they call them “franks because of the extra effort we put into them. They are uncured and 100% Berkshire pork from the hind leg, coarse-ground like wonderful Old World sausage. They are applewood-smoked and have a subtly sweet and delightfully salty taste. The snap our frank makes when you bite into it is exactly what you would expect….Perfection.”  But, these delightful little sausages look like small kilbsa sausages, but they have a taste that is out of this world.  There were barely enough left to make the pasta, as my girls started eating the tasty bits of sausage as fast as I could fry them up.

I now prefer to use my Quick Chunky Tomato Sauce instead of the store-bought sauce, but I wanted to give you the original recipe for my friends and family who complain that all of my cooking is becoming too time consuming.  The Quick Sauce only takes 20 minutes […]

By |March 25th, 2013|Cuisine, Recipes|Comments Off on Penne all’arrabbiata with Tender Belly Sausage

Tender Belly Berkshire Dry-Rub BBQ Spare Ribs

We went through St. Louis at Christmas time.  Just to make sure these were the best ribs, we stopped at several St. Louis BBQ joints and I can proclaim these ribs are still the best.  And you don’t need to set up an all day smoker box, nor a hillbilly hot tub (but a hilly billy hot tub helps to hold the beer once you have soaked and drained it), to make them at home.  You can make these ribs completely in the oven!  I know, heresy in many places, but true.

We have tried a bunch of rib recipes including the famous Willingham’s World Championship Ribs and making my own BBQ sauce, but I keep coming back to this favorite recipe, which comes from my Uncle Tom.  The recipe and technique are simple and still tastes best for all the homemade ribs that we have found.  But we were given some Tender Belly Berkshire pork ribs which make this recipe complete, as it can now be proclaimed the best!

In a cooking bag add:

a rack of Tender Belly Berkshire pork ribs
12 oz. of Coca-Cola
1 T. vinegar

Marinate all ingredients overnight with meat side down (the ribs curving upwards) in a Reynolds oven bag.

Take out of bag and season with salt, pepper, and 1/4 c. of Emeril’s Bayou Blast (see my spices and seasonings page for the recipe).

Heat a grill to hot and put on the grill for a total of 6-8 minutes turning once.  Then 335°F in the oven for two hours to two and one-half hours on a foil lined baking sheet, covered with another sheet of foil.  Remove the top sheet of foil for the last 10 minutes 20 minutes.

By |March 24th, 2013|Cuisine, Recipes|Comments Off on Tender Belly Berkshire Dry-Rub BBQ Spare Ribs

Tender Belly Berkshire Pork Bangers and Mash

Our friend and new-found pork purveyor, Steven Wiskow, gave us some Tender Belly Franks to try out here at the château.  I’ll be honest, as always here at the Sporting Road, as we aren’t selling anything and turn down all requests for advertising—I looked at them and said, “What in the hell are we going to do with these?”  They are uncured Berkshire pork franks, and they say that they “call them franks because of the extra effort we put into them. They are uncured and 100% Berkshire pork from the hind leg, coarse-ground like wonderful Old World sausage. They are applewood-smoked and have a subtly sweet and delightfully salty taste. The snap our frank makes when you bite into it is exactly what you would expect….Perfection.”

Alright, so we have a package of uncured Berkshire pork franks.  I thought of calling Gordon Ramsay, but it was too late in England to ring him up, and after a day of fox-hunting, dinner time here in the U.S. was quickly approaching with two girls waiting for my creation.  Having spent many days putting food on the table hunting, my family knows that I can whip about anything up into a quick dish thanks to my mother.  And, since County Berkshire is home to Britain’s oldest breed of pig, I had the revelation that they must have made the traditionally English bangers and mash from these links, probably since the beginning of time, and since I couldn’t find Gordon on the speed dial, I put down the phone and picked up the skillet.

In a large skillet over medium heat, I cooked the sausages until well browned.  And, since they said they were “uncured” but they looked cooked […]

By |March 24th, 2013|Cuisine, Recipes|Comments Off on Tender Belly Berkshire Pork Bangers and Mash

Berkshire Pork Chops

If you are a fan of the F-Word, you know your Berkshire pork from Gordan Ramsay’s infamous backyard Berkshire’s, Trinny and Susannah.  The flavor and texture of Berkshire pork sets it apart from other breeds. It has a distinctive, rich, buttery taste with unparalleled juiciness, tenderness and depth of flavor. When you cut into Berkshire pork you see dark red, rich color with exquisite intramuscular marbling.

As you know, here at the Sporting Road château, we only post these recipes for our family and friends.  We aren’t advertising, selling anything or have any ulterior motive other than posting the best recipes we have found in our travels along the Sporting Road throughout the word.  Our pork belly commodity trader friend, Steven Wiskow, was so excited about his new Tender Belly pork products that he gave some to us to try here at the château.  As I turn down making money from this site, as any gentleman should, and since the author remains anonymous, we’d tell you if they suck, as we only feature the best recipes here for our family and friends.  But, as it turns out, this Berkshire pork doesn’t suck, in fact you can’t find any better pork, anywhere.

Tender Belly writes:

We work in partnership with a co-op of 30 Iowa farmers (all small, family-owned farms) to supply us with the finest meats available.
The methods used to procure the meats are environmentally responsible and fully traceable with strict codes of responsibility and humane animal husbandry in effect.
The animals are naturally raised and humanely processed locally.
The animals are fed a 100% vegetarian diet, with no rendered animal byproducts, no antibiotics and no hormones.
Our product is the first cut at the […]

By |March 24th, 2013|Cuisine, Recipes|Comments Off on Berkshire Pork Chops

Tender Belly Bacon in the Microwave

If you think that cooking bacon in the microwave is a bit déclassé, as we did, try it for yourself.  We picked up this technique from Jacques Pepin who writes, “I learned how to cook bacon in the microwave oven from my wife and I now never cook it any other way.  It’s easy and crisps the bacon uniformly.”

While you can use a bacon microwave tray which have been around for some time now, we find them unnecessary and they still have the tendency to splatter.  We find that two paper towels on a plate, laying the bacon side-by-side and two more paper towels on top of the bacon work just as well as the specialized tray, and it avoids any splattering.  Cook on high for 4 minutes, then do 30 second intervals, until it is as crisp you like it.

If you are not using the best bacon on the planet, Tender Belly Bacon, you can also brush the top of the bacon with maple syrup or honey to impart a delicious taste.  If you have some Tender Belly, nothing else is needed as it already has their special seasonings and mojo added to these special tender belly bacon cuts.  Bon appetit!

Tender Belly writes, “Truly great bacon is the most honored legacy of a glorious tender belly! The heritage pigs we use for our bacon are from Iowa and are naturally grown: NO antibiotics, NO hormones, NO gestation or farrowing crates and they’re fed a 100% vegetarian diet. With their exceptional meat to fat ratio they are the perfect belly. Our signature maple and spice rub is applied, the bellies are dry cured and then cherrywood-smoked to perfection. We spared no expense with ingredients, process or time […]

By |March 24th, 2013|Cuisine, Recipes|Comments Off on Tender Belly Bacon in the Microwave

A Valentine’s Day Feast at the Château

For an interesting article on the tradition of Saint Valentine’s Day (there are actually three such saints and the legends are old and varied) visit  After sending your loved ones a handwritten card and bringing them some flowers, how about serving them a meal at home.  At the château, we serve this Valentine’s Day favorite five-course French meal:

Steamed Crab Legs


Cheese Fondue

Steamed Lobster

Brussels Sprouts

Chocolate Fondue

Café and Brandies

By |February 16th, 2013|Cuisine, Recipes|Comments Off on A Valentine’s Day Feast at the Château

Fleur De Sel de Camargue

Our favorite salt for cooking or for seasoning is the French Fleur De Sel de Camargue.  Fleur De Sel de Camargue is hand raked and harvested in the Brittany salt flats of France. The name Fleur De Sel comes from the aroma of violets that develops as the salt dries. Only the premium, top layer of the salt bed is used. Each signature container is sealed with a cork top and signed by the Salt Raker who harvested it.

We keep a salt pig or small jar of this by the stove, for use in cooking.  And, after allowing to dry out of the tin for a few days, it is perfect to add to our salt grinder, for seasoning as well.  We use it on everything.  As it is very salty tasting, a little bit goes a long way, which also reduces your sodium intake, as you need less to add a “salty” flavor to any dish.

It is readily sourced from Salt Works or gourmet grocers.

By |October 26th, 2012|Cuisine|Comments Off on Fleur De Sel de Camargue


The word tapa means “cover” or “lid” and was said to referred in the early days to the slice of serrano ham or cheese laid across the tops of narrow sherry glasses handed by innkeepers to coach drivers, to keep insects out and to keep them from spilling.  Fortified sherry wines are produced in the so-called Sherry Triangle of southern Spain.  Fino produced around the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda is called manzanilla.  A culinary highlight of Spain is sitting in a legendary tapa bar with a glass of manzanilla and a few plates of tapas.

Membrillo and manchego are one of our favorite tapas.  Membrillo is a Spanish-style quince jelly and can be ordered from, if you cannot source locally, which is increasingly easy to do. You can buy it in blocks, which you slice thinly, or in softer pastes like jelly, but the blocks are traditional. This is traditional tapas food, all on its own, but some tapas bars (“tabernas or tascas) jazz it up with jamon and piquillo peppers, or marinated anchovies and sliced manzanilla olives.

See all of our tapas recipes to serve after an afternoon of park drag coaching:

Caracoles (“snails”)
Chorizo and charcuterie
Esparragos blancos (“white asparagus”)
Gambas al ajillo (“shrimp with garlic”)
Membrillo and manchego
Pan tomate
Roasted almonds
Pimentos con Anchoas (“roasted red peppers and anchovies”)
Roasted Almonds
Roasted Tomatoes

By |May 28th, 2012|Cuisine, Travel|Comments Off on Tapas