All posts by calstaff

Experiment with Tasty Bird Dishes

Upland bird season is taking off soon, and now is the perfect time to experiment with tasty recipes. Rather than dressing the birds and stashing them in the freezer, cook them now while they are fresh. Then again, if you’re cleaning out the freezer from last season, those birds will work with these recipes too. From quail to pheasant, chukar to grouse, the recipes below are sure to impart unique flavors you can’t help but enjoy. There’s no end to creative ways to prepare game birds; it just takes a little imagination and an open mind.


This is an easy way to prepare one or several game birds. Packets can be assembled up to one day ahead. This recipe also works well when using only breasts or only legs and thigh pieces.

One pheasant or two chukars, dressed
¼ onion, chopped
½ stalk celery
One lemon, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
Three slices bacon
2 tablespoons white wine
Salt to taste

Place dressed bird on a square of aluminum foil, breast side up. Fill body cavity with onion, celery and lemon. Sprinkle lemon pepper and salt over bird. Lay strips of bacon over the breast, tucking extra underneath. Close packet and leave a small opening at the top. Pour in wine and seal foil closed. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven or medium-hot grill, 30 to 45 minutes or until bird reaches 160 to 165 degrees.
Open packets to brown bacon during last five minutes of cooking time. To make a complementary sauce, bring pan drippings to a boil in a small saucepan. In a separate bowl, mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water, mix well and add to sauce. Cook one to two minutes on medium heat, adding additional liquid (chicken broth or white wine) to reach desired consistency.

Whether fried, broiled or grilled, these tasty bites are irresistible. These can be made for a few people or large crowds – it depends on how much quail you have. For four “bites” you will need:

Four quail breasts, or two grouse breasts (chunked)
2 tablespoons cream cheese
One large jalapeño pepper
Four slices thin bacon

Rinse each breast and pat dry. Cut jalapeño into fourths. Place half tablespoon cream cheese on jalapeño, top with quail breast or chunked grouse. Carefully wrap bacon around each piece of meat and pepper. Secure with a toothpick if needed. Fry, broil or grill until bacon is crisp. Serve alone or place on a bed of lettuce.

Editor’s note: For signed copies of Tiffany Haugen’s popular cookbook, Cooking Game Birds coverCooking Game Birds, send a check for $20.00 (free S&H) to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489 or order online at Tiffany Haugen is a full-time author and part of the new online series, Cook With Cabela’s. Watch for her on The Sporting Chef, on the Sportsman Channel and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Story and Photo By Tiffany Haugen

Bringing Adventure to Baja


Jay Spinner had an idea back in the early 2000s. He had created a tourism website for Ensenada, Mexico, But in talking to some of the locals he decided to try something completely out of his comfort zone: charter boat ?shing in the warm and ?sh-?lled azure waters of the Paci?c Ocean. The ?rst thing he needed was a boat.
“I found an old 1970 Luhrs 32-footer that had 300 hours on the rebuilt engines. The boat was in the Long Beach Harbor and reasonably priced,” says Spinner’s Selena Sport?shing Charter website (selenasport?
His new investment successfully made the trip from Southern California to Baja, and after lots of hard work and TLC his six-pac boat became a reality (read his website for more). We chatted with Spinner about his now successful business.

California Sportsman How long have you been in business?

Jay Spinner About 14 years. Two years after creating, I thought I would do something different and talk to some of the charter owners about me doing online reservations for sport?shing. To make a long story short, it was an instant success. In fact, I had to jump fast to get credit card services and a system set up. Two seasons later I was doing over 600 charter reservations and learning a lot about ?shing and the charter business. In talking to hundreds of clients, I began to see a pattern in what they liked and didn’t regarding the boats and their experiences ?shing in Ensenada. I started to think, “If I had a boat, this is what I would do,” based onnothing more than comments from my clients. I was booking seven to 15 charters a day in the summer and saw an opportunity that would never happen in the US to a guy who didn’t know crap about boats or the ?shing business.
CS What should we know about ?shing in Baja?

Baja 1

JS Ensenada offers a different dimension to long-range sport ?shing because the charter boats leave between 1 and 2 in the morning and return at 6 in the evening. Shorter travel time allows ?shermen more time to take in some of the other great experiences that Ensenada has to offer, including dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment.
CS What’s the best day or period you have had on a charter?

JS I would say 2014 was the biggest year I have seen for blue?n tuna. We put 50- to 100-pound blue?n on the deck, unlike the 25-pound average in past years.
The best year I saw for dorado was probably 2006, and 2004 was a great albacore year. The albacore season was like clockwork until 2010. We have not seen them since.
In prime time, 20 to 30 ?sh on a six-pac charter of a combined catch of yellowtail, tuna, dorado are not uncommon. So the best catch depends on what suits the angler most.
CS What makes you stand out from the other businesses?

JS Over the past 14 years I’ve worked off and on with several of the charters in Ensenada and presently represent about 20 different charters. I have also owned my own charter, Selena, for the past 10 years. I have developed a rapport with many customers over the years, and what I strive to do is explain to people exactly what to expect and not overexaggerate.
Giving people a realistic assessment of what’s happening at the time and what to expect on the charters is not only fair, but keeps bringing people back. What we don’t need in Baja are customers going back home with a bad experience, going home having expected more than they received. A bad story kills 20 good ones. CS
Editor’s note: For more on Selena Sport?shing Charters, call (949) 678-1187.