Monday, June 6, 2011

Camp Dog, Review

When you are a famous internet and social media personality such as myself hardly a day goes by when something doesn’t darken your door from companies wanting you to try, wear, taste, endorse some product or other…..oh crap. Sorry I was ghost writing this for someone else.

Let me start over. Only a couple of times have I ever gotten anything from a company to try as far as our outdoor community goes. I know people that get everything from shirts and hats to rods, reels, guns, you name it, they just seem to attract merchandise like some weird freebie magnet. I am not one of those people. I have on rare occasions, by that I mean a total of 2, been offered something. In both cases I told them they didn’t have to send anything since I know they get hit up for samples a lot. Both sent something saying they wanted me to try it and give an honest opinion. That I can do, actually, the only thing I will do. No shill here. If it is good I tell you, if not you get that, too. If you send me something and it sucks don’t get mad when I tell people. Hmm, maybe that’s why I don’t get stuff. Anyway.

Now that the explanation/disclaimer/warning is out of the way let me tell you what I got. I opened the mailbox to find a manila envelope inside. I was only expecting one thing other than bills and the return address confirmed it. Straight out of the great state of Louisiana I had my first container of Papa Scott’s Original Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning. I love me some spicy and couldn’t wait to try it. I read the cool/funny back story on the container then headed to the kitchen.

It was just about supper time and according to the label it works on anything that “flies, walks, crawls, swims or jumps”. I happened to have some bluegill fillets waiting so they won the “Wonder what to try it on first” contest. To be fair I didn’t read the ingredients, wanting the taste to stand on its’ own. The other thing I did was to make two piles of fillets, one got just Camp Dog Seasoning while the other was coated in Camp Dog then breaded with self rising cornmeal. Hey, sue me I’m southern, we bread everything in cornmeal and fry it.

I cooked both piles the same, dropped into vegetable oil in an iron skillet. I used the vegetable oil since it doesn’t add flavor. Once they were a nice toasty brown I was ready for the tasting. I only added a bit of chow chow to cut the oil some between bites, again to keep from adding other tastes from slaw, fries, hush puppies, a slice of onion, dang I should have fixed all that it sounds good. But I digress. To be honest I am not a big fan of fish that isn’t breaded but wanted to see how Camp Dog held up without help. I started with the unbreaded and it worked, good flavor, not too salty and a bit of heat at the end. Next was the breaded batch. These really worked for me. The added crunch with Camp Dog flavoring the cornmeal was what I was hoping for. It was good, really good, just the taste and texture I like. I found out later that I had used too much oil on the unbreaded fish which should have been more blackened than what I did so anything wrong there was on me.

First batch in.

One of my favorite sights.

According to the package you can also use this on critters that walk and fly, not just swim. Since I had already fried something I decided to grab a chunk of bovine, fire up the grill and see what we had. Finding a likely looking bit of cow critter ( I grabbed a small pack of chicken thighs ,too) I headed back to get it ready. I got a chuck roast because it isn’t the most tender cut. Camp Dog is supposed to work as a tenderizer, we’ll see. I added seasoning to the chicken the night before to let it have time to work. For the beef I put it on about 7 hours ahead of cooking to see if it will tenderize the meat as per Papa Scott‘s instructions when we talked. I only added Camp Dog, no salt, pepper, Worcestershire, beer, nothing else to season the meat. Again we are testing here. Kick ‘em out of the nest, fly or die, no help.  I know the smoke will add some but that was part of my test, too. At times seasonings can turn bitter when grilled. I’ve heard other people besides me like to grill, who knew, so thought I should see what that did to the taste.

I use a charcoal grill not one of those gas thingies (sorry to get so technical). I had some hickory chips and decided to add some during cooking, that would be the only help besides regular smoke from the coals, besides I like hickory smoke. When they were ready I got the meat on, top closed and let the smoke roll. The worst part, the wind kicked up and blew all that good smell away while it was cooking. 45 minutes later we were ready to go. Both meats had taken beautiful color and smelled great, the chicken was done through, beef was at medium, let the eating begin.

Note the green onions right out of the garden on the top shelf. Pic is in focus that is smoke you see.

I started with the chicken. Many times when I season chicken the spices will just sit on top, once the skin is gone so is most of the taste. Not this time. It was flavored all the way through with a nice even taste. Nothing bitter from grilling, the seasoning held up great to the smoke. Luckily I had done my part by not over cooking the chicken which I am prone to do. This was just plain old good. Flavored but not too hot or spicy and with the smoke….well good thing there was only a couple of pieces since I still had the beef to try and couldn’t keep eating chicken.

My other side was sweet potato, boiled then finished on the grill for a few minutes.

The beef could have come off a couple of minutes earlier but wasn't past medium. Chuck roast can turn tough on the grill but not this one. I let it rest for maybe 10 minutes before cutting and when I did it was perfectly tender. The seasoning had made a light crust, taken good color and just like the chicken, tasted great. The difference, to me, with the beef the little heat from the seasoning wasn’t as pronounced which makes sense with the heavier beef taste. Now when I say heat don’t panic if you don’t like hot, this isn’t hot just a bit of spice that you taste near the end of a bite.

A good thing with Camp Dog is the fact that it isn’t salt based which helps the other flavors come through and allows people to use it on low salt diets. They have another flavor that takes the celery and heat out for those that might not care for them. There are several products I think you will want to try from Original like I have to Fish Fry Batter, Hush Puppy Mix and more. Click their link here Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning and take a look, nice looking site with all types of goodies even gift baskets for the hard to buy for cook in the family.

Well, there it is a quick look at Papa Scott’s. Not only is it as good as it says, works like it should but the folks that make it are some of the best around. I tried to find a way that it wouldn’t work as advertised but it came through. I can't wait to try it on other critters and I hope you give them a try rather than just more off the shelf stuff from the grocery store you won‘t be disappointed.


A Reel Lady said...

I'm a huge freebie magnet too! Haha Loved that!

Anonymous said...

You know I'm always eating fish, but that steak looks really good Tommy

r.b. wright said...

GREAT write up! I am glad you are able to see first hand why we love Camp Dog so much. Good post. Good Stuff.

r.b. wright

Justin said...

It all looks amazing.. The only thing missing is my plate! Haha.. I'm glad to see that it isn't salt based, often times when I try new Cajun seasons they are nothing more than seasoned salt with a Cajun kick.. Looks like I'm going to need to try some of this stuff soon..

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

Looks yummy. I might have to lookinto this Camp Dog!

Rob said...

Tommy! I'm a Charcoal guy too! Try the Jack Daniels wood chips...those are awesome!

Rudy from Huntography said...

Ok, now i'm hungry. Can't wait to try some of Scott's stuff myself......That reminds me, I should go and check my mailbox.

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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