best outdoor cooking gear

From processing your game to grilling for friends and family, these products are great for every hunter.

These are the best game-processing and cooking gear items for 2020

Camp Chef Pro90X Three-Burner Stove
Camp Chef Pro90X Three-Burner StoveThis unit is an indispensable tool for cooking for a large group in basecamp. The three burners are powerful, putting out 30,000 BTUs each, and allow you to cook multiple items at once. The three-sided windscreen aids in protecting the burners from wind, and the matchless ignition makes it quick and easy to light them. We like the leveling feature in each leg and the folding side shelves. It’s built well, and some might consider it heavy at 59.5 pounds, but the legs fold in and the whole unit becomes compact and fits in a carry bag. We’re sure that this stove will be the foundation of our base-camp kitchen for many years to come.
Smokehouse ¾ HP Meat Grinder
Smokehouse ¾ HP Meat GrinderThis grinder packs a lot of power into a small package. We used it to grind deer and moose for chopped meat, and also used it to grind salmon for salmon burgers and a 5-pound block of cheddar cheese to make shredded cheese. It performed perfectly. It comes with fine and coarse grinding plates, and a sausage-stuffer plate which works with the included sausage stuffer tubes. The cutting blade is stainless steel, gears and shaft are metal, and the case and grinder mechanism are aluminum. It is light enough to store in a kitchen cabinet, but powerful enough to reduce a boned-out blacktail into a year’s worth of burger.
Smokehouse Big Chief Drying Screens
Smokehouse Big Chief Drying ScreensThis is a must-have for those that like to smoke their own fish and game, and for those chefs who like to cook fish on the grill. Safe to 550oF, these screens are nonstick, dishwasher safe and made from PFTE Teflon. We used them when smoking salmon in 2019 and they worked great. In the past, our smoked salmon strips would stick to the racks, and it would take a bit of time to get them clean. Using these screens has eliminated the cleanup, and the fish strips slide easily off the screens. We have yet to use them in making jerky, but will soon.
Salmon Sisters Taco and Fajita Seasoning
Salmon Sisters Taco and Fajita SeasoningOur tester likes the flavor produced from this combination of salt, garlic and chili. Try some the next time you want to make game-meat fajitas. It is comprised of cayenne, chili flake, mild chili powder, coriander, cumin, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, and Malabar pepper, and comes in a two-ounce resealable package.
Stanley Adventure Stay Hot Camp Crock | 3QT
Stanley Adventure Stay Hot Camp CrockContributing Editor Steve Meyer shared this wisdom: “Perhaps it is advancing years, but these days when returning to hunting camp after a cold, wet day of brush busting, the last thing I want to do is cook. While predator hunting in the cold months, moving from stand to stand, a hot meal in between is priceless. For that matter, any sort of outdoor activity that finds you hungry upon return, a ready-made hot meal is welcome. The folks at Stanley have answered this old man’s prayers with their Camp Crock, a double-walled stainless-steel, 3-quart insulated pot. With a lid that is as wide as the pot, scooping out piping-hot chili, clam chowder, or whatever you might want, is an easy task. The lid is secured with four snap downs that seal in heat, and a handle on top for ease of carry. We make our favorite dish during the mid-day lull, or the evening before, dump it in the pot and have hot meals whenever we want. At 3.4 pounds, one wouldn’t carry it sheep hunting, but there are few other places where this pot wouldn’t be a welcome addition to any outdoor endeavor.”
GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Base Camper Medium
GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Base CamperThis cookware stacks together neatly in a mesh bag. It is very light and portable, and imminently packable. The lid and pot handles are well insulated and stay cool to the touch. These stainless-steel dishes clean up very easily. The vents on the lid are designed for draining pasta on the spot.
Backpacker’s Pantry
Backpacker’s PantryWe’ve been eating Backpacker’s Pantry meals for many years and they make many meals that taste better than the traditional freeze-dried fare. Part of the method that elevates their end product is to use good ingredients and they state that those ingredients are not cooked together until you add boiling water. We enjoyed the Beef Stroganoff in 2019.
AlpineAire Foods
AlpineAire FoodsAlpineAire makes a wide variety of dehydrated food for the adventure seeker. They focus on quality ingredients to make good-tasting, freeze-dried meals. We enjoyed the Santa Fe Black Beans and Rice entree as well as the Banana Berry smoothie. The Santa Fe Black Beans and Rice includes black beans, rice, corn, carrots, red and green bell peppers, onion, garlic and jalapeño. It’s both healthy and delicious. If you are going to chase after big-game animals in the mountains, then dehydrated food is a necessity, and this brand makes good food.
LEM Backwoods Breakfast Fresh Sausage Seasoning
LEM Backwoods Breakfast Fresh Sausage SeasoningOver the past three years, we have migrated to mixing our ground game with pork; it’s easy to find a pork shoulder or Boston butt at the store, and the fatty meat adds good flavor to the ground game. We mix at about 80% game to 20% pork. This becomes our staple ground meat, and then when we want to make breakfast sausage, we do it a pound at a time. This seasoning has a nice flavor, which is confirmed when our tester’s four sons eat the entire pound every time he whips up a batch. Simply combine 2½ teaspoons of the seasoning into 1-ounce of water and then mix with your pound of meat. We let it sit in the refrigerator for a day to incorporate the flavors before forming into patties and cooking.
Coleman Guide Series 424 Stove
Coleman Guide Series 424 StoveContributing Editor Bjorn Dihle shared these insights: “I’ve tried just about every camp stove on the market and all have their pros and cons. The Coleman Guide Series 424 Stove, with a double burner, wind block and with the option of burning white or unleaded gas, is ideal for trips for larger parties where weight isn’t crucial. Think moose camp or any sort of hunt that doesn’t involve miles of backpacking to get to your basecamp. I use mine for river trips, car camping and when I’m with larger parties where cooking on a single-burner camp stove is impractical. Easy to use and control temperature, with a five-year warranty, the Guide Series 424 Stove will have your belly full of good eats and hot coffee wherever you take it.”
LEM Products Big Bite Digital Stainless Steel Dehydrator
Big Bite Digital Stainless Steel DehydratorThis 10-tray dehydrator helped us make some delicious jerky in 2019. With 16 square feet of drying space, you can process a lot of meat to create snack sticks and jerky out of the game you bring home. You can use this appliance to dehydrate all kinds of food products—vegetables and fruits will last a long time once dehydrated and vacuum sealed. We are impressed with how quiet the unit is, which combines a fan and heating system to facilitate even drying. The digital display is easy to read and use.
LEM MaxVac 250 Vacuum Sealer
LEM MaxVac 250 Vacuum SealerThis unit works well to vacuum pack fish and game. Our tester used it extensively in 2019 and reported that the seals are looking good on frozen fish. The unit is designed to seal up to 250 times without stopping, has a locking lid that you only need one hand to operate, has both automatic- and manual-sealing modes, and includes both a roll holder and cutter.
LEM MaxVac Quart Bags
LEM MaxVac Quart BagsThese 8” x 12” bags are well suited to accommodate a pound of game. They are made from tough, 3.5 mm, puncture-resistant plastic and are reusable. This size bag features an easy-open tear notch. Bags will work in most sealers (not chamber machines), and feature a parallel channel design which helps remove all the air when vacuum sealing. Bags have a space for labeling date and contents.
LEM #12 Big Bite Meat Grinder
LEM #12 Big Bite Meat GrinderWe ground about 50 pounds of deer with this grinder in 2019 and it worked flawlessly. It can grind about 11 pounds per minute and is equipped with a ¾ HP motor. We like the large diameter entry hole which allows you to grind larger chunks of meat. The meat pan is large, which allows you to get several pounds of meat in position at a time. It is quiet and powerful, and chewed through the meat with ease. We used both the coarse and fine plates to grind meat and both work well. The stainless-steel grinder components are industrial grade and the grinder motor is heavy duty.

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