Self-taught chef Nathan Judice began cooking his own meals soon after moving to college. He grew up hunting small game in Southeast Louisiana, remembering his waterfowl hunting introductions as being a popular post-season activity in that region. While his own alligator and venison boudin is warming over hot coals, Judice talks about how he began upping his cooking game, why wild critters are his favorite, and why some of his favorite cuts are those that’re usually discarded. Saying that “cleaning is when meat become meals,” he walks Ramsey through his entire thought process for preparing and cooking wild game, sharing favorite recipes and proven techniques along the way.  Whether still microwaving frozen pizzas or long-time designated camp cook, here’s an episode you’ll savor.


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Duck Bander & Recreational Chef Extraordinaire

 First time I went duck banding was back when I was in college with Wildlife and Fisheries

Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere, I’m on the back patio with today’s guest, the waft of smoke coming off the grill, boudin slowly smoking, his boudin slowly smoking. We got up this morning and had a lot of fun pitching into conservation, we talk about that. Today’s guest is Nathan Judice, recreational chef, extraordinaire. Nathan, I had a good time this morning duck banding.

Nathan Judice: Yeah, I had a good time too. First time I went duck banding was back when I was in college with Wildlife and Fisheries, I had an internship with them and we were chasing mottled ducks when they were molting in the marsh during the summer. And yeah, it was a good time.

Ramsey Russell: You were talking about that this morning, while we were waiting on the rocket nets to go off, I’d never heard of that.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So, I went to school for environmental science and got an internship with one of the biologists and I was sitting at Wax Lake for a couple of weeks at a time during the summer and occasionally we would go band ducks and during the summer, they lose their flight feathers, because they stay here year round. So we would go out in air boats at night and kind of just round them up on the sand flats and gather them up until we had a couple cages full and then we would band them and release them.

Ramsey Russell: How often do you get over there to band with Mama Duck and Paul?

Nathan Judice: That’s actually only my second time. So last weekend I went and then this weekend, but I know I’ve been wanting to go and just hadn’t lined it up.

Modern Day Duck Bands

And especially now they’re putting the GPS trackers on some of them and they get even more data from that.

Ramsey Russell: I was asking Paul this morning, we were meeting at the last truck stop for all the people coming in westbound like myself. And I asked him how many ducks he banded. He goes, this weekend, this year? I said, well, just ever. How big is your database, I asked? Over a quarter million. And I’ve talked to him just – you know why you’re sitting there banding ducks and stuff you talk and back in the old days I remember duck bands being something about, they banded a bird here and it flew here, so I know kind of where the flyways are, it’s so much more than that. In fact, we’ve got a guest coming up soon to talk about this, all the different banding aspects but hunting mortality or just varies and other things, myriad other things that – but in talking to Paul with that kind of database, you could have grad students come in and mine that data for unbelievable myriad waterfowl conservation or management, it’s a mountain of data.

Nathan Judice: Absolutely. And especially now they’re putting the GPS trackers on some of them and they get even more data from that.

Ramsey Russell: Yesterday was a little bit slow because they were swabbing all of the male blue wing which predominantly male for bird flu and then they were doing a little bit of blood drawing on a small subset of that too to track this avian influenza that’s going around and I’ve learned that blue-winged teal are one of the major vectors. But I tell you that was my second time to go down and do it with them. And what strikes me about – they shoot that rocket net and the name of the game is, get those birds out of that water as quickly and get them dry and get them quiet and get them calm. Mama Duck describes it as an alien abduction, I can just imagine. Here I am a duck just minding my own business and boom, next thing I know I’m tangled up in the net, like planet of the apes and some monster coming and pulling me and put me in a cage that is kind of like an alien abduction. And man, they get those hens, get them out, boom. And they take a volunteer program. And this really drives home to what I’m getting around to beyond that mountain of vital data, it’s the inclusion that there were kids, I say there were 8 or 9 year old little boys out there today, they didn’t have waders, they were sitting on the bank kind of helping out on that end of it. But when those nets go off, it is a race. Roaring to the site, jumping off in the water up on your knees, waist deep up to your elbows, under those nets, getting those birds out, put them in a cage, it seems like it may have taken 3 minutes tops to get 400, 500 birds from under that wet net, that’s what it seemed like because we’re going quick, we’re shoulder to shoulder just convening on the center to the last duck. Would you say it could have possibly been more than 3 to 5 minutes to catch them birds off?

Nathan Judice: I’d say 5 minutes or less at least and that was maybe 500 birds this morning?

Ramsey Russell: 500 birds. But here’s what I’m getting at is like yesterday, sitting on the trailer waiting on the birds to get right for him to shoot the net, we’re just sitting in the shadows around the corner, listening and I started talking to a lot of wildlife students to a lot of the volunteers on site and I was shocked at how few of them hunted or fished. There were eagle scouts, there were just regular folks and they didn’t. But so, now once you get the birds to where you’re going to band them, there’s like this little fire ant trail, this little conveyor belt of people getting up, going up, getting banded and turn them loose as quickly as possible, reduce that stress, reduce all that kind of stuff. As you walk down the line, you hand your bird off to Paul and when you turn around, you’re walking back to the duck past the line of people in line on that conveyor belt and everybody’s got a smile outside their faces and it’s like, what I realized is that the value of that kind of duck banding operation beyond the critical data they get is connecting hunters, which we’re losing too many hunters in the game and non-hunters to that resource. I’ve never seen anything like it wildlife conservation as a way to – like there was an older couple there and he hunts a little bit, she’s a hard hardcore bird watcher and she gets it. You know what I’m saying? And it’s like to me when we start talking, like, we were just a minute ago while you’re getting ready about habitat loss, conservation loss in Mississippi, in Louisiana where we are or nationwide, it really is dawning on me that it’s a much bigger problem, then we hunters can deal with. We have got to recruit folk from outside our ranks to help us tackle these habitat programs, that’s how you do it.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. It’s a great community outreach for Wildlife and Fisheries to do that and for them to get non-hunters involved in conservation. They get to see it hands-on experience and it’s always fun to hold a cute little duck in your hands too.

From Hunter to Environmental Scientist

And then there was one hunting season I was like, I want to get into duck hunting.

Ramsey Russell: Especially those blue-winged teal. I hate to say that they’re my favorite duck, but I’m coming to the conclusion, blue-wing teal may very well be my most favorite duck on earth. I don’t know what it is about those guys, I love them. This time of year, the purple heads, it’s just gorgeous. How did you get started? I mean, like, you went into environmental sciences, you went into wildlife, you were banding ducks or mottled ducks, so something tells me you probably originated as a hunter or fisherman.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. Well, I would say for a South Louisiana kid growing up I didn’t hunt as early as most would, I probably didn’t get started hunting until 14 or 15, which is probably young for some states, but not for Louisiana. And I think I started out, my first hunt was probably rabbits, behind beagles, it was a good time. Sometimes in front of cane cutters, I grew up on a sugar cane farm, that’s kind of frowned upon in some places, it’s illegal. But that’s kind of how I grew up doing it. And then there was one hunting season I was like, I want to get into duck hunting.

Ramsey Russell: Wait a minute, by cane cutters, you mean folks out there cutting sugar cane?

Nathan Judice: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Because we call it a big swamp rabbit cane cutter back when I was a kid, I missed that cue, okay, I got you.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. No, actually, cutting the cane when rabbits would run out, you can kill a few of them usually, kind of how I started rabbit hunting when I was a kid. So, yeah, then one day I wanted to get into duck hunting and –

Ramsey Russell: Why did you wanted to get into duck hunting?

Nathan Judice: It just seemed more like a social hunt. You’re at shoulder to shoulder with friends and family, you don’t have to be as quiet or as stealthy as like a deer hunting or as some of the other game that you would chase and we got invited to go to a coot shoot and poldhu roundup at the end of the season. there’s a couple of crawfish farmers that get together and they’ll do a big poldhu roundup is what we call it. So that was my first duck hunt was a coot shoot. And yeah, standing there in hip boots with a little 20 gauge, they would have some of the farmers and some of the hunters that had, I guess connections with the farmers, they would go and walk through the crawfish and rice fields and scare up the poldhu and then everyone would be around on the levees and just shoot as many as they could to try to keep them out the rest of the crawfish season.

The Poldhu Round Up

So, they have a very large gizzard, which is probably one of the prized cuts, I guess you would say on a poldhu. 

Ramsey Russell: North of I10, poldhu round up or coots in general as a food source is a foreign subject. But go a little bit into this. The folks that I know that go out at the end of the season, like a lot of boys out in the marsh and leave those coots out there to attract ducks. But at the end of season, they start clearing and clearing the ranks and that’s a big deal down here, they’re eating.

Nathan Judice: It is. They’re good. So, they have a very large gizzard, which is probably one of the prized cuts, I guess you would say on a poldhu. So, people put them a lot in gumbo. I would say most of the people that I know cook coots will make a duck gumbo or a coot gumbo out of it. But to be honest with you, if you grill a coot medium rare, almost like any other duck, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, they’re tasty.

Ramsey Russell: They’re actually in the Rail family and their life behaviors are similar to rails except you’ll see them out in big open water, whereas you normally see rails associated kind of swimming around in grass. And I’ve eaten rail and they’re delicious and I’ve eaten coot like breast and they’re fine. They don’t get that ducky flavor, they just got game bird flavor, it’s good. How do you cook a coot?

Nathan Judice: So, I like to grill them, but I do like to smoke the – I love a good duck andouille or a coot andouille gumbo, add a little oysters in there, so I like to smoke them. Sometimes I’ll brine them in a little bit of salt brine and a little bit of sugar where they don’t dry out too much on the smoker and then chop them up or shred them up and cook a gumbo with them.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve got an Instagram account called recreational chef, I don’t know how I connected with you years ago, but I followed you religiously and I go take a picture of my corn bread or collard green or something in a pot, you take great pictures of your foods. This boudin you made talk about this appetizer you made, talk about this boudin real quick because I just want to impress upon folks, Nathan, you had to cook like me, you’ve kind of elevated his art form.

Nathan Judice: Yeah, for sure. So this is alligator and venison boudin. So both I killed the alligators and the venison had a few tags, alligator tags this past year, so we got plenty of alligator meat. So this boudin is a smoked alligator leg shredded and then venison liver cooked in some butter and some herbs, some spices and then stuffed in a casing with some rice.

Ramsey Russell: I love boudin, but like you said, when we were standing around the smoker, too many shops down here anymore, it’s kind of heavy on the rice, I like it heavy on the meat, yours is and to me what’s missing from a lot of conventional boudin is the liver, it’s not like eating liver if you don’t like liver and onions and I love it, but it’s got that flavor that I associate with boudin.

Nathan Judice: Almost like I guess you say iron or mineral flavor from liver.

Ramsey Russell: Just a little bit. But it’s over bearing. Because it’s subdued with the alligator or with the rice with the seasonings and it’s just perfect, really good. Is that your first time making boudin?

Nathan Judice: No, it’s not. But that’s my first time making it with alligator. So it was kind of just a test run to eventually make a recipe for my website. And I think it’s pretty good but I think it still needs a little tweaking.

Crafting the Perfect Wild Game Recipes

How were the animals treated, which is, as hunters, we know how those animals are treated, we know how they were killed or harvested and that’s important to be a part of that cycle. 

Ramsey Russell: Well, that’s the story of everything I’ve ever cooked. Every time you eat something you say I can do a little bit better, I got a different idea, I got a different spin on this. Talk about learning to cook. I mean, how did you learn to cook?

Nathan Judice: Yeah, so growing up in South Louisiana, everyone typically cooks pretty good. So, I wasn’t until I was in college when I started cooking. So I moved away, I say moved away, I was born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana and moved to Lafayette for school. So I went to UL Lafayette got an environmental degree and I was living on my own and I was tired of eating pick up from restaurants or to go food, I wanted some good home cooked food. All that fast food, you know. So, there was lots of phone calls to my mom to say, how should I cook this? What should I do with this? And I wasn’t really into cooking game meat at the time now I would cook it whenever I had it, but it was not as focused as I am now. So it was kind of more just I wanted some good home cooked meals. So I kind of just taught myself and started getting a hobby of buying cookbooks, I know you saw part of my cookbook collection. I use them more as a reading material and to get to know how recipes, how the spices and the meats interact with the recipe. I’m not that great at following recipes, which is, I guess a little hurdle I have with making my own recipes. But that’s kind of how I got started actually cooking.

Ramsey Russell: I moved out of the house and like, starve to death too. And my mother gave me an old Southern Living cookbook and I just seem everybody knows what that is, but this is old and it was very basic like meat loaf, fried chicken. I mean, a whole big cookbook. But in the back it had measurements and all kinds of little basic terminology, I still got that book and I still will it open sometimes to take a look at it. But once I kind of learned how to cook, then I just put the recipe mostly down. I mean, there’s some things you need to know like to make a rou 50-50 oil and flour. But beyond that, I tell people, how much season you put enough, you know what I’m saying? But I don’t elevate it like you do. How did you transition from survival mode being a young man 18, 19 years old in college to – when did you begin to evolve into like a chefdom. You’re not a trained been to culinary art school, but you’re a chef. I have eaten your food and seen your photos? I mean, when did that become a thing? And how did it become a thing?

Nathan Judice: Yes, I’d say it’s probably 5 or 6 years ago, I was actually standing in a grocery store and I was on the meat aisle and I just saw this extremely long row of cellophane packages with meat that’s been touched by machines and different hands and the transportation costs with it getting to here and where did it come from? How were the animals treated, which is, as hunters, we know how those animals are treated, we know how they were killed or harvested and that’s important to be a part of that cycle. And that also was something that got me involved in and cooking and also shopping more locally. So, I do most of my shopping at a local farmers’ market here. I’m actually involved in a nonprofit that runs the farmers market. So getting involved in your local food system is something that I guess I prize and I think everyone should, it’s getting connected with your food from your community.

Ramsey Russell: But to hear you explain it, it’s kind of like you’re interested in hunting deer, hogs, ducks, coots, fishing, that’s almost like the genesis of comparing that source of eating to grocery store bought. I mean, it’s almost like hunting, kind of led you down this path.

Nathan Judice: Oh, absolutely. So, it definitely evolved from hunting. Because I would always cook the game meat I’ve had, but I guess treat it with the respect that I think all game meat should be treated because now, don’t get me wrong, fried fish is good and a deer popper or duck popper is great, but you can do more with the game that you bring home. You can treat it better and make it a little more elevated than what the typical dishes are that you see in the south.

The Evolution: Hunter to Chef

So, I love food and I love the culture behind different foods. So seeing that in wild game kind of connects you to the animal itself and the conservation part. 

Ramsey Russell: True, but what happened, what snapped, how did you go from duck poppers and shish kebabs and however we cook venison and normally to boudin to some of these – I see you cook some pretty elaborate involved meals and presentations, that don’t just happen, come on now, I mean, it didn’t happen to me. You know what I’m saying? It never occurred to me to express wild game is a lot of the recipes you cook. What was the evolution? How did that happen?

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So, I love food and I love the culture behind different foods. So seeing that in wild game kind of connects you to the animal itself and the conservation part. And the way that I did get involved is I started it as seeing, not local chefs but big name chefs like, Hank Shaw, I got his cookbooks and I showed them to you earlier and we discussed it, they have some recipes in there that are extremely hard to create or time consuming and I just wanted to create some recipes of my own that don’t take as much time. They’re still approachable, taste great and they look great, which is, how you should treat your food.

Ramsey Russell: Because you got a real job, you got a small baby, so it ain’t like you got just all day to go make something. I mean, you just got to be approachable, it’s got to be doable in any time you get home, time is time to eat dinner. How would you describe your influences beyond hunting? I mean, like, how did growing up south of I10 influence your craft?

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So definitely south of I10, everyone north of I10, they’re all Yankees we discussed earlier this morning. So no, the South Louisiana, there’s just a huge food culture, I mean, it seems like everything revolves around food. So, got a sporting event, a birthday party, everyone’s asking, what are we cooking or what do I need to bring? So the food aspect of it is kind of ingrained in us in South Louisiana.

Ramsey Russell: Do you bring a lot of – you get to these little social gatherings, tailgate parties, is that kind of your niche, is the wild game? Are you the guy in that circle known as the guy that’s going to bring wild game?

Nathan Judice: Yeah, I am. So they always ask for a sausage or boudin or pretty much anything that I will bring, they asked me to bring it.

Ramsey Russell: Have there been anybody in your circle that you’ve kind of converted over to wild game versus chicken or pork chop?

Nathan Judice: Well, a lot of them don’t hunt, but a lot of them love to come over and eat because they love the flavors that you can get out of wild game because store bought meat sometimes can be bland, it doesn’t have – now don’t get me wrong, a good rib eye is great, but it’s just lacking the depth of flavor that you can get from a duck steak or a goose steak or venison steak, they have more flavor because they’ve been eating out in the woods, a whole varied variety of food. Whereas, you’re just eating corn and silage and stuff like that for your beef, almost every cut of beef will taste the same in the US anyway.

Ramsey Russell: How important when you get started because I want to kind of move into cooking wild game. How important is the cleaning process and the process of that animal to leading to the final product?

Nathan Judice: So, I will say this might sound strange to some, but the actual butchering process is one of my favorite parts. It can be gory and bloody and smelly, but it’s whenever that animal becomes food, you start that process of turning food, deer becomes venison, duck becomes fowl, it becomes table fair then. So, it’s one of my favorite parts, I like to butcher animals and whenever I’m looking at, let’s say, some ducks that we harvested, let’s use those spoon bill or the shoveler because people hate them in the US, they’re not a good table fair. But if you look at those ducks, they eat a lot of the same thing that the blue-wing teal we were banning today. And you can tell just by the color of their fat, what they’re going to taste like. So, if you have a yellow or more orange fat, you’re going to have a little fishier bird, that might be one you want to skin out. He’s been eating snails, fish, things that’ll give it more of a fishy taste. And I have to make sure I mark those special because my wife doesn’t like fishy ducks. So, I’ll use those in a boudin, something to cover up the flavor of that, a little fishiness flavor or white, more yellow fat, that’s going to be a good roasting duck or something that you want to take all that fat out of the cavity and keep it and render it down or mix it in with the final product because it’s going to taste really good.

The Art of Processing Waterfowl & Wild Game

Ramsey Russell: You were talking about – like when you’re cleaning deer or alligators or fish? I mean, how important is the cleaning and preparation in that? I mean, do you take any special steps? Is it almost like an art unto itself the way that you process those animals? Because I mean, when you start talking about that’s your favorite part because that’s the point that an animal meat becomes meals, it almost sounds like you’ve taken that another level too.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So, I used to have a problem of missing deer because I was thinking about what I’m going to do with the deer whenever I get at home and start butchering it. I’ve missed a couple of deer because I wasn’t concentrating on what I was doing in the past, typically that’s with muzzle loaders because they’re paying to shoot anyway. But yeah, so whenever I get the deer or the game home, I kind of have a game plan of, is it first, is it going to be cool enough for me to let it, for venison specifically to let it hang for a while because you want to let those muscles relax, it’ll just get a more tender product. And then filled dressing is also important getting the guts and everything out. I typically save the kidneys, the livers, caul fat, hearts and that’s pretty much what I save off of venison or wild pigs and for ducks, I’ll save the hearts, the livers, gizzards, if they’re big enough, sometimes they’re too small to play with. Others will use that for catfish bait or something else, try to use everything that I can from an animal.

Ramsey Russell: Have you ever aged your waterfowl?

Nathan Judice: I have. That’s something that helps tenderize them and helps a little bit with the flavor, you just got to watch out for any gut shot or anything that might compromise that gut cavity to where it would get contaminate the meat.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve heard that and I believe that, I believe if I’ve got a walk-in cooler and I hang them for a period of time that they come out better, I think they do. Are you familiar with the big debate that McElhenney got into about the proper way to age birds? It was some English guy, maybe like one of them, pheasant or state shooters or something. The way I remember it being told is there was this ongoing debate about how to properly age waterfowl and he believed that you hang them in a cool place by their tail and when the tail feathers had loosened up enough that the animal fell off of them, they were ready. Over in England, they disputed that, they said, well, you hang them by the neck and when they fall off, they’re ready. And I’m thinking, man, that’s a whole another level there now.

Nathan Judice: That that’s a long time.

Ramsey Russell: But at the same time, I like to shoot swans when I get drawn and can just a big Noble game bird and they’re like goose, surprisingly I would say less meat than a big Canada goose. Swan is so much wing and neck and big paddle feet that when you get down to just a little bit of meat, you’re like, wow, that’s all. But they taste like goat but they’re tough, they’re just a tougher meat. And I’d heard that swans in Old England were literally where food fit for a king originated that in Old England only royalty were allowed to eat the swan. And I’m thinking, well, if they were hanging them son of a gun somewhere till it fell off the neck, it was probably a lot more tender. And I ain’t saying I’m going to go that distance, but I might need to start hanging them in a walk in cooler, aging them just a little bit more than I do. It’s possible that that’s a lost art of properly aging meat. Some of the big steak house you go into Nathan, I mean, like, age steak, I mean, there’s a whole big thing about aging that steak properly. I think, maybe in our haste or and losing our tradition on how to really handle meat, maybe we ought to start exploring that more to have some really good table fair at least I shoot it.

Nathan Judice: Yeah, for sure. So I try to age my ducks about a week and I just use my beer fridge. I also try to age some of the better cuts of venison, your back strap, your eye around, sometimes the sirloin age those in the fridge or I mean, outside for a few days, minimum, if it’s cool enough. Here in Louisiana, we get that, I don’t know, maybe one or two times a year, we can hang a deer or hang an animal outside when it’s cool enough. But yeah, I’ll age those to where they get a little tender, typically it draws out some moisture which also adds to flavor in the game because you’re moving some of that moisture that you’ll just kind of cook out anyway to kind of concentrates that flavor.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve got some friends in Georgia that reminded me, I’ve got some friends in Georgia I deer hunt with, stop by and visit them, I love to be around them. And they’re very particular about how they clean their deer. Boom, gut it, hold it off, leave the hide on and then it goes into 37° or 38° walk in cooler for minimum, 30 days. And when you get that meat, it’s darker and it’s different than deer I’ve skinned in the past and just throw it in the freezer totally different. And I think it really adds something, I really need to step up my duck game. But I’d say I’d say I go into a walk-in cooler and a lot of times will tag my birds and hang them up for maybe four or five days and something like that and I think it does make a little bit of a difference.

Nathan Judice: I think, it does as well.

Ramsey Russell: There’s something going on because just like, if you’re going to mechanically pluck it or you pluck it by hand, the skin’s looser or something when you’re plucking so you can tell something’s happened to it.

Nathan Judice: Yeah, I think the proteins start to either break down or interact differently. The muscles relax, they’re not stiff and I mean, it does draw in a little tame or flavor is what I would call it, as long as you don’t have a gut shot bird, then I wouldn’t recommend hanging those or putting them in your beer fridge.

Flavor Profiles: Wild vs. Domestic Game

I mean, what are some of your techniques for how you cook it to get the best out of that game when you’re cooking?

Ramsey Russell: When you get down to actually cooking wild game, you were telling us earlier the difference in wild versus domestic in terms of flavors and things like that. But what about techniques? Because especially in the instance of duck, most people that don’t like duck have eaten duck that was way overdone, what other techniques broader than just that rule of thumb, medium rare. When you’re handling wild game, venison, pork, deer, that’s leaner. I mean, what are some of your techniques for how you cook it to get the best out of that game when you’re cooking?

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So I like to get them the room temperature before I start cooking. I mean, you should almost do that, I mean, you should definitely do that with beef too. When you put a cold piece of meat in a hot pan, it’s going to instantly contract. So that’s going to make it a little more tough. So if it’s room temperature has had time to come the temperature and when it hits that hot pan, it’s not going to contract as much. So that’s a good tip. I also like to use – I will add fat, so I’ll add duck fat back to it if I’m able to get duck fat from the good clean duck fat or sometimes store bought duck fat or butter basting them while they’re cooking where they get a little bit more flavor and stay juicier because a lot of my friends that I hunt and cook with, they have a tendency to say this is dry, so you want to add a little bit of fat to it, even if it’s just basting with butter, if you’re not doing like grinding or anything like that helps bring out the flavor and keeps the juices kind of sealed into the meat.

Ramsey Russell: Bacon is fat but just wrapping everything in bacon, it kind of just becomes bacon flavor. And do you actually render your own duck fat?

Nathan Judice: So, we don’t get that luxury too much in South Louisiana. But usually they’re the butterball teal is what we call them. They’ll have a lot of good white fat in their cavity, so I’ll render that fat out and keep it, keep a jar in the fridge when I have enough and most of the time it gets used right away. But it’s like a nutty flavor.

Ramsey Russell: How do you render duck fat, I’ve never done that?

Nathan Judice: You’ve never done it? So, I just put it in a little sauce pan, the fat itself, sometimes the skin, sometimes I add a little tiny bit of water tablespoon or so at first –

Ramsey Russell: If I had a duck breast and I skinned it, are you scraping the fat off the skin?

Nathan Judice: I would put the whole thing. And then, they have a lot of fat around the cavity right where you’re going to gut them from or the tail, I’ll cut all that off and I’ll throw it in the same pot and just simmer it and then it’ll just melt out and then strain it out.

Ramsey Russell: Could you cook it in a crock pot and just let it render down.

Nathan Judice: You could. But yeah, I’ve never tried that.

Ramsey Russell: That’s how I did my bear. I just had this thing about bear grease and I tried it and my wife wouldn’t let me nowhere near her kitchen with bear fat. She cook it and crock pot herself for me and it turned out just really nice, but I’ve never done it with duck. And I love duck fat, it’s the primo fat of the world.

Nathan Judice: I mean, you can buy a jar at your luxury grocery stores and I’m sure, I actually bought some a while back for a recipe, I think they’re $12 or $15 for a little tiny jar of duck fat.

Ramsey Russell: I know you got a collection of recipe books. But you don’t strike me as a guy that opening up a book and going off a recipe. How do they come into play?

Best Recipes for Wild Game

And a bunch of fennel, I might pickle that and have that on top of some seared duck breast or it also goes great with duck heart tartare, I don’t know if you ever had. Have you ever eaten raw duck hearts?

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So I use those for inspiration. A lot of them are either wild game chefs or wild game recipe books or some type of cuisine that I’m interested in at the time, that I want to try to either recreate those dishes using wild game or see how I can create a recipe similar to it for wild game. So it’s mostly for inspiration. And I love looking at new recipes and learning new techniques that are in the cookbooks on what I can do and how I can utilize that in wild game.

Ramsey Russell: What are some of your favorite overall recipes like, and here’s what I’m asking you. You start with a cookbook, you’re inspired on this recipe, you adapted, you shut the book, now you start baring from what you remember and you start building it. Do you develop your own? Are you developing your own? What’s the difference in like what I would eat at your dinner table as compared to a store bought recipe?

Nathan Judice: Got you. So, yeah. So I typically do a recipe two or three times before, I’m like, all right, this is ready for either my website or if I’m going to contribute to a magazine or something like that, I have to cook it a few times. But typically, I call myself a seasonal cooker and that’s more referring to the fruits and vegetables and everything that’s around in the area and I’ll pair that with a wild game that I think is going to be a good flavor. And so, that’s kind of how I develop my recipes is, I’ll go to the farmers’ market on Saturday morning and see what fruits and vegetables we have. And that’s kind of how I do my meal prep for the week, I’m like, okay, there’s a lot of strawberries. I might do a strawberry and red wine reduction for a venison steak this week. And a bunch of fennel, I might pickle that and have that on top of some seared duck breast or it also goes great with duck heart tartare, I don’t know if you ever had. Have you ever eaten raw duck hearts?

Ramsey Russell: No.

Nathan Judice: So that’s one of my favorite dishes. I wish I had some duck hearts left over to share with you today. But that’s one of my favorite dishes to introduce people to duck, to wild duck because it’s a clean flavor, it’s not gamey, duck hearts are not gamey at all. And it’s just kind of an eye opener when you tell people what they’re eating.

Ramsey Russell: I can’t remember what you call it, it’s not called tartare, it born in Italy and it’s just like a raw meat with olive oil or something real fresh meat and I eat it every time I go into it, carpaccio. But back to the duck and I love carpaccio. So if you broke out some raw duck hearts, I’m all in, I ain’t going to like, just pluck them out the duck body and pop in, go ahead, tell me how you make these duck hearts?

Nathan Judice: So, typically with most of the game and fish that I kill or catch, I’ll try to freeze it first that kind of prevents most of your parasites, maybe not so much with red meat or with ducks, but specifically for your fish, it’ll mostly get rid of your parasites. So I like to take them when they’re partially frozen and I’ll cube them up into maybe caper size pieces.

Ramsey Russell: Do you pull the – like, I know deer heart, you have to kind of core them out and get those big bangs and stuff out. Do you have to do that with duck too?

Nathan Judice: No, you’ll cut just the – you know how the tips are a little white, it looks kind of like fat, that’s kind of a little cartilage. So you’ll cut that off and then basically just dice it up real small. I like to pair that with, some capers, olives, lemon zest lemon juice, some olive oil and smoked sea salt and just put that on a crispy baguette.

Ramsey Russell: You don’t mix no olive oil or let it marinate or nothing?

Nathan Judice: Yeah, a little bit of olive oil and some lemon zest and lemon juice.

Ramsey Russell: So, if I take those duck heart cubed up the capers and the olives and whatever, put a little olive oil on there, can I go right ahead and eat it or do I need to let it just kind of do its thing?

Nathan Judice: No, I like it as fresh as soon as that’s thawed out and ready and cubed up, mixed all together, you can go ahead and serve it. You’re not putting it, it’s not going to be real saucy, you’re not putting a lot of olive oil or a lot of lemon juice, you’re kind of just really letting the meat itself shine.

How to Cook with Duck Organs

Ramsey Russell: Let’s keep talking about recipes, I’m digging this. How important are organ meats because a lot of people just throw them out with the carcass, you cook a lot. Deer liver, kidneys caul fat. What on a duck are we talking about? Gizzards and hearts and livers?

Nathan Judice: So, the gizzards, I typically save for a stew or a gumbo because they can be tougher, so you want to cook those a little longer. I have seen people cook them, braise them a little bit and then like pickle them, pickled gizzards, I’ve never tried it but it’s seemed like a too long of a process for what you would get. And then the livers, that’s another thing, duck liver can be a little gamey as well. So the lighter colored liver is the fattier and the better tasting liver. So I like to take those and put those in a saute pan, get them nice and sear it up with some onions and some butter, lots of garlic deglaze with a little bit of bourbon or something and then just put that on some toast and maybe some fried egg on top and that’s where it’s at right there.

Ramsey Russell: Starting to get hungry, having all these conversations, I ain’t going to lie to you. Speaking of which, we’ve had a little bit of boudin, what else you got planned for lunch today?

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So I have some duck livers, so basically what I just described about the duck livers, that’s what we’re going to do today. And I also have a couple gadwalls that I’m going to take all the meat off, so they’re whole, so they’re a little fattier, so they should be pretty good. I’m going to dice them up and we’re going to make some lettuce wrap, Asian lettuce wraps. So I have some –

Ramsey Russell: Is that recipe on your website?

Nathan Judice: That one’s not. So, this is maybe 5th time making it and I have the recipe written down and it’s going to be, probably before this airs it will be on my website and it’s a good one. I have a 16 month old and she eats it, she doesn’t really eat the lettuce but she’ll take all the meat and she eats everything. Her first meat was alligator. I had to give her something from Louisiana as her first meat as a kid. So, yeah. Back to the lettuce wrap, duck lettuce wrap, it’s kind of Asian style, I do orange marmalade, soy sauce, a little bit of orange juice, a bunch of ginger and a bunch of other, a little bit of carrots and some other vegetables to kind of throw in there and you just cook it down and serve it in a little lettuce cup. I mean, you can probably even do a taco if you wanted to, but I think it’s better than the lettuce cup.

Ramsey Russell: Speaking of your daughter alligator for her first meal, you and your wife would tell me a little while ago that you all had crawfish bowl, you boiled some crawfish and she ate her way down.

Nathan Judice: Oh, yeah, she did.

Ramsey Russell: Were they spicy? Because that ranch is spicy.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So they weren’t, I didn’t make the first batch too spicy because I knew she would eat some. First time we boiled this year, now that she’s eating table food, she didn’t really like them. But she was running around, we were sitting around the same table, we were sitting around and she was running around to every adult that was peeling crawfish and holding her hand out and she would get grab 5 or 6 crawfish tails, shove them in her mouth and run to the next person peeling crawfish and grab a few more.

Should You Cook All Duck the Same?

Ramsey Russell: Do you breast your duck? Like I know the gadwalls we’re going to eat in this Asian wrap or breast? But did you pluck the duck and then use the breast and use other portions of the duck? I sometimes breast them, I sometimes breath them with the skin on. I sometimes pick them, I’m all over the board. But what about you, do you treat every duck the same?

Nathan Judice: No, I don’t. Pin feathers are always kill us down here. So I’ll typically skin those or if they’re real shot up, I’ll just breast them out. I try to pluck as many ducks as I can, even if I’m not going to roast the whole bird or use the whole bird, I want to at least have that option. The ones we have today, they’re actually whole, so I’m going to cut the breast out the legs off, get all the meat out of it, it’ll be boneless. And then, we’re going to save those bones and the rest of the carcass and make a stock with it later this week. Don’t waste anything, there’s a lot of flavor in there. So always need stock for soups, sometimes you use them for marinades, but I mean, I always use stocks and if I try to keep my freezer full with a couple of bags of stock or at least a mason jar in the fridge full of stock for the week. Because you never know when you’re going to need it, well, I cook almost every day, so I usually go through it pretty quick.

Wild Game or Duck Pizza?!?

Ramsey Russell: I love having guys like yourself talking about cooking and how to cook because at one time I couldn’t cook, I still don’t cook like, you and Tory and some of these other folks. But even what little cooking I do, I get inquiries about some of my recipes and how to cook and what I’ve learned is, a lot of folks don’t know how to cook and it’s a quantum leap to go from frozen pizza, red baron pizza to wild game to anything, let alone wild game, especially a duck. But you cook a lot of pizza. I mean, who don’t like pizza, I love pizza, we eat it once a week. Talk about some of these toppings. I want to hear how recreational chef Nathan comes up with these topping pairs, these pairings that you do on these elaborate pizzas, I call them elaborate. But talk about that because I mean, you’ve got all kinds of flavors of pizza you post up.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So, my wife wouldn’t call them pizza. She says, if it doesn’t have marinara and pepperoni, it’s not a pizza. So I always have to have a non-wild game pizza for her. But I mean, she eats the wild game pizza too but she wants to have her pepperoni option too. So I guess pizza, like you said, you eat it once a week, we eat it once a week too. I mean, that’s how every Friday growing up my mom started, they would buy pizza and then my mom started cooking pizza and I kind of developed my pizza dough recipe off of hers morphed it a little bit more so to, I guess my taste and the amount of pizzas that I make. And so, yeah, growing up, we would have pizza every Friday and I just carried on that tradition all through college and then continued now. And I was like, you know what, I’m going to kind of do my Friday post on Instagram about my pizzas that I make and I’m going to start using wild game on. And I don’t know, we have a lot of small local pizza places here and they always have interesting toppings and they try to do like a special every month. So that’s kind of an inspiration going to different places that have pizza that gives me inspiration. One of my favorite pizzas that I made was, it was a long process. It was made with some prosciutto that I made with a speckle belly goose. man, I think I made this before I started posting on Instagram and I had some old terrible pictures, it’s somewhere on my Instagram. But I cured them and hung the breast in the fridge for, I think it was about 30 or 40 days until they got that Prosciutto type flavor. And then, took some fig, spread, some fig preserves, spread it on the pizza crust, some goat cheese, then slice of Prosciutto and some caramelized onions and talk about, that’s a good pie right there.

Ramsey Russell: We were talking about ducks a little while ago and the first thing I noticed when I pulled up your driveway was that big, beautiful fig tree. I don’t know if anything – Well, I can’t say that, fig blends itself well to waterfowl, any kind of waterfowl and so does orange and ginger and soy. Ginger, it’s like ginger was grown for duck, it’s something about that flavor combination, but that’s the pizza. When I asked you about pizza, that’s exactly the one I had in mind is I’ve never heard of putting figs on a pizza, but I’m all over it, baby. I mean, I’m all in.

Nathan Judice: It’s good. So, I think it’s like a California thing, I think, they grow a lot of figs there too and I think, I’ve had some there before. Some fig and prosciutto or sometimes just fig and caramelized onions and goat cheese and that’s kind of where that concept came from. And figs are great with duck, like you said or with geese, so it’s a great pairing.

Ramsey Russell: If I go to put some fig preserves and goat cheese and store bought prosciutto because I ain’t got time for that. But if I were to go and do that at home, am I still putting mozzarella on top of everything?

Nathan Judice: No, so you want to spread your fig preserve on the bottom like it was the marinara and then get you some good goat cheese and just put some dollops of that around and then put your prosciutto. I also like caramelized onions, that kind of a little salty and sweet and put that on the top as well. And no cheese after that just the goat cheese.

Ramsey Russell: Have you got another favorite pizza using wild game? Because I have seen you do all kinds of stuff.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So I think it was a few weeks ago or it might have been last week. I did a venison cheeseburger pizza, my wife said that was her favorite non pizza, pizza, non-pepperoni pizza.

Ramsey Russell: What did you put on there? Obviously ground venison.

Nathan Judice: Yeah, it was ground venison and it was Marinara, mozzarella, I also did some cheddar, some ground venison, also diced onion, diced red onions, some relish a little bit of mustard sprinkled around it. And then I took to give it the ketchup flavor other than the marinara, I brushed the crust with ketchup and I sprinkled sesame seeds on it. So where sesame seeds would stick to the crust and then I baked it. And man, that was one of my better pizzas.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, how do you come up with something like that? Are you just sitting around at work and just thinking, I’m starting to get hungry, so I’m going to start thinking about this, the more we start thinking about it, it’s like, you know what to get them sesame, I’m going to brush them, ketchup on here because it is a cheeseburger. Is that how you come up with this?

Nathan Judice: That one was kind of on the fly. But yeah, mostly it’s waking up early in the morning, I’m like, what am I going to cook today? And I’m like, the light bulb goes off or sometimes they’ll keep me up at night wondering what I’m going to cook or what’s the next cool thing I’m going to do. Another good pizza dish which – a pizza that I’ve made is a boudin pizza, wild game boudin pizza. So there’s a couple of restaurants around here that I’ll do, I think, they’ll do boudin sometimes some other sausage and then they’ll put a pepper jelly drizzle on it. So, that’s another good one that I make, it’s similar to a local restaurant. But using wild game boudin.

Ramsey Russell: I’m going to be at home tonight in time for dinner because I’m going to get in late, I’ll ask my wife to make pizza crust and I’ve decided she made a – right before I left to come down here and band, she made meat loaf with ground beer and it’s my grandmother’s recipe, it’s the only meat loaf I’ll eat and you might have one better, but I hadn’t eaten one except her that I really like. And I decided I’m going to spoon it off in a little meatball to make me a bear meat loaf meatball pizza tonight.

Nathan Judice: I’ve made a meatloaf pizza with the leftovers. So a good bit of my pizzas is whatever leftover meat that I’ve either hadn’t cooked all of it or that I’ve already cooked and I’m like, oh, how can I turn this into this game meat into a pizza that the flavors, if it’s like a meat loaf, it’ll be a little different flavor than some other like the hamburger or if I cook something more Asian flavored or Indian flavored, I want to add something a little creamier to it. So, it’s just kind of depends.

Ramsey Russell: So what did you put on your meat loaf pizza besides the meat loaf part?

Nathan Judice: So I think, I’d have to go back but I’m pretty sure I did some grilled bell peppers and onions, I like to cook a lot and some mushrooms too, I did mushrooms. So like before I make pizzas, I like to cook my vegetables a little bit because you’re cooking pizza hot and fast. So I crank up my oven as high as it’ll go about 515, 520 and your vegetables, they’ll release a lot of water because you’re only cooking it for 10, 12 minutes, so then your pizza will get a little watery. So if you saute them or roast them in the oven for 5 or so minutes, they’ll release the moisture in your pan instead of on your pizza.

Louisiana Culinary Influences

Ramsey Russell: Probably concentrate the flavor. That’s all very interesting. Talk about south of I10 Louisiana in general, fish. That’s a big part of Louisiana culture and food. What do you do with your fish?

Nathan Judice: So, I like a lot of raw fish and a lot of – I love ceviche, so there’s a Peruvian ceviche that I recently made. It was actually on meat eater recently too. And I think I might have said something like I made that first but someone else made it 1000 times before I did it. But it has a little bit of coconut milk in it. So it adds some creaminess and almost like a little fattiness.

Ramsey Russell: Coconut milk or coconut water?

Nathan Judice: No, coconut milk. So, it’s just a style that they do, it’s very similar to standard ceviche ingredients. But you add a couple, I think it’s about a quarter cup of coconut milk and yeah, that’s that creaminess, it does something to the fish, that’s really good.

Ramsey Russell: I guarantee it. I’ve seen you make fish tacos before. So, is there much to that?

Nathan Judice: No. So fish tacos are usually like a quick dinner, either fry them or pan fry them or blacking them and throw them on a taco with whatever toppings and herbs I have in the fridge. But yeah, my favorite thing to do with fish is, probably ceviche. And I like raw fish, the saltwater fish, obviously.

Ramsey Russell: When I’m somewhere that there is raw fish ceviche which is pickled, it’s cooked, it’s just chemically cooked, I’m all in. Like, down in Mexico it’s a lime juice and Serrano peppers and that’s all it is and it’s scallops and fish and it’s just amazing. I will eat till I hurt, eating that kind of stuff.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So ceviche and tuna tartare, I go offshore fishing a couple of times a year, so those are probably my two favorite and then for ceviche, my favorite fish to use is either snapper or wahoo, I mean, those are two great fish, you can’t really go wrong with them.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve never made ceviche and I have some wahoo that a friend in North Carolina gave me, how do I need to make that wahoo ceviche? I have to put the coconut milk in it?

Nathan Judice: Yeah, you can I haven’t done it with wahoo because I didn’t have any wahoo till a couple of months ago or this year and I just did that recipe for that Peruvian style ceviche. So I’ll send you that recipe, it’s a great one. And it has a traditional lime juice, I like to typically do ceviches with two different type of acids, so I’ll use or two different type of citrus. So I’ll usually use lime and grapefruit juice because I like a little bit of bitterness with it just adds a different element to the dish because your grapefruit is typically a little more bitter. But it still adds that acid with the lime and the rest of the ingredients, it kind of flows well with it.

Ramsey Russell: I’m from the Deep South and you are too and you telling me now? Because I’m all about this ceviche. But are you telling me because I don’t see it posted up on Instagram that you never batter it with cornmeal and drop it in hot grease.

Nathan Judice: Yeah, I did it actually, a couple of days ago we had fried some catfish and you can’t go wrong with fried catfish.

Ramsey Russell: Or fried anything, I’m a fried guy. I tell everybody that’s a food group down here in the Deep South, fried.

Nathan Judice: Oh, yeah. I probably don’t eat fried food as much as I used to, I guess growing up I ate it so much that we kind of try not to do it as much anymore. But when you have a good piece of fried fish in front of you and they’re great, fried fish is great on tacos too.

Ramsey Russell: I don’t eat it as much as I did when I was younger, but there’s just times, you ever just started hankering something and only that’s going to satisfy you, there are times fried fish. Like, back in the day we went to camp a lot, the kids were young and we were over there 50 weeks a year and that was too easy, it took longer to get to grease hot than it took me to turn out fish for a dozen people. But it was good and I like fried fish, cornmeal and the next day on a sandwich, call me crazy, but just mayo and fried fish between two pieces of loaf bread and I’m in heaven.

Nathan Judice: So, I like it with a little bit of tartare sauce the next day instead of mayo. I mean, it’s basically mayo, but has that a little bit of vinegar and pickle relish. Yeah, and I do the same. That’s something good about fried fish, it’s even good the next day. And then, there’s a certain way like grilled fish, I can’t eat it the next day, but fried fish the next day is just good.

Ramsey Russell: It gets better and better, fried chicken too. You’re a young man and you’ve got decades from where you are and where I am on the time line to keep elevating your craft to keep going down this rabbit hole and why is the transition from the time you called your mom and asked her how to cook something to now, why is it important to you?

Nathan Judice: It’s important because being a part of the animals that you take home from the hunting blind or the deer woods, being involved with that animal is important, you know how it was killed, how it should be treated and you should respect that animal and utilize all of it that you can. And sometimes I get crazy looks if I’m serving someone duck heart tartare. But I feel good that I’ve used everything I could from that animal. And that’s something I would have never done, when I first started hunting, we would like everyone else, toss the organs, toss everything else a lot of times just breast out the ducks and throw the carcass in the gut pile. But I try to pride myself on using as much as I can of that animal and developing those skills off of that.

Ramsey Russell: Has it connected you in any way to what hunting means to you at a different level?

Nathan Judice: Yeah, it has. I mean, I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t hunt ducks once this past season and we hadn’t been having any ducks in South Louisiana lately. You want to have that reward of that prize coming home with you, that meat or to some people, it’s the trophy shot or the tailgate shot, to me it’s the meat and taking it home. It’s also having fun with friends and family out the duck blind or the deer woods. But even some of my friends have been getting discouraged about duck hunting just because it’s not as productive as it used to be, it’s not fun going sit out there in the morning for one or two birds or no birds and giving back like we did today on the volunteering for banding ducks and I volunteered to help plant  things in the marsh before, just giving back to that conservation piece and doing what we should do as hunters to keep the ducks around, keep the animals around and that’s very important to me.

A Lasting Tribute to Wild Game

And I guess one of the tags that I use on my Instagram is respect the game and it’s about treating that animal properly, not just for the meat, but for, like what we did today, making sure they’re around for our future generation.

Ramsey Russell: One of my college classmates, he was in grad school when I was there, articulated this on a podcast recently and he just hit it dead on. He said it much better than I did. We’re at a point, we’ve got to start giving back instead of just taking, whether it’s volunteer or time or money and that’s maybe kind of why I went into the duck band to start with. It’s just that we’re at a point, just because I did it this way and this is definitely barring for Mike just because I did it this way and my daddy did this way, my granddaddy did this way, don’t mean that I need to continue doing it this way because time change. And certainly in parts of South Louisiana in the Deep South and the Atlantic Flyway all the way out to the Pacific Flyway, things have changed in the last 10, 20 years. And it’s maybe if I’m shooting waterfowl now, even if it’s fewer, maybe I can create more time around that tradition by elevating what I make use of that more limited resource. Would you say Nathan that in some ways, your connection to wild game, it is a form of tribute?

Nathan Judice: Yeah, it was, it is. And I guess one of the tags that I use on my Instagram is respect the game and it’s about treating that animal properly, not just for the meat, but for, like what we did today, making sure they’re around for our future generation. I hope one day I can take my daughter duck hunting or deer hunting, that’s the plan is to get her involved. And if I have any other kids to get them involved in the outdoors and I haven’t done it in the past two years. But I try to take someone new hunting that’s never hunted before or just to give them that experience to see if they like and they may never hunt again. But it’s something that every outdoorsman or hunter should do is, try to get someone new involved in the sport, teach them the right way to do it, teach them how to use their game, when they get home, how to clean it, how to cook it.  It’s something important because if we don’t have those new hunters, then, the wildlife isn’t going to be there because that’s the main funding source of conservation as hunters and fishers.

Ramsey Russell: You said a mouth full right there. Any advice to younger listeners or to people that aren’t as accomplished in the kitchen yet, if you got any advice for getting started and before you say that, I’ll say this. One thing when I start meeting with persons like yourself, Tory organ meats. In this day and era, especially, I mean, fast food and it’s almost like, McDonald’s kind of bastardized our taste buds. Man, organ meats are kind of a big deal. In nature, the wolves go for the organ meats first, the Hawks and Eagles go for the organ meat first, Native America went for the organ meat first. And if I haven’t learned anything with this conversation right here is that I am woefully guilty of having overlooked a bunch of good cuts. So, I’ve learned a lot from listening to you, I’ve gotten a lot of advice out of this conversation, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. But have you got any advice for anybody listening that may not know their way around a kitchen like you do?

Nathan Judice: I mean, talk to someone that knows how to do it. And don’t be afraid to experiment. The kitchen is a fun place to learn something new. I mean, there’s always different spices and how they interact differently with the meat and you should just don’t be afraid to try new things and try to use as much as much of the game as you can, don’t be afraid of the hearts or the liver.

Ramsey Russell: And one of those resources they can reach out to, I know this is your website, where you’re going to be posting different tips and videos and recipes and blogs. Tell everybody, Nathan, how they can get in touch with you on social media and on your website.

Nathan Judice: Yeah. So, my Instagram account is @recreationalchef. I sometimes post a few recipes on there but I post daily pictures of dishes and sometimes tips. Also just started a website not too long ago called And in my head, it’s kind of me bringing up my daughter on wild game meat. So, it’s kind of that’s where I got the name of that. And so it’s going to have tips and advice on introducing new people to wild game and also some approachable recipes and some that maybe aren’t so approachable, because they’ll take longer a little more involved. But I hope to be posting some really good recipes soon. I have quite a few on it right now from Venison, Alligator, duck, seafood, all different types of seafood. I’ll have some quail coming out, quail recipes coming out soon and some rabbit recipes too.

Ramsey Russell: Do you have a favorite game meat to cook of those you just listed? Is there anyone, do you say that’s my favorite?

Nathan Judice: So, I’ll give you two things. So my favorite seafood fish is probably triple tail, I mean, that’s the best tasting fish you can find in the Gulf of Mexico, you can do anything with it. And then game meat, probably speckle belly goose. I mean, they’re kind of –

Ramsey Russell: That’s that Louisiana coming out, right there.

Nathan Judice: Yeah, that’s the Louisiana coming out, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Fantastic. Folks, you all been listening to Nathan Judice, recreational chef. Check him out on Instagram @recreationalchef. He’s also got a web page I can’t thank you enough for coming on here and I can’t thank you enough for cooking this boudin to tear into. Folks, you all been listening to Duck Season Somewhere, thank you all, see you next time.


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Inukshuk Professional Dog Food Our beloved retrievers are high-performing athletes that live to recover downed birds regardless of conditions. That’s why Char Dawg is powered by Inukshuk. With up to 720 kcals/ cup, Inukshuk Professional Dog Food is the highest-energy, highest-quality dog food available. Highly digestible, calorie-dense formulas reduce meal size and waste. Loaded with essential omega fatty acids, Inuk-nuk keeps coats shining, joints moving, noses on point. Produced in New Brunswick, Canada, using only best-of-best ingredients, Inukshuk is sold directly to consumers. I’ll feed nothing but Inukshuk. It’s like rocket fuel. The proof is in Char Dawg’s performance.

Tetra Hearing Delivers premium technology that’s specifically calibrated for the users own hearing and is comfortable, giving hunters a natural hearing experience, while still protecting their hearing. Using patent-pending Specialized Target Optimization™ (STO), the world’s first hearing technology designed optimize hearing for hunters in their specific hunting environments. TETRA gives hunters an edge and gives them their edge back. Can you hear me now?! Dang straight I can. Thanks to Tetra Hearing!

Voormi Wool-based technology is engineered to perform. Wool is nature’s miracle fiber. It’s light, wicks moisture, is inherently warm even when wet. It’s comfortable over a wide temperature gradient, naturally anti-microbial, remaining odor free. But Voormi is not your ordinary wool. It’s new breed of proprietary thermal wool takes it next level–it doesn’t itch, is surface-hardened to bead water from shaking duck dogs, and is available in your favorite earth tones and a couple unique concealment patterns. With wool-based solutions at the yarn level, Voormi eliminates the unwordly glow that’s common during low light while wearing synthetics. The high-e hoodie and base layers are personal favorites that I wear worldwide. Voormi’s growing line of innovative of performance products is authenticity with humility. It’s the practical hunting gear that we real duck hunters deserve.

Mojo Outdoors, most recognized name brand decoy number one maker of motion and spinning wing decoys in the world. More than just the best spinning wing decoys on the market, their ever growing product line includes all kinds of cool stuff. Magnetic Pick Stick, Scoot and Shoot Turkey Decoys much, much more. And don’t forget my personal favorite, yes sir, they also make the one – the only – world-famous Spoonzilla. When I pranked Terry Denman in Mexico with a “smiling mallard” nobody ever dreamed it would become the most talked about decoy of the century. I’ve used Mojo decoys worldwide, everywhere I’ve ever duck hunted from Azerbaijan to Argentina. I absolutely never leave home without one. Mojo Outdoors, forever changing the way you hunt ducks.

BOSS Shotshells copper-plated bismuth-tin alloy is the good ol’ days again. Steel shot’s come a long way in the past 30 years, but we’ll never, ever perform like good old fashioned lead. Say goodbye to all that gimmicky high recoil compensation science hype, and hello to superior performance. Know your pattern, take ethical shots, make clean kills. That is the BOSS Way. The good old days are now.

Tom Beckbe The Tom Beckbe lifestyle is timeless, harkening an American era that hunting gear lasted generations. Classic design and rugged materials withstand the elements. The Tensas Jacket is like the one my grandfather wore. Like the one I still wear. Because high-quality Tom Beckbe gear lasts. Forever. For the hunt.

Flashback Decoy by Duck Creek Decoy Works. It almost pains me to tell y’all about Duck Creek Decoy Work’s new Flashback Decoy because in  the words of Flashback Decoy inventor Tyler Baskfield, duck hunting gear really is “an arms race.” At my Mississippi camp, his flashback decoy has been a top-secret weapon among my personal bag of tricks. It behaves exactly like a feeding mallard, making slick-as-glass water roil to life. And now that my secret’s out I’ll tell y’all something else: I’ve got 3 of them.

Ducks Unlimited takes a continental, landscape approach to wetland conservation. Since 1937, DU has conserved almost 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. While DU works in all 50 states, the organization focuses its efforts and resources on the habitats most beneficial to waterfowl.

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at And be sure to check out our new GetDucks Shop.  Connect with Ramsey Russell as he chases waterfowl hunting experiences worldwide year-round: Insta @ramseyrussellgetducks, YouTube @DuckSeasonSomewherePodcast,  Facebook @GetDucks