DIY: Man Turns 250-Pound Tank Into BBQ Cooker (Plus How To Roast Deer)

Just in time for the first weekend of summer, our friend Matt “Flatlander” Cheever tells us about his awesome DIY BBQ project, plus provides tips for roasting venison:

Sometimes sitting around a campfire dreaming up projects, schemes and adventures with our buddies is the best part of deer camp.  In one of those conversations among friends I was offered a free 250-gallon propane tank. “Wouldn’t that make a great BBQ pit,” we all reckoned. “You could put it on a trailer and make it mobile.”

I like a challenge… But maybe I bit off more than I could chew?

Six years and several thousand dollars later my “free” project is finished! It’s worth every penny!

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Fifty-five pounds of welding wire, two different trailers (single axle wasn’t enough) and the pit is done. It will last for decades, feed thousands and bring together friends and family for a common bond, something we need a lot more of in this country.

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Thirty-two-hundred pounds of pure steel beauty is now rolling smoke and cooking hogs, venison, turkey, fish and anything else that walks or comes into range.

This dream kind of started with the idea of roasting a whole deer. As with cooking a whole hog, it would be a striking visualization. But in all honesty, it’s better to do deer quarters or roasts so as not to over-cook prime cuts. So here’s how you do it:

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–De-bone or bone-in is fine. Either way, I like to inject the deer meat with Creole butter and garlic from the Cajun injector company. Then I smear it with a thick coating of yellow mustard (don’t worry you won’t taste any mustard once the meat is roasted, it tenderizes the venison and turns to almost a BBQ crust). Then season with salt and black pepper.

–Roast the meat on your cooker about an hour a pound at 250 degrees…wrap in foil it after two hours (meat only takes on smoke for two hours anyway). It doesn’t hurt to baste the meat during cooking with a beer or apple juice, or maybe even hard cider in the fall.

–Pull the meat off at 165 degrees internal temp if you want to slice it like a thin steak or brisket. Pull it off at 195 degrees if you want to shred it. I like to let the meat sit and rest a good 20-30 minutes after coming off the cooker.

–If you plan to cook a large back quarter of a deer, you may want to drape some bacon or pork belly over the roast to hold moisture and keep it from drying out.

–When the meat is done, serve it in soft-shell tacos, on a bun or however you like, but be sure to do it while sitting around a fire with your buddies, scheming up your next crazy idea! Be safe, God bless and BBQ on–Flatlander

 

Why Do Deer Jump The Bow String?

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Hey Mike: Wondering if you could settle a friendly argument. A buddy and I were discussing deer jumping the string. I say it is all noise related and they instinctively react; he says it could also be visual—they see the arrow coming. Wondering your thoughts? Also, do you ever see a bow being fast enough that you don’t have to worry about them jumping the string or is that impossible? Thanks–Jake in WI

Jake, you win, it’s an instinctive reaction. I heard a guy say one time, “It’s like when somebody blows a horn or sets off a firecracker close, you jump.” When a deer hears your bow go off in his natural environment, same thing.

I’ve heard people say a deer might see the arrow and react…I guess it’s possible a doe or buck might glimpse the blur of an arrow out the corner of their eye, but I doubt it happens often.

Actually, “jumping the string” is a misnomer, it should be called “ducking and rolling.” Doe or buck hears your bow go off, drops its chest down toward the ground and whirls to run in one motion. Can’t see it with the eye, but watch a slow-motion video of it, and it’s amazing.

Some deer drop at the bow sound, others don’t. Unpredictability has to do with distance to deer, quietness of bow, foliage that does/does not muffle sound, etc. You never know, so hold the correct sight pin on bottom third of the vitals. Deer drops, you pierce mid to high lungs; deer does not drop, you sear heart/low lungs. Either way, you kill deer.

I suck at physics, but I understand the speed of sound is around 1,126 fps while the fastest compound bow shoots an arrow at 360 fps or so. So no, I am reasonably sure there will never be a bow that propels an arrow that deer cannot jump (or rather duck).

Summer 2018: First Trail Cam Bucks

md dan june 2018 buckOur friend Dan says, “I’m keeping an eye on this one.” He just did his first card pull of the summer and has more than 1,300 pics from just 2 cams…”15 different bucks so far, this one is the biggest for now…3 others have potential with a lot of growing to do in the next 2 months.”

Dan says more bucks are likely to show up on their “summer range” soon in his area. Last summer, by mid-July, Dan had accumulated more than 10,000 images of deer, and 30 different bucks. It’s a unique and interesting situation, click here for details.

By Dan’s standards the buck action at my Virginia mineral/camera sites is minimal right now, though the wide rack below popped up on my Spartan Camera app last night, he’s gonna be a cool deer. Send me your trail cam images and stories to share, I’ll always keep your location secret.

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Best Chainsaws For Hunters

chainsawFrom now until stand-hanging time in September a lot of people will be out working their deer hunting property, clearing trails, taking out trash trees to let in more sunlight, etc.

What’s the best saw for the job? Illinois land management expert Matt Cheever says:

I prefer Echo, Stihl and Husqvarna in that order. Echo has the longest warranty and best power to weight ratio (it’s all I currently own). Stihl has always made a good saw, and a “Husky” is built like a tank, but seems to have a longer power stroke so you have to run them wide open all the time for best performance. All 3 are solid choices. Buy a saw in the 40-45 cc range with an 18” bar and it will meet 95% of your land-management needs. A quality saw will last about 25 years of hard use.

What chainsaw do you use and swear by?

Whitetail Management: A Little Land Work Leads To A Monster Buck

Now is the time to put in food plots, work the timber, create mineral sites, and otherwise improve the private property you’ll hunt on this fall. You don’t have to go hog wild and spend thousands of dollars doing it, especially if you live in the right big-buck zip code. Here’s proof that some sweat equity mixed with smart scouting can pay off big.

A few years ago Mike from Iowa obtained a small chunk of ground with a cabin on it. He scouted and hunted a couple of seasons, but didn’t see many bucks bucks, either on camera or from a tree stand. “My confidence in the farm was low, but after doing some timber-stand improvement and putting in food plots one off season, I had hopes that things would change for the better.”

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Then on November 2 that year Mike recalls…

I was still trying to work things out on the property, and I bumped several deer on the way in to my stand that afternoon. Before the evening was over I had passed on a very nice buck–and I was second guessing myself. I decided to leave everything in the stand so I could just slip in quietly the next morning.

The wind was right and it worked like a charm. I was settled in the stand plenty early, and I had some serious quiet time with God. I enjoy that peaceful time before sunrise. Just after legal shooting light I heard crunching behind me, straight downwind. I turned to look and immediately grabbed my bow and hooked up my release.

The buck was already at 30 yards and in the open, but a couple of large limbs from the tree I was in blocked the shot. My first thought was to wait for him to move from behind the limbs; then it crossed my mind that anything could happen and I needed to get my shot off before he got awaay. I leaned way back and tried to clear a large limb, but couldn’t. I squatted, leaned way out, settled my pin and let her fly.

I was shooting for 30, but the deer was actually at 25. He may have jumped the string as well…either way, my shot was high. As he bolted, the arrow appeared to fall out with poor penetration. I immediately nocked another arrow and was ready for a follow-up shot if he stopped. When his tail started to cork screw I thought “dead deer,” but mind you I had seen the arrow fall away. I started looking for room to squeeze another one. The buck moved slightly and gave me a tiny opening. Before I knew it, the second arrow was away, a clean pass thru this time.

As the deer hustled off I saw what looked like two mortal wounds. I thought I heard a crash, and I started sending text messages. After a few minutes I located horns with my binos and the emotions swept over me. I knew he would be my best deer to date, and as soon as I walked up on him I knew he was a net Boone and Crockett buck.

On my way back to the cabin to get help, I walked up on 3 good bucks in another food plot. I have changed my mind about this property being a low percentage spot! A little timber improvement and quality plotting turned this place around in a hurry, and I see many years of pleasure ahead for our clan here at our cabin farm.

On yeah, the buck scored 183 2/8″ gross, and 178 6/8″ net.—Mike from Iowa