When I started this blog, I was hoping to get some regional U.S. recipes as well as dishes from around the world. My friend Phil came to the rescue (and later, Panda, another friend who went to USD), swearing I had to try chislic, a recipe that, as far as I know, doesn’t travel beyond the borders of the Mount Rushmore State. My mom also hails from University of South Dakota, and hadn’t heard of it (my mom was a good student; she didn’t go to bars, unlike Panda and Phil). Nevertheless, I decided this was a task I was willing to take on.

Almost everything you need to make chislic.
Almost everything you need to make chislic.

I had this recipe in my back pocket for a while, for two reasons. First, Phil and other Internet sources said that, while you can make chislic with lamb and beef, venison is really where it’s at. Luckily, my other friends Brandon and Joe here in Northern Nevada returned successful from a recent hunting trip, and Brandon happily gave me a couple pounds of Bambi to use. (This recipe truly was a group effort).

Bambi marinating.
Bambi marinating.

Second, Phil said the absolute best way to enjoy this dish is to fry the meat. I’ve never fried anything, and even though I love to cook, the idea of splattering hot oil is a little disconcerting. However, I did a little more Internet research, (like this helpful article) and found out it’s really not such a big deal. I decided it was time to stop making excuses and cook up this bad boy.

Bambi frying.
Bambi frying.

Not only had I never fried anything before, I’ve also never made venison. I did have the pleasure of sampling venison made by my friend Joe at a Christmas party this year, so I knew that I liked the meat itself (I haven’t met an animal yet I didn’t think was tasty… sorry vegetarian friends).

Chislic, hot sauce, and beer: the three South Dakota essentials.
Chislic, hot sauce, and beer: the three South Dakota essentials.

There’s a couple of important things to know when making chislic this way. First off, make sure to marinate if you’re using a game meat. Phil says this helps take some of the gamey edge off. I can confirm that there was only a slight taste of game left by the time I popped this baby into my mouth. Second, dab the extra moisture off the meat before frying. If you don’t do it, you risk splattering the oil, which would not be a happy time. Third, the hot sauce and the beer are essential. I tried to resist drinking the beer (Otra Vez by Sierra Nevada was my choice this time, so delicious), but it really was the icing on the venison cake.

Fried Bambi.
Fried Bambi.

I managed to make this dish with zero problems: no singed eyebrows, no oil fires. It was really quite simple! Definitely delicious. And best of all, you don’t really have to go shoot a deer to make it; any meat will do. Fry yourself up a bit of chislic (I used Italian dressing option for my marinade and then sprinkled the fried meat with salt and garlic powder), pour yourself a cold one and take a trip to South Dakota, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average. OK, you got me. That’s Lake Wobegon, fake Minnesota, where my roots are from. But it’s all the same, right? (totally trolling you, Phil)

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