As a kid growing up, I was pretty sure that being “an adult” meant getting to eat candy whenever I wanted to and staying up late on weeknights. I had visions of eating chocolate cake for breakfast and washing it down with grape Kool-Aid, Continue reading “Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey”
Long before food trucks were dishing up Indian food, Korean barbecue and fish tacos to hungry urban dwellers, the humble chuck wagon was serving up nourishment to cowboys in the Old West. Continue reading “The Chuck Wagon”
If you spend any time researching the Colt Peacemaker, you will find that everywhere you look – – in books, on websites, in encyclopedias – – a colon and an unofficial title usually follows the name . . . “The Colt Peacemaker: The Gun that Won the West” It’s a subtitle that is well deserved, for the “king” of the revolvers in the royal gun family!
Years before the production of the Colt Peacemaker, Samuel Colt himself said, “The good people in this world are very far from being satisfied with each other and my arms are the best peacemaker.” Ironically, Samuel Colt died a decade before the gun was actually designed.
The Colt Peacemaker is only one name for this popular revolver. You might also know it as the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, the M1873, the Colt .45, or simply as the Model P. This gun first hit the market in 1873, and was available by mail order from the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Co. for the sum of $17. (NOTE TO SELF: If I’m ever given a time machine, dial back to to the year 1873 and buy revolvers, many revolvers.)
The Colt Peacemaker was the U.S. Army’s standard issue service revolver until 1892. It was used extensively in the Spanish-American War, as well as in World War I. It was favored by some pretty impressive American heroes. . . “Buffalo Bill” Cody, General George Patton, Wyatt Earp and Theodore Roosevelt. But, as you may have already have suspected, the “good guys” weren’t the only ones to use the Colt .45! Outlaws, such as Jesse James and Billy the Kid, used the gun with great , shall we say, enthusiasm?!
So. . .why was this gun in particular everyone’s favorite? Strangely, there wasn’t anything terribly unique about the Colt Peacemaker. It was not a huge leap forward in technology, since its single action design dated back decades. However, where it set itself apart from other guns was this: It was completely reliable and robust, able to take lots of heavy abuse and keep on working.
The Colt Peacemaker was featured in virtually every old television and movie Western. Gary Cooper carried a Peacemaker in the movie, High Noon. While you would be hard-pressed to find many Westerns that didn’t feature the Colt .45, here’s your oddball trivia for the day: In the 1950 movie, Colt .45 starring Randolph Scott, Colt .44s were used!
There was also a television Western by the name of Colt .45, which aired from 1957-1960. Presumably, that show used the appropriate revolver!
Production of the Colt Peacemaker ended in 1941, with the start of World War II, when munitions factories focused on producing greater volume, larger caliber arms. This was not a permanent hiatus, however, because production of “Second Generation” Peacemakers began again in 1956 and lasted until 1974. “Third Generation” production began in 1976 and continued until 1981. Was that the end of the road for the Colt Single Action? Hardly. The company once again started to manufacture them, and they are still available today.
Confession: This firearm is such a part of Western history and Hollywood’s portrayal of cowboys that I realized I have imagined it as being in hands that never held it. I could have sworn Woody from “Toy Story” was equipped with a Colt Peacemaker. Um, he wasn’t. It seems that when Woody said, “Reach for the sky,” he was really equipped with an empty holster and his index finger. All I can say is that if it were politically correct, Pixar Studios would have given Woody a Colt!
Happy Trails, y’all!
Deer season. It is the best of times. . .but it can be the worst of times if you end up with a freezer full of venison and no inspiration for how to prepare it! If you enjoy hunting or have a loved one who keeps you stocked with venison, this post is for you!
Here are some of my best tips, if the buck stopped in your freezer:
Do an inventory and make a list. How many pounds of ground venison, sausage, steaks, and loins do you have? How many venison based meals will you need to serve before next hunting season? As much as it pains me to say this, you must do the math! And trust me, I will never recommend that anyone perform an unnecessary math function. This is one time you need to “Just Doe It!”
In my experience, a few hours in a marinade can serve your venison well. Some people claim that if you leave the meat in a marinade for more than 8 hours, it can become a little mushy, when cooked. Other people claim that you should marinate venison for several days. Hmmmm. . .let me know what works best for you!
If you have a meat smoker, I suggest that you brine some venison loin and smoke it to perfection. The brine will keep your meat from becoming dry. There are a lot of great brining recipes. You can go exotic or classic.
If you don’t have time to spend the day in the kitchen, try putting a venison roast in the slow cooker. Slice a large onion and arrange the slices over the roast. Finally, pour a bottle of your favorite beer over the top and let time and your slow cooker do the rest. Cook on low until tender.
My “recipe” for pulled venison sandwiches demands that I share my secret culinary weapon. Whatever you do, keep it to yourself because this is the kind of info that will cause a run on condiment aisles at grocery stores across the nation. I do not want that on my conscience. Are you ready for it?
Buy a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce. I would like to nominate Sweet Baby Ray for sainthood because his sauce is heavenly. Once you have this glorious elixir, pour it over a venison roast and cook until you can shred it with two forks. Take some extra sauce and use to caramelize an onion in a skillet. Heap the venison and the onion onto a big, crusty, kaiser roll. If you really want to know what’s good, serve this with a side of coleslaw and sweet potato fries (which will do nothing to use up your venison supply, but should make you sigh with glorious contentment!)
Just because you’re planning venison-based meals, doesn’t mean they need to taste the same. If you’re a venison fan, you’re probably already familiar with the old faithful Western recipes like venison chili, stew, tacos, and roast. They’re delicious, but at some point, you’re probably going to want to try something a little more out of the ordinary.
It helps to think of all of the tasty ways you enjoy beef and consider how you can substitute beef for venison. That seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to find yourself in a culinary rut. The first time I heard a friend talking about making “Sloppy Does” for dinner, I knew there had to be some other creative uses for venison.
- Venison Gyros—It’s a wrap!
- Venison Kabobs—Stick with me, here.
- Venison Bourguignon—Okay, so this is technically venison stew. But it’s a fancy venison stew and everything is better with wine!
- Spaghetti and Venison Meatballs—“Mama Mia, that’s a spicy venison meatball!”
- Venison Stir-fry—Wok it to me!
What are your favorite ways to serve venison? I would love to hear from you!
Happy Trails, y’all!
In the West, Christmas traditions are as diverse as the people who make them! It may mean hiking into the pasture while wielding an ax, in search of the “perfect” Christmas tree. Oh, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t completely perfect. Continue reading “A Western Christmas”