Yeah, yeah – March Madness is all about the brackets, office pools, friends and finger foods. A quick search via Google and you’ll have tons of tapas at your fingertips. But what if you like watching an evening game on a weeknight with the family, and finger foods can’t fill the rumbling hole in your bellies?
As a change-up, consider this a time for wild game Sandwich Madness. On Thursday afternoon, March 16 to be exact, as my hometown University of Minnesota Gophers faced off against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, I was preparing a double-decker wild turkey club sandwich that bookies and betters might wager belongs in any March Madness Sandwich Bracket.
Griddle grilled bread, smoky bacon, juicy tomato, butter lettuce, homemade mayo and cranberry aioli and mounds of thin-sliced smoked wild turkey is a lay-up for a fistful of belly busting satisfaction. Concerned it might be too dry? Though wild turkey breast sometimes gets a bum rap for being dry, if brined, tenderized and prepared properly, it yields a moist and flavorful bite.
If you are really locked in on appetizers, make mini-versions, or quarter a full-size sandwich and skewer with whittled sticks to keep it all together.
What You’ll Need
Smoked wild turkey breast meat (look for this how-to article soon on OutdoorHub.com)
Mayonnaise (homemade or grocer’s variety)
Cranberry aioli (see below)
Juicy ripe tomato
Bread of choice
½ cup homemade cranberry sauce (I had some leftover in my freezer)
1 teaspoon chopped shallot
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon
Small sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme
Olive oil for thinning
Salt and pepper to taste
How to Build the Winning Sandwich
For the sandwich build, slice meat thin with a deli-style slicer. I really like the Chef’s Choice Professional 665 Electric Food Slicer. It’s a perfect slicer for situational recipes in my wild kitchen. There are bigger slicers for processing large amounts of wild game, but they become behemoths and utter over-kill in the kitchen when cooking on a daily basis.
Heat the grill, and cook several slices of thick-cut bacon until crispy. Remove and drain. Next, brush some of the bacon grease on the bread and lay on the hot grill. I use a cast iron pan to flatten almost panini-like and get those appetizing grill marks. Once bread is toasted, set aside.
Make the cranberry aioli by putting all ingredients except olive oil into a bowl, or cup. Blend with immersion blender, or small food processor. Slowly add a bit of olive oil if needed to thin. Salt and pepper to taste.
Time to make a double-decker club: On a cutting board, arrange the three bread slices in a row. Spread mayonnaise over one side of each bread slice. Next, top one slice with a generous portion of turkey. Place two slices of bacon on top of turkey, then add a lettuce stack and two thinly sliced tomatoes. Drizzle – or slather depending on your preference – with cranberry aoli. Repeat the stack with a second slice of bread, and top with last slice of bread, mayonnaise side down, of course.
Wrap in butcher’s paper (above), or pin with whittled sticks and slice into halves (below), or quarters.
Enjoy this March Madness sandwich while cheering on your favorite team!
About the Author: Raised a Minnesota farm-girl in a hunting family, Krissie Mason (below) is an outdoorswoman, food enthusiast, and has been reconnecting with her culinary country roots and family hunting traditions of late. She is the brains and brawn behind Scratch + Holler media, and a regular contributor to several outdoor websites. Krissie fully supports a field-to-fork wild food chain, and especially enjoys expanding pantries and stretching wild game palates with her ambitious and delicious wild game recipes.