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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 06, 2010

Grokfeast in Wisconsin

By Mark Sisson
28 Comments

On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness. Vote for your favorite on October 8.

Preparing for the Grokfeast

We decided to center our Grokfeast around unusual meats. I found a source for elk at my local farmers market: Hawk’s Hill Elk Ranch. A local restaurant meat supply store provided the other meats – rabbit, duck, and Cornish game hen. The night before the Grokfeast, we had all the meats thawed, and the elk prepared and ready to go in the crockpot. At 3 am the morning of the Grokfeast (don’t worry, I was awake anyway to feed Derek), I started the elk cooking. Then, at a more reasonable time that morning, we started the rabbit cacciatore and roasted birds. After Michael was done removing as much rabbit meat as he could for the cacciatore, there was still some good meat left on the bones. So we added an impromptu soup to the menu to use the rest of the rabbit.

The Feast Itself

We were lucky enough to find an empty pavilion in the park with a fire circle next to it. Since the day was somewhat chilly (overcast, windy, in the low 50s), we began the Grokfeast by building a fire out of branches and leaves scavenged from the nearby woods.

Our guests had been asked to bring sides if they wished. They added salad greens and cherry tomatoes with olive oil and vinegar dressing, green beans, deviled eggs, and apples to the menu. One guest, having looked through the website and discovered the 80/20 principle, declared that she was a baker, not a cook, and that she would be bringing our 20%. So we had an apple crisp for dessert. We also had fresh apple cider from the farmers market to supplement the water Michael and I had brought. Derek, of course, had his own personalized menu, consisting entirely of milk.

The favorite dish was by far the elk – we called the dish pulled elk, since it resembles pulled pork. The roast duck was the runner-up; no need for me to supply the recipe, though, since it just involved putting the duck in the oven. The Cornish game hens were rather ordinary – perhaps unsurprising since, despite the name, they are actually just small chickens. The rabbit cacciatore (a tomato based rabbit stew) was also well received. The soup came out a little bland – perhaps in need of more seasoning or a thickener, but we were entertained identifying the bits of rabbit skeleton we fished out of soup bowls.

The Post-Feast Activity

Before the feast, I worked up a set of rules for a tag game called Tools vs. Teeth. Every participant was issued a strip of blue cloth, one of red cloth, and three bean bags. They would have one of three roles: deer, wolf, or hunter. Deer are only permitted to walk, or to sprint when they feel threatened. Wolves, indicated by wearing the red flag, can tag deer. If they do so, the deer becomes a wolf. Hunters, indicated by wearing the blue flag, may throw bean bags at deer.  If they hit the deer, it becomes a hunter. Wolves can also tag hunters or hunters throw bean bags at wolves, in which case they revert back to being deer (and receive a head start before they can be tagged again). Hunters are taken out after one tag, wolves after two bean bags. One player begins the game as Chief Grok, who can survive two tags instead of one, and can use a foam spear in addition to his bean bags for tags. Another begins the game as the Alpha Wolf, who can survive three bean bags instead of two, and can use two foam swords (representing claws/fangs) in addition to his hands for tags. (We had the foam weapons on hand since most of us are LARPers, see www.ifgs.org) A wounded player (wolf, Chief Grok, or Alpha Wolf) who successfully converts another player regains his health. The game ends when either Chief Grok or the Alpha Wolf is taken out.

We played four rounds of Tools vs. Teeth. Each time we had ten players, as someone had to stay and watch Derek. For the first three rounds, everyone except Chief Grok and the Alpha Wolf began the game as deer. They were given two minutes lead time to disperse, and then Chief Grok and the Alpha Wolf left the starting point in different directions. The first two rounds ended undramatically in hunter victories.  In the third round, we had a better sense of team tactics, and the round ended in a dramatic showdown between a pack of five wolves and a tribe of three hunters, with the wolves victorious. For the fourth round, we decided that since the pack hunting techniques were the best part of the game, Chief Grok and the Alpha Wolf would begin the game with an additional wolf and hunter as sidekicks. This addition seemed to improve the game – I would recommend it if you try the game yourself.

All of our players seemed to enjoy the game. We thought it would have been even better with a lot more people; we could imagine playing with thirty or forty people, and multiple wolfpacks and tribes hunting at a time. On the whole, it seemed to be a very successful primal activity.

The Feast

Main Dishes:

  • Pulled Elk
  • Rabbit Cacciatore
  • Rabbit Soup
  • Roast Duck
  • Roast Cornish Game Hen

Sides:

  • Green Salad
  • Green Beans
  • Apples
  • Deviled Eggs

Beverages:

  • Fresh Apple Cider
  • Water

Dessert (the 20%):

  • Apple Crisp

Recipe: Pulled Elk

Ingredients:

  • Elk Chuck Roast
  • 3 red onions
  • 1 cup Marsala Wine
  • 3 tbsp Ground Mustard Seed

Directions:

Slice the red onions in half-moons.  Place the elk roast in a crockpot and place the onions on top of and around it. Pour the wine over the top. Sprinkle the ground mustard seed over the roast. Cook on low for eight hours. Remove the bone.  Shred the meat.

The Tribe

Michael Magness (Magness), Beth Magness (MamaMagness), Derek Magness, Nathan Bethke, Sam O’Reilly, Gwendolyn Halliday, Seth Mulhall, Kim Simmons, Kenny, Casey Erlandson, Jaime Frey, Deborah Hicks

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28 Comments on "Grokfeast in Wisconsin"

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Ben
Ben
5 years 11 months ago

Wow that elk looks really succulent! And bonus points for the variety of meats

Cindy Hanna
5 years 11 months ago

That elk looks delicious!

noah216
noah216
5 years 11 months ago

very creative game you created! sounds like lots of fun.

Duncan
Duncan
5 years 11 months ago

I’m amazed that the 20% didn’t include any cheese, Wisconsinites. Although I think Cheese is primal in Wisconsin.

Sorry, I can’t resist – I’m a Flatlander (that’s what Wisconsinites call us Illinoisans – usually right before they write us a speeding ticket).

The Elk looks great, and those woods in the background make me want to head North.

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

I’ve heard Wisconsinites use…ahem…”other” terms for Illinoisans! 😉

Duncan
Duncan
5 years 11 months ago

Like “FIB?” I heard that one from a State Park Police officer. 🙂

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

That’s the one I was thinking of! LOL!

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

All that meat sounds really good – I’m jealous!

christie
christie
5 years 11 months ago

The pulled elk sounds lovely, as well as the tools vs teeth game.

Marti
Marti
5 years 11 months ago

game sounds interesting… where in WI was it played???

alley cat
alley cat
5 years 11 months ago

What a fantastic game. Well done for being so inventive!

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

I like the game and the elk sounds great! Where in WI was this? I’m moving to WI next summer and would like to meet the local “tribe”.

MamaMagness
MamaMagness
5 years 11 months ago

We’re in Madison. And we’d love to meet up with other primal folks – the rest of the tribe for our feast were friends, but not primal. But they were at least willing to give it a try for an afternoon!

Kris
Kris
5 years 11 months ago

I have a connection for pastured elk that I haven’t been using. Definitely makes me want to move on that!

Not surprising at all that RPers would come up with such a cool game!

Adina
Adina
5 years 11 months ago

What a fantastic selection of not-your-every-day meats!

mike
mike
5 years 11 months ago

never had elk before, but you guys make it look delicious

Garth Whelan
Garth Whelan
5 years 11 months ago

Nothings primal without fire. Elk looks delish.

Mason
Mason
5 years 11 months ago

Wow, lucky that you can get game meats like that. I live an island so we don’t really get elk or rabbit (or my favorite, venison!)

tools vs. teeth sounds like fun!

mayness
5 years 11 months ago

What a creative game… it took me a couple times reading through to really get it, does that qualify as “use your brain”? =] Cornish game hens are so freaking cute, I wish it were easier to find good quality ones around here.

Mark
Mark
5 years 11 months ago

Now that is food Grok would love.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

Nice game! And I like how you went for less-eaten meats.

Julie
Julie
5 years 11 months ago

Wow, very creative game. I love it! I want to get some Crossfitters here to do some primal games and get togethers. Thanks for the inspiration!

Mlkrone
5 years 11 months ago

That game sounds pretty awesome. Like a much more intricate version of something I’ve been working on!

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 11 months ago

Whew! Game sounded complicated but as I remember, games often read as more complicated than actually playing them.

Thanks for including your own critique on the game.

Fatkid
5 years 11 months ago

I love trying new meats! if only there was an elk farmer around here… … I’m dying to try an ostrich omelette too!

Whitney
5 years 11 months ago

Pulled elk?! I want some!

gilliebean
5 years 11 months ago

I love learning a new game!! You should video tape it and submit it to MDA!! 😀

carol
carol
5 years 11 months ago

I really enjoyed your selection of meats!

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