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Filson Food: Smoked Garlic Venison Shanks

Ask a dozen hunters what their favorite cut of meat is on wild deer and you will likely get a handful who tell you it is shanks. The shank is a cut that gets a good work out, especially on wild game, and as a result it has a lot of flavor. Made up of a handful of muscles that all terminate at the joint on the shank, there is a lot of connective tissue holding it all together. When cooked properly, this connective tissue breaks down and adds a great richness and luster to any dish. This recipe is simple one, light on ingredients and lots of room for the shanks to take center stage and shine.

This recipe can be made with shanks from any animal, even crosscut beef shanks, just be sure to adjust ...Read More

Elver Fishing

Elver Fishing

I live on a peninsula on the coast of Maine, between two tidal rivers that run out to the ocean. The rivers are still and quiet in the summer, frozen in the winter, wild in the spring. They follow a path through straits and narrows, bays and coves, always flowing
toward saltwater. 

April is a liminal month in Maine, caught between winter’s hold and spring’s promise. The elvers reach the rivers in early spring, often with snow still on the ground, and begin fighting that same current on their own journey home, swimming upstream to spawn, leaving the salt behind. 


Elvers are baby eels— known as glass eels because they are transparent and about three inches long. For Anguilla rostrata, the Americ...

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The Oldest Continuously Running Sawmill in North America

The clink of cable links rings out with every few inches of log yanked up the wooden ramp to the sawmill’s entrance. The freshly fallen, limbed, and bucked tree has hooks digging into the ends, pulling it into place to be cut to size. One man dressed in wool flannel fatigues drives two large spikes through a wooden block to hold the log in place. Another man, with a rolled cigarette dangling and pursed from his mustachioed lips, places can't hooks on the log. With his sleeves rolled up, his rippled forearms move the handle as the timber twists into place. Then another man turns a tiller that lifts the dam levy as water flows, forcing the wagon wheel to spin. With each turn of the wheel, the ...
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Mike Blais of Auburn Stove Foundry Company

Some of Mike Blais’ earliest memories are from the inside of his grandfather’s foundry in Maine. He spent his youth shadowing the older man, learning to mix sand and clay, ram patterns, heat metal, and pour it, creating something from nothing in a series of precise steps. He cast his first piece on his own, under his grandfather’s watchful eye, before he reached the age of ten: a grate for a small coal stove.

He hasn’t been able to escape the fascination with foundry since.

Blais is one of the last of a disappearing fraternity of craftsmen. These days, most metalwork is done in industrial foundries with machines on a mass-production scale. Blais still operates out of a shop he built himself, c...

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Filson Adventures: A Comic Strip

Filson Adventures: A Comic Strip

Filson Adventures | Chapter 1




Filson Adventures | Chapter 2

How To: Tap a Maple Tree and Make Maple Syrup

Maple syrup was first collected by the native people of North America. While there are no verified accounts of how maple syrup production began, one popular legend suggests maple sap being used in place of water to cook venison served to a Native American chief.

The majority of the world’s maple syrup supply is produced in the Northeastern part of the continent. The sap consists of about 98% water and 2% sugar – to make the syrup, the sap must be boiled allowing the water to evaporate. The final product is roughly 33% water and 67% sugar content. The darker the syrup the stronger the flavor. 

The state of Vermont – the top U.S. producer of maple syrup – distinguishes four different maple syrup...

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A Brief History of Horse Logging

A Brief History of Horse Logging

 

A trained forester revs his chainsaw as he buzzes and directionally fells a tree, then limbs it up before attaching a steel chain to the top of it. He then subtly nudges the reins and commands in a terse voice “Gee!” (right) or “Haw!” (left), to maneuver his draft horses back so he can attach the other end of the chain to the wheeled cart. Soon, the only sounds in the woods are the clop of the horses’ hooves and the jangle of the chain as the log skids across the ground. These impacts are minimal compared to the roar of the diesel engine.

 

Horse logging is an echo of an earlier, distant time but it is gaining steam as a modern, sustainable form of logging. This practice goes back nearly 10,0...

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Filson Food: Nashville Hot Chicken

Filson Food: Nashville Hot Chicken

There’s a heat wave slowly spreading across the country, and that heat wave is Nashville Hot Chicken. There is most likely a joint in your town that is serving up hot chicken and if not, you can make this killer rendition.

Although a version of hot chicken has been around for generations in Tennessee, what is currently regarded as Nashville Hot Chicken has been around since the 1930’s. Spiced with cayenne pepper, the dish is traditionally made up of chicken breast, wings and legs that have been battered, fried till golden and crispy and painted with a paste of oil and spices. This one brings the fire.

There is only one way to serve Nashville Hot Chicken. Sitting on top of sliced untested white...

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Head an hour north of Boise, and you’ll find a stretch of the Payette river that contains some of the world’s most notorious class five rapids. Not many people dare to try their hand at kayaking this part of the river, but there are a few who dedicate their lives to running it daily. One of those people is, Ryan Bailey.
Better known as “Bailey”, he’s become a local legend in the kayaking community. With over twenty years of experience on the Payette, Bailey has committed his life to the river and to the tight knit town of Banks, Idaho.

Until this past year, Bailey spent his summers working as a USFS wildland firefighter, while also working odd jobs as a ranch hand, to support his kayaking obse...

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What is White Sands?

What is White Sands?

Great white dunes march across the New Mexico desert.

From the tallest dune, some 60 ft tall, it’s hard to fathom the world around you. Climb skyward, and your eyes would meet a sea of white; 275 square miles to be precise - where corduroy ribs of pure gypsum rise and fall like an ocean frozen in time.

Approximately 10,000 years ago, thousands of years’ worth of rain and snowmelt carried this gypsum - known by rock nerds as calcium sulfate dihydrate, sidewalk artists as chalk, builders as the white stuff in drywall, and chemists as CaSO₄·2H₂O - to the bottom of this basin. Water filled the great depression and a rich, biologically diverse world came to life.
The white comes from the miraculous ...

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